Suggest an article
Send us your articles! Please email any articles or topics that you think we should feature to Editor@Sustainable-Chicago.com.
By Jon Sedey
On April 19th 2011, Index Publishing held the fifth annual Building Green Chicago Conference and Expo at the Swissôtel Chicago. After the keynote address, the educational sections consisted of topics ranging from deconstruction, energy consumption and non-potable water sources.
By Steen Hagensen
In most boilers today, heat exchange devices, or economizers, pre-heat the incoming feed water with the boiler’s own exhaust gases to maximize efficiency. Over the years, improvements have been made to economizers that now have better heat transfer rates than ever, but it is still only very few boilers that can benefit from their installation. Atmospheric and fan-assisted boilers don’t create a powerful enough draft to force flue gases through the economizer, which makes them unsuitable for economizer installations.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn quashed any hope of support that Commonwealth Edison had for its proposal to construct a smart electric grid. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Quinn argues that, in its current form, the deal would allow ComEd and other utilities to hike rates without state approval.
By: Jon Sedey
Green Business owners are seeing controversy over a new business certification passed Wednesday by the Chicago City Council. Established by the Department of Environment, this ordinance is intended to certify companies that meet certain green and environmentally friendly standards. Companies that meet and exceed these standards will be able to place a decal on the front of their shop.
Despite active participation by green-business groups in this ordinance, many were upset by the version that was approved.
“I was disappointed to see the green business certification ordinance pass,” said Peter Nicholson, director at Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance. “I am afraid that this opens doors for greenwashing, by allowing a business to get certified based on criteria that may not be relevant to their core product or service.”
Suzanne Keers, executive director and co-founder of Local First Chicago, says that this ordinance is flawed because it does not place value on the companies’ complete environmental or social impact. “A business owner could encourage employees to ride their bike to work, but they might also be creating a product full of pollutants that’s harming our community and still be certified under this ordinance,” she said.
To obtain a Chicago Green Business title, the ordinance stipulates businesses must adopt a handful of practices across varying criteria. For instance, businesses must prove that they are reducing carbon emissions by following four steps among a list of fourteen, including encouraging bike usage, riding trains, carpooling or working via telecommute. Another category is energy reduction where businesses can get steps (often referred to as points) by monitoring and recording energy use, switching to compact fluorescent lights and planting vegetation.
Alderman Margaret Laruino (39th) co-sponsored this ordinance and expects the program to alter over time. “It’s only a first step and completely voluntary. We fully expect municipal code to evolve as environmental technologies and business practices change with the times.”
Dan Rosenthal, chairman of the Green Restaurant Co-op and owner of Sopraffina restaurants believes this will mislead and confuse business owners. “Under this ordinance, all a business has to do is fill out a form, sign an affidavit, send in a hundred bucks to the city and poof! It’s now a certified Chicago Green Business. It’s the very definition of greenwashing, no third party audit is involved.”
With no audit, proponents of this ordinance fear that there will not be any oversight and there will be no way to know whether or not the business is keeping the standards that its decal claims. This contrasts the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, whereby restaurants are required to be audited and have their sustainability claims verified.
Green Business Chicago goes into effect in January.
The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA/Chicago) announced that four of its building members have been honored as regional winners of “The Outstanding Building of the Year” (TOBY) Award by the North Central Region of the Building Owners and Managers Association.
By Matt Baker
The most ubiquitous roofing style in the United States, topping roughly two thirds of residential roofs in the nation, is asphalt shingling. This is due to its low cost, easy installation and relatively long lifespan. These shingles are even more common in the northern, temperate regions of the nation where the reduced risk of thermal shock further lengthens their longevity.
By Jon Sedey
The development of the elevator opened up the discovery of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. People, along with goods and services were able to reach new heights never seen before. “Vertical transportation” was now possible and forever changed the urban fabric. Instead of building out, cities were building up to conserve space and local resources. However, as green initiatives become an integral part of today’s development projects, elevator companies are implementing strategies to retrofit current elevators into green and attractive spaces.
By Matt Baker
On north Broadway Avenue, an unassuming, windowless building holds what may be part of this country’s future energy independence. It is the facilities management building of Loyola University and it houses, among a fleet of university trucks and tractors, a biodiesel production lab, part of the university’s Center for Urban Environment Research and Policy. While it may not have the charm of Fermi and Szilard working beneath the University of Chicago football stadium, Loyola’s biodiesel program fits the zeitgeist much as the Manhattan Project did.
By Matt Baker
In 2009, Ernst & Young moved out of their marquee address—the 110-story Willis Tower—into a newer structure up the river. Owned by a joint venture of two John Buck Company funds, Chicago-based investor Brijus Properties and Morgan Stanley’s Prime Property Fund, 155 North Wacker wooed the professional services giant away.
NRDC’s Smarter Cities project reveals how Chicago and fourteen other cities across the U.S. are raising the bar for affordable and accessible public transit.
By Nathan Mann
The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) recently released the findings from its Smarter Cities project, a transportation study identifying fifteen metropolitan regions with the nation’s leading transportation policies and practices. The study, created in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), rated U.S. regions based on public transit availability, use and cost, as well as other factors such as automobile use and innovative, sustainable transportation programs.