Chicago has always been a “Green City” in the traditional sense–there are grass-covered parklands and flourishing gardens galore. However, recent years have put a spin on the term, making a particularly influential impact on Chicago real estate. Across the city and suburbs developers are taking the new “green” trend in stride with the construction of dozens of eco-friendly condominiums and office buildings, sure to secure Chicago’s Green City title for decades to come.
Truth be told, Mayor Daley’s administration has their sights set on becoming the “greenest city” in the country. City Hall jumped on the band wagon in 2001 with the installation of a green rooftop garden that works to insulate the hundred-year old building in the winter and cool the air surrounding the structure during the sultry Chicago summer. The thick, plant-rich roof also naturally absorbs rainwater, reducing the amount of runoff and the demand on the city’s sewer system. Since then, Chicago has integrated (or has plans to institute) 2.5 million square feet of green roofs — that’s more than in all other U.S. cities put together!
In support of an environmentally sustainable city, Daley has initiated many new programs and incentives to encourage green construction, recycling, and the use of alternative resources. City subsidies and grants benefit developers who incorporate elements of green design in their projects and even homeowners can earn tax breaks by utilizing energy-saving systems and eco-conscious innovations. With the city’s concerted efforts, it is not surprising there are LEED certified buildings all over Chicago. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the designation given by the U.S. Green Building Council to buildings with green aspects in their construction and infrastructure. There are five levels of LEED accreditation–Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum–of which the top three are represented in contemporary Chicago architecture.
The renovated Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT) owns up to its name and holds a platinum LEED certification. The foundation is a center for businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting the environment and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. CCGT offers renewable resource guides and samples, do-it-yourself workshops, and professional builders seminars to help inform and educate Chicago’s manufacturers and developers on green technology and materials. For more info, check out the City of Chicago website.