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Sustainability Resources

Here are some links to sites that can help educate you about sustainability and help you make greener choices!

Green Building

What is LEED?
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED (which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. There are a variety of rating systems under LEED for different project types.

Green Basics
This GreenBuildingAdvisor site offers a primer on green building as well as a more detailed encyclopedia for reference.

GreenBean is a news and discussion forum dedicated to reporting on built, in-progress, and unbuilt green building projects in Chicago.

City of Chicago Green Permit Program
Information on Chicago's green permit program which provides expedited permits for those who are building green.

City of Chicago Green Homes Program
How to apply for the voluntary registration program for sustainable homes.

ReBuilding Exchange
Chicago's first building material reuse center

Climate Change

The Impacts of Climate Change
An interesting overview of the impact of climate change on the planet from the Nature Conservatory.

What You Can Do
This EPA site allows you to explore small changes you can make in your life that can help reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Efficiency

10 Easy Ways to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Home or Workplace
Free or low-cost DYI tips that any homeowner or business can implement.

Energy Efficiency for Homeowners
The U.S. Department of Energy offers great tips on how to assess the energy efficiency of your home and to make it more energy efficient.

Energy Efficiency for Apartments
Are you an apartment renter? There are specific tips for renters who cannot make any permanent changes to their residence.

2011 Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
These tax credits are available to you for making green choices!

Energy Savers
Learn ways to save energy and use clean, renewable technologies at home, while driving, and at work.

My Footprint
The Ecological Footprint quiz estimates the area of land and ocean required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis.


Recycling Basics
Good overview of what can be recycled.

Chicago Recycling Coalition
Don't trash the city!  Full of recycling education and information for Chicagoans including tips on recycling your stuff.

Electronics Recycling Locations
See a list of electronics recycling drop-off spots in Illinois.

Greening Your Business

10 Easy Tips for a Greener Business
Here are a few simple tips any business can implement.
News and information about what businesses are doing to be more sustainable.  Contains a section on "Green for Small Business."
A Delta Institute project that makes purchasing sustainable products more simple and economical for buildings that have earned or are working toward LEED-EB certification.

Chicago Green Office Challenge
A strategy of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, the Green Office Challenge helps participants achieve strategies that reduce energy use, waste, and water use, and provides an exciting way for businesses to make Chicago a greener place to live and work. 

Green Automobiles/Hybrids/Plug-ins and Alternative Transportation

Why Is Fuel Economy Important?
The DOE breaks it down for us.

Active Transportation Alliance
Chicago's voice for better biking, walking, and transit.

The Chicago Transit Authority site helps you plan a trip using public transportation. Public transit reduces the amount of pollution emitted by individual vehicles while still being a viable transportation option.

I-GO Car Sharing
Local car-sharing affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Technology (also a great resource!). 

What exactly is a Plug-in Hybrid
This site makes the hybrid as simple as can be. It display’s how a hybrid works as well as its cost efficiency.

Your Car
This Department of Energy site offers some interesting resources on fuel efficiency and alternative vehicles.

Electric Charging Station Locations
Map to find charging stations near you.

Plug-in Chicago Metro is a project of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) to provide information and resources about electric vehicles.

Green Living

10 Easy Ways
Free or low-cost DIY tips that any homeowner or business can implement to conserve water, improve air quality, or make your building more environmentally friendly

Cool People Care
Subscribe to their daily newsletter "5 Minutes of Caring" which gives you one idea each day for how to make the world a better place, or read some of their more in-depth articles about individuals who are making a difference.

57 Ways to protect the Home Environment
An interesting walk through of 57 ways to make your home environmentally friendly. It contains both tips for outside and inside the home.

Why Buy Locally helps explain why, as well as provides links to local farms and places to find local food

The Green Mama
The Green Mama team helps inspire green living for families.

Carbon Calculator
Calculate your personal carbon footprint or that of a specific event or trip

Chicago Green Initiatives and Organizations

Chicago Department of Environment
Information on City of Chicago programs and events

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Green Business Forum
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce's green business resources and events

Local First Chicago
A network of Chicago local organizations and businesses.

Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance
The FSBA supports members in integrating sustainable business principles to generate a more profitable and environmentally and socially responsible Chicago economy.

Delta Institute
The Delta Institute creates, funds and implements programs that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving, vibrant communities.

USGBC - Illinois Chapter
Local chapter of the United States Green Building Council.

Environmental Law and Policy Center
The ELPC is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.

Green Economy Chicago
An online forum for community members and businesses to meet, collaborate and develop innovative ideas which are economically and environmentally beneficial.

Chicagoland Environment Network
For those interested in volunteering or careers in sustainability, CEN is a group of more than 200 environmental and natural resource organizations with links to jobs and volunteer opportunities.