Chicago Office Renovates, Saves 44 Percent of Energy Use

When the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago, Illinois, renovated its office building in 2003, the organization produced an attractive and comfortable workspace that uses an average of 44 percent less energy than comparable buildings constructed to code. The building employs walls with a whole-wall R-value of 15 or greater and trees to shade the walls and roof. South-facing windows, high ceilings, an open floor plan, and light-colored surfaces and finishes enable the use of daylighting. In addition, all of its appliances are Energy Star–rated and the building uses an efficient ice-chiller that cools the space using stored ice. Operable, efficient windows also provide occupants with light, views, and fresh air. To keep the renovation cost comparable to a conventional rehab, the project team focused on using off-the-shelf technologies and high-quality construction practices. This kept the green premium down to $9.21 per square foot (ft2), or $5.68/ft2 after grants to fund green demonstration projects, such as the ice-cooled chiller and photovoltaic panels, which provide 5 percent of the building’s electricity. The total construction cost was $82/ft2.