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Mending Brownfields: It Takes a Little Village

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

By Matt Baker

The car bounced down the road, avoiding deep potholes and the snow and ice piled high on the curbs. Margaret Renas turned off of bustling Kedzie onto a narrow road. Beautiful, turn-of-the-century houses lined the residential street, but also the occasional dress store, taqueria or auto repair shop.

This is Little Village, a proud and vibrant neighborhood where businesses aren’t limited to the main commercial drag. But Renas’ job as she drove around the southwest side neighborhood was to ignore these signs of life. She was brownfield hunting.
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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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Petcoke and Chicago: Can They Coexist?

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

petcoke1By Erin Verpil

With petcoke piles growing larger on the south side of Chicago, a battle is ensuing over the newly proposed ordinance introduced in February by Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Pope (10th) and Alderman Burke (14th). This ordinance would “prevent Chicago from becoming a dumping ground” for petroleum coke, known as “petcoke,” in the city and ban expansion of existing facilities that process, store or handle the material.
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Eye on Industry: The Green Method

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

method1Factories can be noxious and dingy places. But they don’t have to be. The nation’s first LEED Platinum manufacturing facility is under construction right now in Chicago.
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Illinois Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Global Use of LEED

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Laura Flamm, Illinois SBDC International Trade Center

Illinois boasts an active green building industry and recently made the USGBC’s 2012 list of the top 10 states for implementation of the LEED green building rating system. The Illinois chapter of the USGBC counted 137 members who manufacture or distribute green building products as of early 2014, in addition to hundreds of local consulting, architectural and engineering firms with green building expertise. Many of these companies are small businesses that are well placed to take advantage of growing export markets for their products and services.
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Friends of the Parks Appoints New President

February 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Cassandra FrancisFriends of the Parks (FOTP) has appointed a new President, Cassandra Francis. She succeeds Erma Tranter who served as President of the non-profit organization for thirty-three years.
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BOMA/Chicago Announces 2014 TOBY Winners

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

300 N. LaSalle Street, which won this year's TOBY Earth Award.

300 N. LaSalle Street, which won this year’s TOBY Earth Award.

Last week, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA/Chicago) announced the winners of the Gold Circle and TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Awards at a gala held in Union Station’s Great Hall.

The TOBY Awards recognize excellence in office building management, with the slate of nominee buildings divided up by size and function. Criteria for the judges included emergency preparedness, budget management, tenant relations initiatives, commitment to environmental sustainability, security and other factors.
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Is Your Office Future Proof?

December 18, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

By Matt Baker

“The greenest building is the one that’s already built.” So goes a common mantra in sustainable construction. When a building is ill-suited for today’s way of life, you don’t tear it down, you alter it. This is how vintage structures can maintain their charm while staying relevant in an age that demands more comfort, safety and sustainability. But sometimes this isn’t enough. Preserving the past is one form of sustainability, but so is anticipating the future.
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The Urban Farm: Sustainable Indoor Farming Provides Local Greens in Winter and Hope for the Future

December 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Lee Hahn

Farm1FarmedHere has understandable bragging rights. They’re the first vertical farm in Chicago, the only USDA Organic Certified aquaponic indoor operation in the U.S., the world’s largest aquaponics system and a recent winner in the Chicago Innovation Awards in the up-and-comer category for startups. Not bad for a company that’s only a year old.
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Home Smart Home

December 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

homesmarthomeBy Matt Baker

Right now, on your desk or in your pocket, is a tremendous piece of technology. It gives you the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere and the whole sum of human knowledge is there for your perusing. Smartphones have greatly impacted how we interact with each other and our environment.

We are still discovering new ways that they can impact and better our lives, but where will the next front be in this human/digital dance? It very likely will be home intelligence systems. While early adopters may be drawn to features of comfort like media control, the true power of these systems are in energy management. One of the few sustainability products directed at the residential sector, these systems can help the average homeowner become an exceptional energy conserver.
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