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Mad Scientists: The Crazy Ideas That Just Might Save the World

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the United States government believed that the Soviet Union had not only leapfrogged them technologically, but had become a grave threat. This resulted in the creation of a federal research and development arm—the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA). Defense research efforts under this agency resulted in the unmanned Predator drone currently at work in Afghanistan and Iraq, the F-117 stealth fighter and most notably, ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet.
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Smart Grid 101

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Michael Munson, Metropolitan Energy and
Michael Cornicelli, BOMA/Chicago

What is Smart Grid? Smart grid is a term with varied meanings to different audiences. The multitude of perspectives makes it difficult for consumers and businesses to identify what it is, understand how it applies or grasp the potential benefits and costs associated. An interesting parallel may have occurred in the 1980’s as people attempted to define the “internet” or “cyberspace.” At that time, it was a tool used by the government and university researchers with rooms full of mainframe computers. Today, it’s something that we carry with us by way of the iPhone and Blackberry. Caveats aside, the term “smart grid” represents a technology vision to optimize efficient electricity information, transfer and use.
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Legislative Hurdles to Greening Chicago

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Danielle Wagner

It’s no secret that Mayor Daley has made it his mission to help Chicago earn the title of “greenest city in the nation.” And while some cities across the nation have followed Chicago’s lead in expedited green permitting processes, density bonuses, incentives, greening municipal buildings and fee reductions and waivers, is the City of Broad Shoulders still an innovator of the sustainable movement? Other city governments have begun to take green building to the next level by mandating it and adopting standards into their building codes. But how does Chicago fare on the national stage?
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Cold as Ice: How Downtown Chicago Keeps Cool

March 11, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Matt Baker

Chicago has ice in its veins.

In truth, it’s not ice but 34° water coursing beneath the surface of downtown Chicago. One long stretch runs up LaSalle, another down Dearborn. A search of Lower Columbus might reveal pipes suspended over one’s head. Feeding this network, tucked away in different corners of the city, cooling plants deliver on-demand chilled water. Thermal Chicago is the company behind this district cooling network, and they may be one of the city’s best-kept energy secrets.
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The Green Lease: Considerations for Existing Buildings

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Robert Smith
Partner, Holland & Knight LLP

According to an April 2009 report by the U.S. Green Building Council, (USGBC), commercial and residential buildings account for almost 40% of all energy consumed in the U.S. and a full 72% of the nation’s electrical use. Read More…

Life in the Lab: Experimenting With the Single-Family Home

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

It is early adopters that drive down the prices and stretch the capabilities of new technologies, whether it’s the first production automobiles or the latest smart phones. And with much of the green building industry only just emerging, it requires that willingness to try something new, to redefine what’s possible, if these technologies are to take root.

Even before Jim and Beth Masterson decided to refashion a former schoolhouse from the 1880’s into a green home for themselves and their five children, they had begun implementing a greener life. They eschewed the clothes dryer in favor of line drying and the family became avid recyclers and composters. It was an experiment in how environmentally conscious they could make their daily routines without disruption. Read More…

Quarles & Brady Chicago Achieve LEED Gold

February 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago office of Quarles & Brady LLP recently achieved LEED-CI Gold from the USGBC, making it the first publicly registered law office in Chicago to achieve LEED Gold status. Read More…

Waukegan Superfund Cleanup Begins

February 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Cleanup work made possible with $18.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds is now under way at the former site of Outboard Marine Corp. in Waukegan. OMC is one of 51 superfund sites across the nation to benefit from Recovery Act funding.
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Aqua: The Beauty of Green

December 2, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

By Matt Baker

Chicago has enjoyed a high-rise construction boom during the last decade. With a few notable exceptions, once the scaffolding and cranes come down, what has often been left behind are towering monuments to the banal: precast concrete behemoths hued somewhere between beach sand and aged asphalt.
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Building Green Chicago Conference & Expo Highlights

December 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Building on the popularity of its previous seminars, Index Publishing, in cooperation with USGBC Chicago, presented the Building Green Chicago Conference and Expo. The half-day event was a balance of showroom floor exhibiting the latest sustainable building products and educational seminars by top city officials and local leaders in the sustainability movement.
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