Before Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley signs off from 21 years in office, he will announce the winners of the city-wide Greenworks Awards. This annual competition honors three categories of green excellence: sustainable business, innovation in the built environment, and community leadership. This week, finalists faced off in a public presentation, telling the audience why their project or business was most deserving of the award. The eight contenders for the most innovative built environment include new buildings, energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits, smart growth developments (like brownfield redevelopment), achievements in alternative and native landscaping, as well as city infrastructure improvements. See these finalists after the jump, and comment to let us know who you think the winner should be!
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
This project includes a 14-acre revitalization of the pond located at Lincoln Park’s Zoo. The half-mile walkway is openly accessible to all visitors. 90% of the materials from the construction project were able to be reused, and the pond was dug deeper, so that fish would be able to weather the winter there. The outdoor classroom, shown above, was inspired by the shells of turtles that reside in the surrounding pond. The boardwalk, made from recycled plastic, has educational information about nature and the environment along its path.
CNT Energy Savers by CNT Energy
Facilitating efficiency upgrades to apartment buildings across the city, CNT Energy Savers has seen an average energy reduction of 30% per project. CNT doesn’t just help with the labor in their renovations, but also educates building owners and aids in sorting through rebate paperwork.
The Joy Garden at Northside Preparatory High School by Urban Habitat Chicago
Students, teachers, and members of the neighboring community invested numerous hours of labor in a plan to transform the contaminated earth of a former salt storage area into a beautiful garden — all for just $7,000. Almost all of the materials used were reclaimed from other Chicago building sites.
Lakefront Comfort Stations by Muller&Muller Ltd.
A series of sustainable summer pit stop stations are being built on select city sites. Using an extremely efficient water harvesting system, rainwater is stored and then used for all of the lavatories in each building. A display on the tank housed at the building even shows the passersby how much water they have used. These systems have been used to help change the laws about rainwater reusage for all city buildings. Solatubes pierce the ceiling to allow natural light into the structures, and each building uses all-natural venting and therefore has no HVAC system.
2010 Green Bungalow Block: Greener Homes for South Shore by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association
This not-for-profit organization transforms vacant bungalows into ultra energy-efficient dwellings. Over 4,000 of these small houses, built in the early 1900’s, have been updated with new insulation, lighting, and other eco fixtures. Equal in importance, is the group’s mission to educate the occupants about sustainability.
Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons by Solomon Cordwell Buenz
To help spur the onset of a paperless age, Loyola University has built a library based on digital information. The building is situated on the Michigan lakefront, and the project takes advantage of the incredible views with a series of mechanically vented windows that allow the lake breeze to cool the building. The Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons is the leader in a series of building projects that are designed to reduce on-campus energy usage by 52%.
Sankofa House by Harley Ellis Devereaux
Sankofa house is a project specifically designed for kinship families, such as grandparent-headed households with children and young adults transitioning out of foster care. The building includes surface management systems, high-efficiency HVAC, recycling and sorting shoots, low-flow plumbing, and it was finished with low-VOC paint. There is also a partial green roof, and 8 wind turbines atop the building. The development of the Sankofa House was a pilot project under Chicago’s Department of Housing’s Green Residential Program that serves as a model for future affordable housing projects.
Advanced Technology Center by S&C Electric Company
This high power testing facility’s Advanced Technology Center is one of the first industrial buildings in the Chicago metropolitan LEED Gold certification. The 43,000 sq ft building houses testing centers for generators and a new Smart Grid product. The ATC is one of the most environmentally-friendly facilities of its kind in the world. The structure minimizes environmental impact through numerous energy-efficient and sustainable design features, including an 8,000-square-foot green roof, use of recycled content and locally-produced building materials, and other innovative measures.
This week, finalists faced off in a public presentation, telling the audience why their project or business is most deserving of the award. The event was moderated by Peter Nicholson, Principal of Foresight Design Initiative. His group is well known in Chicago for aiding businesses to initiate sustainable models, and they have also been partners with the mayor’s office in coordinating the Greenworks Awards.