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Chicago Center for Green Technology

Chicago Center for Green Technology

Former Scrap Yard Teaches Chicagoans the Value of Green

By Dave Barista, Managing Editor | August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 200710 issue of BD+C.

One of the first LEED Platinum buildings in the nation and only the third U.S. building designed to LEED standards, the Chicago Center for Green Technology has been educating the public and AEC professionals alike about green buildings and sustainable design since it opened in May 2002.

Located on the site of a former construction and demolition debris scrap yard, CCGT is housed in a 55-year-old industrial/office building that has been transformed into a living model for resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies and design and construction practices. Environmental features of the 40,000-sf building and 17-acre site include solar panels (rooftop, building-integrated, and solar berm), rainwater collection for irrigation, recycled building materials, smart lighting, a vegetated roof, and a geothermal exchange system.

CCGT offers green building seminars at no cost to the public two to three times a week, and the building and campus are open six days a week for guided and self-guided tours. A small library allows visitors to sample green products and read about sustainable design and technologies.

Designed by Chicago-based Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design, the facility also houses tenants that are committed to green, including WRD Environmental, an urban landscape company, and Greencorps Chicago, the city's community gardening and job training program.

The city's Department of Environment invested more than $9 million and 18 months to clean up the site when it took it over in 1996. The property's former owner, Sacramento Crushing Corp., had illegally stored more than 600,000 cubic yards of C&D waste on the site; some piles of rubble reached 70 feet in height and were so dense they sank 15 feet into the ground.

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Greenbuild 'Legacy Project' creates a LEED-CI training center at the CCGT
Each year, in conjunction with its annual Greenbuild conference, the U.S. Green Building Council completes a “legacy project” to support a local nonprofit organization that is successfully implementing green building practices and using the LEED rating system.

For this year's Greenbuild event in Chicago (November 7-9 at the newly opened McCormick Place West convention center (see page 29), the Legacy Project involved the renovation and expansion of the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

Designed by Chicago-based TKA + Partners Ltd., with OWP/P as mechanical engineer and Leopardo Construction as GC, the Legacy Project was conceived to serve as a living museum of a LEED-Commercial Interiors Platinum project, functioning as a training facility and resource center for the public. To make way for the new facility, the Building Team expanded the CCGT by 2,560 sf and renovated nearly 1,000 sf of office space.

When completed next month, the project will incorporate certified, recycled, reused, regenerative, and low-emitting materials both in finish and construction, LED lighting and controls (35% below ASHRAE 90.1), indoor air quality management, building systems monitoring and controls, Energy Star equipment, green energy sources, daylighting, and views of outdoors for 100% of occupants.

Sustainable products used include: reclaimed oak from felled trees in the Chicagoland area, bamboo, cork, recycled rubber, linoleum, recycled ceramic, recycled-fiber carpet, recycled glass terrazzo, reused wheatboard and vinyl base from the existing space, Greenguard-certified furnishings, recycled blue jeans, FSC-certified wood, low-VOC paint, and 100% pre-consumer recycled wood fiber particleboard.

Other Building Team members include: Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Atlanta, LEED consultant; Green Lighting Company, Rogers, Ark., lighting design; and ComEd Energy Efficiency Services, commissioning.

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