Click to learn more about advertising on Sustainable-Chicago.com

Suggest an article

Send us your articles! Please email any articles or topics that you think we should feature to Editor@Sustainable-Chicago.com.

New Sustainable Materials Roadmap Hopes to Curtail Waste Generation in Cook County

February 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

In the Great Lakes region, Illinois comes in second in the unenviable race for which state can generate the most garbage. The problem is exacerbated in Cook County, which falls well below national averages in both waste mitigation and rate of recycling. For environmental and financial reasons, these problems must be addressed.
Read More…

Recycling Our Cities: Cook County’s Demolition Debris Diversion Program

June 25, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

DiversionBy Deborah C. Stone
Chief Sustainability Officer and Director
Cook County Department of Environmental Control

Did you know that nationwide, about 40% by weight of material that goes into our landfills comes from buildings? Cook County has only one remaining open landfill, which will close soon, meaning our communities will pay more to transport trash, and cause more diesel emissions into our air.

According to the Building Material Reuse Association (BMRA), on average, 25% of a home’s materials by weight can be reused instead of being landfilled, thus diverting materials from the waste stream and generating economic development opportunities associated with reuse. The majority of the remaining materials can be recycled.
Read More…

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.
Read More…

Cannon Design Does More With Less

December 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Cannon Design’s Chicago office once occupied three stories and about 80,000 square feet at 111 W. Washington. This year, they moved into one floor spanning between the buildings at 205 and 225 N. Michigan. But don’t call the 60,000 square feet of space in Michigan Plaza a step down; Cannon Design has proved that less really can be more.
Read More…

Old Growth: The Rebuilding Exchange Broadens in Size and Mission

December 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Deconstruction—the art of carefully dismantling a building rather than demolishing it—has been expanding over the past few years. Also expanding is the local hub for this practice, the Rebuilding Exchange. What once was merely an exchange for repurposed building materials is now also an exchange for deconstruction ideas.

Since first opening back in February of 2009, it has been the mission of the Rebuilding Exchange to create a market for reclaimed building materials. Initially, this was manifest simply in a Brighton Park warehouse where contractors and the DIY community could donate or purchase salvaged building supplies. A recent move to the northwest side has given the nonprofit venture more room for stock. But perhaps just as exciting are the expanded endeavors such as educational seminars and even a furniture line.
Read More…

Roosevelt University Eyes the Future

March 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Edward Sparling was president of the YMCA College in Chicago in 1945 when he refused to provide the school’s board with student demographic information, fearing a quota that would limit the enrollment of women and minorities. When the board insisted, Sparling resigned in protest and many of the school’s faculty and staff joined him.

This group of educators without a school voted to create a new college and, according to legend, purchased the Auditorium Building—the arguable masterpiece of Adler and Sullivan—from the city for $1. “They picked up buckets and mops and literally scrubbed the building back to habitability,” said Lesley Slavitt, Vice President for Government Relations and University Outreach at Roosevelt University. “We have lovingly tried to not just repair, but restore it to its historical elegance.”
Read More…

O’Hare Goes Green. Big Time.

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Courtesy Chicago Department of Aviation

Ten years ago, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley announced a plan to renovate the area’s overtaxed, international airport. The O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) advocated new and extended runways, a reconfigured layout and a newly-constructed western terminal.

The project was designed to reduce delays and increase capacity at the airfield. Spend some money now, the thinking goes (the current OMP budget is estimated at $8 billion), and make more later once O’Hare’s prominence as a transportation hub is carried on into the 21st century.
Read More…

Chicago Now Home to Nation’s Largest LEED Gold Apartment Complex

February 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The two-towered Alta at K Station, the product of a collaboration between Chicago-based Fifield Companies and its joint-venture partner, Pacific Life Insurance Co. of Newport Beach, CA, recently attained LEED Gold from the USGBC. The complex of 848 luxury residences is the largest apartment building in the country to have earned that level of sustainability.
Read More…

Scorecards, Standards and Certifications: Rethinking Chicago’s Infrastructure

December 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jon Sedey

Chicago has more than eighty-eight LEED-certified buildings, thirty-two of which are city-owned, making Chicago top in the nation in LEED-certified municipal buildings. In addition to that, Chicago is among the top in the nation in green roofs with 600 planned, under-construction or completed, totaling approximately eight million square feet. By all appearances, city officials seem to understand the benefits of environmentally-sound buildings and will continue to promote green building.
Read More…

Hubble Middle School: Designing for the Future

December 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

When School District 200 approached Legat Architects seeking a firm to design a new middle school for the Wheaton/Warrenville area, they had specific requests and parameters. What school officials didn’t expect was to have the tables turned on them. “If you were to design your own workspace or classroom, what would you design it to be?” That’s the question Legat’s Patrick Brosnan, who served as principal on the project, put to the faculty and staff. “In fifty years, how would you be using the classroom? Because it will still be there in fifty years.”
Read More…