Greenbuild kicks off amid criticism of Daley's green plans

Tomorrow marks the opening of Greenbuild, the annual conference and expo for the US Green Building Council, held this year at McCormick Place.

Against that backdrop, stories critical of Daley’s environmental agenda have been piling up in the Tribunea piece by chief business correspondent David Greising in today’s edition questions the “Chicago Climate Action Plan,” which aims to cut carbon emission 25 percent from 1990 levels through a broad array of initiatives.

Greising notes the irony of adding green roofs and wind turbines to big downtown buildings when perhaps the best way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – public transit – is in crisis.

And a recent column by architecture critic Blair Kamin argues that green building is still a fledgling trend that while worthy, may obscure the bigger picture. “Indeed, some thinkers argue the emphasis on what they call the ‘widgets’ of the green movement – green buildings, green cars and green lightbulbs – masks deeper issues that ultimately go back to the hotly debated, much-larger phenomenon of sprawl,” he writes.

Still, there’s no denying that a critical mass of green developments could only help the city’s environmental profile. Here at the Yo we’ve spotted a number of green projects in recent months, coinciding with the overall decline in the housing market (going green, some say, is a way for developers to distinguish their products from the competition amid slowing sales).

Some appear to have some real environmental cred, among them Eco18, planned for 1818 S Wabash Ave in the South Loop, which has a geothermal heating and cooling system that requires drilling 450 feet into bedrock. Dynaprop Development Corp, the company behind the project, is promising energy savings of 40 percent. In East Garfield Park, developer Terra Firma is planning Kedzie Greenlife, which uses solar panels and an ingenious system of transom windows to trap the sun’s heat. And it’s located right next to an el station.

I’m curious to get a sense of your priorities. Is green a selling point for you? What’s the main advantage – energy savings? Would you consider access to public transportation a green perk? Would it really keep you out of your car?

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