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Lower Emissions, Higher Returns: The Importance of Environmental Reporting in Real Estate Investing

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Linda Seggelke

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are increasingly incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their asset analyses. What’s more, studies have shown a strong correlation between firms that report these non-financial factors and the profitability of property owners and operators.

Real estate plays a pivotal role in determining public and environmental health. In the United States, commercial and residential real estate accounts for around 40% of both total electricity use (or roughly 39 quadrillion Btus) and carbon emissions. More and more, investors consider these risk factors. As a result, they are seeking better reporting of the ESG performance of their investments.
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Performance-Based Procurement: Infusing Your Design-Build Contract with Energy Requirements

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Innovation is a crucial part of the green building movement. Year after year, renewables come down in price, mechanical systems become more efficient and the stock of sustainably sourced materials grows more diverse. Without these technological advancements, the share of the construction sector devoted to sustainability would likely equal that of yak skin yurts.

So, what if you apply that innovative thinking to other aspects of the design-build environment? That’s the idea behind a new trend: performance-based procurement. First developed by the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, performance-based procurement is an approach that sets into motion higher energy efficiency in a building before a shovel ever meets dirt.
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Chicago Announces New Chief Resilience Officer

May 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Like other global cities, Chicago faces many challenges at the outset of the 21st Century. Overcoming these requires an ability to be resilient, to bounce back from adversity and to over-prepare for eventual hardship. To help in this fight, Aaron Koch has been named the first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) in Chicago.
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New Chief Sustainability Officer in Chicago

February 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Karen Weigert has resigned as Chief Sustainability Officer at the City of Chicago. Replacing her will be Chris Wheat, previously the head of the Mayor’s Innovation Team.
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Transit-Oriented Development and Waking up from the American Dream

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Six-way intersections. Highway-adjacent playgrounds. Railway grade crossings. Urban planning is one of those practices one might not notice until encountering a poor example of it. While the frustration of a long commute may annoy the lay person, urban planning wonks know that the ways we arrange and interact with our built environment can have powerful impacts.

One emerging part of the urban planner’s toolbox is transit-oriented development (TOD). As our culture shifts, with more and more people opting to live in dense, urban neighborhoods and renouncing automobiles, the urban landscape must respond.
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New Facility Targets Tomorrow’s Electricians

October 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

The cost to install alternative energy technology like wind and solar has steadily dropped for the last several years. One consequence of this competitive pricing on renewables is that the next generation of electricians will need revolutionary training in order to install and maintain these revolutionary technologies.

That’s where the IBEW NECA Technical Institute (IN-TECH) comes in. A joint education facility between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #134 and the Electrical Contractors Association of Chicago, IN-TECH has graduated thousands of apprentice electricians and enhanced the skills of journeymen.

This September, they cut the ribbon on a renewable energy training field (RETF) at their Alsip campus. There, IN-TECH will prepare union electricians to use the latest sustainable technologies at the country’s largest outdoor training campus of its kind. Read More…

Chicago Names New Heads to Building Department and Public Building Commission

May 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second term has started with a little bit of department head shuffling. Felicia Davis has been named the Executive Director of the Public Building Commission (PBC) and Judy Frydland is the new Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB). Erin Lavin Cabonargi, the current PBC Executive Director, will soon transition to a job in the private sector.
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The Right Window Means a New Lease on Life … and New Leases

March 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

The elder sibling of Prudential Plaza turns 60 this year. As a birthday gift, it’s getting a $100 million upgrade which includes new mechanical systems, a 10,000 square foot outdoor deck and other improvements. The most extensive change, however, is hidden in plain sight: the replacement of every window in the building’s façade.
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Waste Management’s Dirty Little Secret

March 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Linda Seggelke

The hauling and handling of garbage is a job that few of us really want to think about. But we should, because the industry has a huge potential to increase landfill diversion, resource conservation, material reuse and, perhaps most importantly, jobs.
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Commercial Building Leaders Help Chicago to Attain Energy Goals

January 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The city’s Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative aims to reduce commercial energy use in participating buildings by 20% over the next five years. Two major commercial building operators—JLL and Urban Innovations—have together reduced energy use by nearly 3 million kilowatt hours annually, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
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