Mayor Richard Daley wants to make Chicago the greenest city in America. This statement has been written many times in the green building movement of Chicago. So where’s the evidence of a mayor so ready to publicly ready to claim green initiatives?
Chicago now has more certified green buildings than any other city in the country, according to figures from the U.S. Green Building Council.The council reports that 88 projects in Chicago have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Portland, Ore., was next, with 73 LEED buildings, and Seattle was third, with 63. New York was seventh with 46, and Los Angeles ninth with 40.
Projects gain LEED certification by scoring points in a system devised by the council. Points are awarded for a variety of features, including energy-saving building systems, water conservation and nearness to public transportation. Architects and others have criticized the system, however, saying some LEED-certified buildings do not live up to their green billing. Among Chicago’s LEED-rated buildings are the McCormick Place West Building and the new FBI Building. Many more LEED registered buildings such as the Fountain View of Lincoln Square condos are awaiting the certification process to be completed so they too can be added to the list.
Daley has been a vocal advocate of green architecture. The city requires new public buildings to achieve LEED certification. Also, public and private projects getting city assistance must have a green roof or pursue green building certification. Have you seen pictures of Chicago city hall’s green roof?
Daley has also been criticized for his environmental record, however, most notably over the failed blue-bag recycling program. Chicago still does not have a city-wide recycling program so Daley has a long way to go but at least Chicago real estate is getting greener by the day.