353 N. Clark Map
353 N. Clark is a new 45-story, 1.1 million sf speculative office tower anchored by Mesirow Financial and law firm Jenner & Block. The project is LEED for Core and Shell precertified for Silver certification. As I've indicated before, I expect that most major office towers downtown will now earn LEED certification, as evidenced by the growing list of peers to this project.
Most of the green features included on 353 N. Clark mirror those on other local green high-rises. One new strategy, which has been used on many smaller projects in Chicago, but I'm not certain we've seen on a high-rise office is use of rainwater for irrigation (note the green roof and landscaped plaza). Another is delivery of significantly increased outside air, for improved indoor air quality. Beyond that, many of the green features result from items expected on new Class A office space, such as an on-site health club, which has happens to have showers that can also be used in conjunction with a tenant bike storage room.
Also like many office towers, the approach to energy usage is essentially 'state-of-the-market'. Systems are modern and efficient, but the project is not seeking any energy savings beyond basic energy code requirements. And that pesky electric heat pops up yet again (see my rant here). The USGBC has recently voted on a proposal to require more aggressive energy efficiency on LEED certified buildings. If this proposal passes, many of the current crop of all-glass office and condo towers wouldn't qualify for LEED certification had they not already begun the process.
Although some developers of future projects would undoubtedly choose the low-cost route and not pursue certification, hopefully this policy change would drive others to emphasize energy efficiency. All-glass buildings are inherently energy-intensive (perhaps the building equivalent of a Hummer - would you want to pay the A/C bill for an all-glass house?) and need to creatively respond to this challenge. I look forward to the high-rise that pushes the envelope (both literally and figuratively) - they're all over Europe and are even popping up in the U.S., although admittedly not usually on speculative projects.