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Making Iconic Midwest History Green

September 13, 2010

CHICAGO - Making historic building space green carries tremendous challenges and rewards. The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) in Chicago is moving this week to a new, state-of-the-art green office space in the historic Jeweler's Building. The office is designed to achieve LEED platinum certification, the highest standard in green building.

However, getting there in a landmark building has been a huge challenge, according to ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner.

"Because of the historic facade, we faced a lot of constraints in terms of a green office."

Those constraints included not being able to change the windows or walls, two areas that are usually targets for green upgrading. Learner says they want the office to be an example for people working in older buildings across the Midwest to show they don't need new construction to have an energy-saving, comfortable office space.

Learner says this project could serve as a template for other green retrofits targeted for historic buildings across the Midwest.

"I don't know of a lot of other examples where someone or an organization has done a LEED platinum-level restoration for a green office in a historic landmark building."

The Jeweler's Building is located at 35 E. Wacker in downtown Chicago. The iconic building has been featured in many movies, including "Batman Begins," in which Batman perches on one of the turrets rising at the top of the building.

More information is available by contacting Peter Gray, ELPC, at 312-795-3715.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI