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Michael Wyrick

While Chicago isn't doing a spectacular job to fulfill its “Green City” pledge, I think we are at the cusp of dramatic change in current building practice and people’s perception of green high performance buildings. Unfortunately, green roofs and solar panels alone are not going to get us to where we need to be. Many more people must demonstrate the viability and need for energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings through consumer purchases, energy efficiency investments in the current building stock, and by bringing the issue to the front lines with friends, aldermen, and the media. Nothing gets done without hard work and perseverance.

Michael Wyrick
Informed Energy Decisions, LLC

David O'Donnell

Interesting question.

I have two thoughts posed here as questions:

1) Are the financial merits of green office tower design more clearly marketable than residential towers? It's still not a widely acknowledged value proposition but - well lit, healthy work environments that reduce sick leave and employee absenteeism (sp?) have a clear marketability to potential employer tenants. I think residential towers have a less clear value proposition. And, while I don't know the numbers, I think we're building more residential projects than office towers. Is that true? On a relative scale of quality of life marketing wouldn't the standard amenities of a tower (spa, pool, wi-fi) be more compelling and immediately understandable to potential tenants than in-door air quality and reduced utility bills? This may account for the Chicago lag.

2) Wouldn't more high profile, high design architects generally build greener buildings? They're more interested in the conceptual cutting edge of design and the translation of those concepts into practical green technologies. We don't have as many of those kinds of architects building in the City. Helmut Jahn's Near North SRO cited on this site is a (small scale) example of this phenomenon. If we saw folks like Jeannie Gang and her Chicago compatriots (Garrofolo, Ronan etc.) building large projects wouldn't we see greener buildings?

The attached link to a Reader story discusses the possiblity of a Third School of Chicago Architecture. It doesn't address the question of green directly but the architects they mention have all emphasized green principles in their existent bodies of work.


Terry Grace

I tried to submit a building for review for inclusion, and it kept rejecting my submission, asking for the # of floors. It didn't matter what number I submitted, it rejected it continuously asking for a number. The building, by the way, is the new Public Works building in Oak Park, which is expected to earn a LEED silver rating.

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