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% 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% of the building’s electricity. The total construction cost was $82/ft2.

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