It's been more than two years since the Chicago Department of Construction and Permits (DCAP) initiated its Green Permit Program in April 2005, allowing projects to quality for fast permitting by meeting certain green guidelines. Green permit approvals average six weeks while traditional permits average 12 weeks.
Through September 2007, the city has issued a total of 158 green permits (19 in 2005; 72 in 2006; and 67 in 2007, with a target of 100 by year's end), and while that's just a fraction of the approximately 50,000 permits Chicago issues each year, interest in green permits is growing.
Projects qualifying for green permits fall into one of three tiers, each requiring certain LEED certification and one or two extras from the DCAP's green “menu.” Some or all consultant fees are reimbursed for Tier II and III projects.
For builders and developers interested in green permits, Erik Olsen, Green Projects Administrator for DCAP, suggests the following: understand what's necessary, plan for it early in the design process, and focus on team coordination.