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Here are Three of the Unique Houses You Can See on This Year’s GreenBuilt Home Tour

July 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Demonstrating the present and future of sustainable residential design, the lineup of houses has been announced for the fourth annual Chicagoland GreenBuilt Home Tour. Hosted by USGBC-Illinois, the GreenBuilt Home Tour provides unique contact with sustainable residences and the teams that brought them to fruition.
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Chiaravalle Montessori: Progressive in Education, Progressive in Design

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Architecture can be at its most expressive when the intended use is nontraditional. Montessori schools, which use a time-tested yet unorthodox educational technique, require spaces that one might not find in a conventional elementary classroom. It should be no surprise then that a progressive teaching method begets progressive building design.

The new North Wing at Chiaravalle Montessori School provides the Evanston campus a stunning, open space that embodies this progressive approach. Cannon Design created the $7 million, 19,000 square foot addition with the aim of fostering both collaboration and independence among the student body.
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Above and Beyond: Oakton’s Science Center Reaches Toward Sustainability

October 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Oakton Community College’s new science building is a study in buoyancy. It has a deceptively small footprint as stilts lift much of the structure up off of the ground; a spectacular cantilever gives definition to what might have been a conservative design and suggests that the building is set to dive nose first into the nearby lake. But these aren’t merely aesthetic choices. They have much to say about the building, its use and its sustainability. Read More…

One of the Newest CPS Schools is Also the Greenest

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Goode5By Matt Baker

The Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy opened its doors in 2012, but it doesn’t have a single student. Here, pupils are “innovators.” As its name suggests, the high school specializes in science, technology, engineering and math. These are the areas of study from which future jobs are likely to spring; this is where future innovation lies.

But the students aren’t the only innovators involved, as one of the newest Chicago public schools is also the greenest. Located in Chicago’s Ashburn community, Sarah E. Goode STEM has been recognized with several awards, including an Excellence in Engineering Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The school has also been certified LEED Platinum by the USGBC—a first in the state.
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Intelligent Growth in Wilmette

December 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

8804-143_5512By Matt Baker

Picture, if you will, a public works facility somewhere in suburban Chicago. You are likely envisioning walls made of concrete masonry units, a bowstring truss roof and maybe some pebbled, chicken wire glass letting in meager light. For most industrial facilities of a certain age, this is de rigueur.

It was true in the village of Wilmette, too. Before a series of expansions, cramped and outdated work spaces reduced the Wilmette Public Works Department’s effectiveness. And when the village decided to upgrade, they took sustainability into mind.
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It’s Not Just About Growth: Sustainable Master Plans Reframe the Big Picture

June 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A $220 million sustainable master plan helped Joliet Junior College, the nation's first public community college, respond to projected enrollment increases and future shifts in energy prices. It resulted in a climate action plan, six LEED buildings and a college-wide cultural shift toward sustainability. Credit: Joliet Junior College

A $220 million sustainable master plan helped Joliet Junior College, the nation’s first public community college, respond to projected enrollment increases and future shifts in energy prices. It resulted in a climate action plan, six LEED buildings and a college-wide cultural shift toward sustainability. Credit: Joliet Junior College

By Vuk Vujovic and Douglas Ogurek

To most building owners, doing the right thing for the environment feels great. But doing the right the thing for the bottom line at the same time feels twice as great.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason that building owners green their facilities is to save money. According to a survey by McGraw-Hill Construction, four of the “top ten triggers for green building programs” (among K-12 and higher education institutions) relate directly to future cost savings. “Reduce energy use” and “operating cost savings” claim the top of the list.
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Building in Harmony

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Image courtesy of Harmony House.

It’s the greenest animal shelter in Chicago and possibly the nation. Harmony House for Cats, which officially opened its new location this past July, was designed to be a net-zero energy facility with sights set on LEED-NC Platinum. Attaining Platinum appears to be manifest at this point. “It’s only a question of how high our score is going to be,” said Ann Dieter, the Board President of Harmony House.
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Sewerthermal Activity

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

The James C. Kirie water reclamation plant in Des Plaines.

Sohail Murad, who heads the Chemical Engineering Department for the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), was touring a water reclamation plant in suburban Des Plaines when he took note of the relatively warm water being expelled into Higgins Creek. “I suggested to them, this has a lot of energy in it and it should be easy to harvest using a geothermal system,” said Murad.
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It Doesn’t Get Any Greener Than This

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By David Buss

Homeowners and business owners searching for an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient home heating system are turning with increasing frequency to geothermal systems to meet their comfort needs, responsibly and affordably. And for good reason. Geothermal comfort systems are proving to be the world’s greenest heating and cooling systems.
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Building Green Chicago 2012

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Linda Seggelke

Now in its sixth year, the Building Green Chicago Conference has grown into one of the area’s most reliable sustainable building events. Hundreds came out to the Chicago Mart Plaza to visit with green vendors, hear educational seminars and network with like-minded professionals.
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