According to Wikipedia, Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal — the complete building life cycle.

In Chicago, we have an abundance of ways we can go green.  With our vintage housing stock being rehabbed, we can save timber from flooring and joists to reuse in new construction.  Living in the heartland, we have access to materials that have a minimal impact on the environment such as bamboo flooring, rooftop gardens for energy conservation, sustainable energy panels installed on new and existing construction, and high efficiency appliances and low flow toilets.  My favorites are Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring, Chicago GardensABT Electronics and Energy Star Appliances for appliances, and The Solar Panel Store for information on solar panels for residential use.Recently some savvy developers and rehab specialists in Chicago have hit a chord with the concept of “Green Buildings”.  The cynic in me says this is a ploy to attract buyers but upon closer inspection, I think these buildings are the wave of the future.

Existing Structures

The Chicago Center for Green Technology is a  model for the nation as it is only the third building in the United States to be designed according to the LEED rating system using the highest standards of green technology available. It is the only one of the three that is a renovation of an existing building and the only one accessible by public transportation.

A great resource for existing homes is Greenbean.  Peruse this site for more information on existing homes located at 1313 W. Ohio; 1840 N. Leavitt, 3905 N. Janssen and more.

Two expamples of new developments are:

  • Emerald (123 S. Green Street)  Emerald features eco-friendly products wherever practical such as bamboo flooring, low-VOC paint and beautiful fabrics made from recycled fiber. Even th marketing materials utilize recycled paper manufactured with windpower and printed with soy inks. (reprinted from the Emerald website)
  • The Winthrop Club Condominiums in Evanston (1567 Maple)a prime example of the benefits green building holds for all. It has been designed to capture more than 25 different credits in LEED’s five rating categories (reprinted from the Winthrop Club web site)

For more information on going green in your own home, read this interesting CNNMoney article about the benefit to homeowners for jumping on the green bandwagon.

Fun “Chicago” thing today is a vegan, vegetarian, and whole food restaurant, my favorite is Blind Faith in Evanston.