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March 24th, 2009
USGBC — Chicago Chapter Celebrates Natural Leaders

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PR – The U.S. Green Building Council – Chicago Chapter announced its 2009
Natural Leaders Awards winners, with a formal ceremony to recognize the
recipients to be held at the Fourth Emerald Gala on Saturday, May 16.
The Awards celebrate individuals and organizations that contribute to
the region’s sustainability and that help support the USBGC – Chicago
Chapter’s mission to lead the regional transformation of the built
environment to become ecologically sustainable, profitable, and healthy
through education, advocacy, and collaboration. Awards are given in
four categories: Intent to Matter, Re-Generation, SMALL feet/large FEAT
and Environmotion.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center received the Intent to
Matter award for excellence in sustainable design, construction, or
operations. The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
successfully crafted and passed energy efficient building codes that
take advantage of available technology while giving builders choices in
what technologies to use and saving consumers 11-15% on annual utility
bills. In 2005, the Commercial Energy Efficiency Building Code became
law while the residential building code passed both the Illinois House
and the Illinois Senate in 2008. Howard Learner, ELPC’s executive director, was also instrumental in the development of the City of Chicago’s
Climate Action Plan, which includes more than two dozen policy ideas
focusing on buildings, energy generation, transportation, industry, and
waste reduction practices. ELPC’s work is a major step toward making
green buildings and policy the standard for Chicago and State of Illinois.

Vincent Iturralde, principal of Tarkington School
of Excellence, received the Re-Generation award for excellence in
environmental education. From his first day on the job, Principal
Iturralde, a former science teacher, saw the potential to bring the
school to life and incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.
Using recycled content for construction, sophisticated lighting
controls and a rooftop garden, Tarkington was the first LEED-certified
Chicago Public School. His commitment is reflected in his students.
Students lead the recycling effort and interact with the park grounds
around them, learning environmental stewardship and building a sense of
ownership in the community as a whole. Principal Iturralde has parlayed
a gift of a green school into a green community.

Making a strong commitment to reduce its carbon footprint Saint Xavier University was honored with the SMALL feet/large FEAT award for excellence in organizational change. Saint Xavier University
(SXU) recently completed a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Audit, which evaluated
the University’s eCO2 emissions, focusing on C02 reductions in such
areas as student and employee travel. SXU’s LEED Gold Rubloff Hall
participated in a USGBC/U.S. EPA-sponsored study on the economics of
going "green." Even with a 3.77% construction premium, they found the
expenses would be defrayed in only 4.9 years. Rubloff Hall will not
only be able to sustain energy efficiency and economic savings for the
future, but the efficiency with which the buildings operate will more
than compensate for front end costs by significantly outlasting
traditional building standards. With the information from energy and
consumption benchmarking, SXU will move to create a Climate Action Plan
to take advantage of energy reduction opportunities in the future and
become as climate neutral as possible.

The Environmotion award for excellence in sustainable innovation was
awarded to Uncommon Ground. The community-based restaurant on the north
side of Chicago advocates the principles of
local, sustainable and organically produced food, boasting the first
certified organic rooftop farm in the United States.
The 2,500 square foot garden not only grows produce for the restaurant
below, but houses solar panels that heat up to 70% of the water for the
restaurant and two beehives that produce 40 pounds of honey a year.
Owners Helen and Michael Cameron expanded to this
second location in 2007, having built relationships with farmers from
the Great Lakes region who follow sustainable and organic methods. "Our
mission is to stand as a working model for other restaurants,
businesses and homeowners," Helen says, "to show what is possible
within an urban environment."

The Chicago Chapter will recognize the 2009 Natural Leader Award recipients at their Fourth Emerald Gala on May 16, 2009 at the Swissotel in Chicago.

The U.S. Green Building Council – Chicago Chapter is hosting the Fourth Emerald Gala at the Swissotel Chicago on May 16, 2009. The Emerald Gala is the preeminent celebration of Illinois’
sustainable building movement. This event attracts over 600 individuals
in the green building community to celebrate the sustainable building
movement and support of the Chicago Chapter’s mission to lead the
regional transformation of the built environment to become ecologically
sustainable, profitable and healthy through education, advocacy and
collaboration. Tickets are on sale through the USGBC – Chicago Chapter
website, or contact the Chicago Chapter office at 312-245-8300.

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