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Green Resources

Green Building Resources

Below you will find the following resources:

1.  State of Illinois Government Links

2.  Green Standards

3.  City of Chicago Green Links

4.  Energy Efficiency Incentives

5.  National and International Organizations

6.  There are many online resources available for professionals and advocates of the green building industry.

State of Illinois Government Green Links

USGBC has ranked Illinois #1 for three consecutive years on its list of Top 10 States for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita. There are also many departments and programs that advocate green building in Illinois.

Energy Impact Illinois – Helps make it easy and affordable for properties to take energy efficient action.

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center – Advocates for the responsible use of natural resources and technology in Illinois.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency – Agency that safeguards environmental equality, consistent with the social and economic needs of the state, so as to protect health, welfare, property, and quality of life.

Council of Great Lakes Governors – Through the Council, Governors work collectively to ensure that the entire Great Lakes region is both economically sound and environmentally conscious in addressing today’s problems and tomorrow’s challenges.

Illinois Pollution Control Board – The Board is responsible for adopting Illinois’ environmental regulations and deciding contested environmental cases.

Green Standards

There exists several green standards, certifications, and rating systems aimed at mitigating the impact of building materials, products, etc. on the natural environment through sustainable design.

ENERGY STAR – a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. EPA provides an innovative energy performance rating system and recognizes top performing buildings with the ENERGY STAR.

Forest Stewardship Council – FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

GreenGuard Environmental Institute – ensures that a product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Green Seal – provides criteria and guidelines for manufacturers, service providers, and companies to work toward sustainability and Green Seal certification. Green Seal has 30 issued standards that cover over 337 product and service categories.

Scientific Certification Systems – offers a wide range of green product certifications including single-attribute claims, multiple-attribute claims, and comprehensive cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment based claims.

Green Globes – an online assessment and rating tool for green building.

National Green Building Standards – defines green building for single-family homes, low-, mid-, and high-rise multifamily buildings, residential remodeling projects, and site development projects.

Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and CIMS-Green Building – Setting forth the key elements of a quality, dependable and sustainable cleaning operation, CIMS and CIMS-GB serve as THE road map for an effective green cleaning program.

FloorScore – was developed to test and certify flooring products for compliance with indoor air quality emission requirements adopted in California.

City of Chicago Green Links

Chicago ranks among the most sustainable cities in the United States.Most notable are its initiatives in renewable energy and urban greening.

City of Chicago Sustainability – Information about what the City of Chicago is currently doing to become a greener city.

Chicago Climate Action Plan – Dedicated to encouraging and helping organizations around Chicago become more sustainable.

Chicago 2015 Sustainability Plan – Plan created for the city of Chicago with over twenty four goals to improve the sustainability of the city that they hope to reach by 2015.

Chicago Energy Benchmarking – Ordinance to raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities for businesses and residents.

Retrofit Chicago – Retrofit Chicago’s energy efficiency pursuits will help create jobs, save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and demonstrates Chicago’s environmental leadership. Offers information for individuals to start living better today.

Chicago Green Permit Program – The Green Permit Process offers qualifying projects an expedited permit process and possible reduction of the permit fees.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning – CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

The Northern Illinois Energy Project – The Northern Illinois Energy Project (NIEP) is a partnership of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), an Illinois non-profit utility consumer advocacy group, the City of Chicago, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. NIEP was created to develop and administer innovative programs to promote energy conservation and reduce electricity costs for residential customers of ComEd.

City of Chicago, Department of Fleet and Facility Management – The Department of Fleet and Facility Management supports the operations of other City departments by providing high-quality and cost-effective fleet and facility services.

City of Chicago, Department of Housing and Economic Development – The City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) promotes economic development by helping existing businesses grow and by attracting new industry to the city. The department also leads Chicago’s affordable housing, housing preservation and community-based homebuyer assistance programs, as well as the city’s zoning, land use planning, sustainability and historic preservation initiatives.

City of Chicago, Department of Water Management – The Department of Water Management is responsible for delivering close to 1 billion gallons of fresh pure water to the residents of Chicago and 125 suburban communities everyday.

City of Chicago, Department of Buildings – The Department of Buildings supports the safety and quality of life for the residents and visitors of the City of Chicago through enforcement of the Chicago Building Code.  The permitting and inspection process promotes high quality design standards as well as the conservation, rehabilitation and reuse of the City’s existing buildings.

City of Chicago, Department of Health – Environmental Health Initiatives – Goal is to create healthy and safe environments by reducing environmental hazards that have a negative impact on the health of our City.

Chicago Housing Authority – CHA helps build strong, vibrant communities throughout the city in partnership with a host of key stakeholders. As the largest owner of rental housing in Chicago, CHA provides homes to more than 50,000 people.

Energy Efficiency Incentives

Find state and local financial incentives, rebates and loans that promote the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades.

Energy Shared Saving – CPS Energy Shared Savings gives schools real dollars for saving energy.

Energy Savers Program – Helps building owners reduce costs by improving energy efficiency. This Energy Impact Illinois program is administered by CNT Energy in partnership with the Community Investment Corporation.

Energy Impact Rebate – Energy Impact Illinois, along with your local utility, is providing rebates to help lower your energy bills, make your home more comfortable and more valuable.

People Gas and North Shore Gas Rebates

Peoples Gas Residential Prescriptive Rebate Program – Owners of single-family homes, two-flats and individually-metered condos, apartments and townhomes can get rebates on a wide range of energy-saving improvements to their homes.

Find Energy Saving Actions and Incentives – Offers personalized efficiency advice along with information about loans, rebates and incentives.

SCI Commercial Building Program – Though a competitive bid process, Energy Impact Illinois chose Transcend Equity Development (now SCIenergy, Inc.) to provide energy efficiency capital improvements to large commercial building owners.

Nicor Gas Energy Smart Program  – Information from product discounts to energy bill credits that can help enhance opportunities for individuals to realize real energy savings.

IFF Non-profit Loan Program – IFF is a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant dedicated to strengthening nonprofits and the communities they serve. With total assets of $200 million, IFF is able to help nonprofits finance, plan, and build facilities that are critical to their mission and success.

ComEd Smart Ideas Energy Efficiency Program – Information from product discounts to energy bill credits that can help enhance opportunities for individuals to realize real energy savings.

ENERGY STAR Tax Credits –  ENERGY STAR distinguishes energy efficient products which, although they may cost more to purchase than standard models, will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time, without a tax credit.

ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder – Search the ENERGY STAR website for rebates and special offers for certain products.

USGBC-Illinois Collaborative Partners

USGBC partners with many state and local businesses, organizations and institutions to promote a number of programs and campaigns.

Center for Neighborhood Technology – The Center for Neighborhood Technology is a leader in promoting more livable and sustainable urban communities.

Elevate Energy – Elevate Energy designs and implements efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency reach those who need them most.

Delta Institute – Delta has helped individuals, organizations and communities demonstrate that building better economies and reforming our relationship with the environment go hand in hand.

Chicago Community Fund – Provides flexible, affordable and responsible financing and technical assistance for community stabilization and development efforts and initiatives that benefit low- to moderate-income neighborhoods, families and individuals throughout metropolitan Chicago.

Illinois Science & Technology Coalition – The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) is a member-driven, non-profit organization that cultivates and attracts research, and technology based investment, talent and job growth in the state.

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – MEEA raises awareness, facilitates energy efficiency programs and strengthens policy across the Midwest region. MEEA brings together a respected network of members, partners, board and staff, and inspires others to create new technologies, new products and new ways of thinking when it comes to energy efficiency.

Foresight Design Initiative – Foresight Design Initiative transforms complex challenges into lasting and resilient outcomes. Working alongside mission-driven organizations (including foundations, government and non-profits) through philanthropically and publicly funded initiatives, Foresight Design seeks a deep understanding of problems before designing solutions that excel within the given system.

Clean Energy Trust – Created to accelerate the development of Midwest clean energy businesses by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers and early stage companies with the expertise and capital needed to become sustainable.

Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition – Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment and conserving natural resources by helping the Chicago food service industry reduce its collective environmental footprint.

Illinois Solar Energy Association – The Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) is a non-profit organization that promotes the widespread application of solar and other forms of renewable energy through education and advocacy. ISEA is the state resource for renewable energy related policy  developments, educational classes, events and access to local renewable energy vendors.

Metropolitan Planning Council – Through groundbreaking research, advocacy and demonstration projects, MPC develops innovative and pragmatic solutions to our region’s most vexing challenges.

Environment Law & Policy Center – The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, and among the nation’s leaders.

Illinois Environmental Council – The Illinois Environmental Council Education Fund engages in education and outreach and provides a forum for environmentalists. The Illinois Environmental Council serves as the environmental community’s eyes, ears and voice in Springfield.

Geothermal Alliance of Illinois – Geothermal takes the earth’s free energy and moves it into your home or business. No gas, no combustion, no flame. Just comfort, with efficiency and economy.

Environment Illinois – Environment Illinois is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.

Active Transportation Alliance – Advocate for transportation that encourages and promotes safety, physical activity, health, recreation, social interaction, equity, environmental stewardship and resource conservation.

Rebuilding Exchange – Diverts materials from landfills and makes them accessible for reuse through their retail warehouse, by promoting sustainable deconstruction practices, by providing education and job training programs, and by creating innovative models for sustainable reuse.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education – AASHE is helping to create a brighter future of opportunity for all by advancing sustainability in higher education. By creating a diverse community engaged in sharing ideas and promising practices, AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the business that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives.

National and International Organizations

There are numerous organizations, government departments and networks that research & promote green building in the United States and internationally.

Alliance to Save Energy – The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. We encourage business, government, environmental and consumer leaders to use energy efficiency as a means to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.

American Solar Energy Society – (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals & advocates.

American Institute of Architects – AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners.

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy – (ACEEE), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.

Energy and Environment Building Association – (EEBA) provides an invaluable platform for insight, collaboration and education. EEBA delivers unique and relevant, multi-platform educational resources with the intention to manifest sustainable and responsible building principles in the design, marketing and execution of the building process.

Healthy Building Network – established precedent-setting green building guidelines for health care facilities, demonstrating well-built, healthy and green modular homes to the affordable housing market in the Gulf States region and developing the first, on-line evaluation tool for building materials.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – From fundamental science and energy analysis to validating new products for the commercial market, NREL researchers are dedicated to transforming the way the world uses energy.

Natural Resources Defense Council – NRDC is the nation’s most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.4 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council – (SBIC) focuses on achieving high-performance buildings through the efficient use of energy and resources. SBIC works to unite and inspire the building industry toward higher performance—through education, outreach, advocacy and the mutual exchange of ideas—and to dramatically improve the long-term performance and value of buildings by advancing a whole building approach to design, construction and operation.

U.S. Dept. of Energy Better Buildings Program – The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is part of the Better Buildings Initiative—a program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that is lowering barriers to energy efficiency in buildings.

Biomimicry 3.8 – The global leader in biomimicry innovation consulting, professional training, and educational program and curricula development.

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions – an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change.

Ceres – Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership. Ceres mobilizes a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.

Rocky Mountain Institute  – RMI excels in radical resource efficiency, especially via integrative design.

National Institute of Standards and Technology -The Engineering Laboratory promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness in areas of critical national priority by anticipating and meeting the measurement science and standards needs for technology-intensive manufacturing, construction, and cyber-physical systems, including the Smart Grid Program Office in ways that enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life.

Consortium for Energy Efficiency – CEE is the US and Canadian consortium of gas and electric efficiency program administrators.  Both work together to accelerate the development and availability of energy efficient products and services for lasting public benefit.

Green Guard Environmental Institute – UL Environment’s GREENGUARD Certification program helps manufacturers create–and helps buyers identify and trust–interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used.

National Fenestration Rating Council – NFRC is a non-profit organization that administers the only uniform, independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, and attachment products.

ISSA Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association –  The world’s most recognized cleaning association with a global community of more than 6,000 distributor, manufacturer, building service contractor, in-house service provider, and manufacturer representative companies.

Other Resources – Includes important facts about recycling, reducing waste, energy & water efficiency.  The website also has lesson plans for teachers to promote environmental awareness in their classroom.

Turning Degrees into Sustainable Careers –  A helpful guide for students and young professionals that outlines school and career paths in the sustainability field.

Building Green – offers both print and electronic resources to help individuals design and build construction projects from a whole-systems perspective and take an integrated design approach.

Healthy House Institute – HHI strives to be the most comprehensive educational resource available for creating healthier homes.

GreenBiz Buildings & Facilities – provides information, resources, and learning opportunities to help companies of all sizes and sectors integrate environmental responsibility into their operations.

Sustainable Cities Institute – provides cities and sustainability professionals with timely, vetted, and practical resources to identify and implement solutions to advance their goals and strengthen their communities.

BEES software – BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the life-cycle assessment approach specified in the ISO 14040 series of standards.

Whole Building Design Guide – the only web-based portal providing government and industry practitioners with one-stop access to up-to-date information on a wide range of building-related guidance, criteria and technology from a ‘whole buildings’ perspective.

Go Green at Home! For Kids & Adults – Home Advisor article to help families with Green Home Solutions. Links to numerous helpful websites for homeowners and their families.

Green Professional Building Skills Training – a series of courses and certificate exams that teach the people who build, renovate, and maintain buildings the principles of sustainability combined with trade-specific green construction knowledge.

Appraisal Institute Resources – the Appraisal Foundation has already embedded green building into their standards development and education processes. See here for resources and case studies.

Top 100 Construction Sites on the Web: Green Construction – Sustainable or “green” construction of houses with better energy efficiency and lower carbon footprints has exploded in popularity, and any business with the capacity to build certifiably sustainable buildings can reap the benefits.


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