18 feb 10 | World Architecture News

AS+GG completes first phase of Chicago DeCarbonization Plan

by Sharon McHugh

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has completed the first phase of a comprehensive Decarbonization Plan for the downtown Loop area of Chicago.

The product of a year long effort that involved 50 members of the firm's staff, the plan lays out strategies for helping Chicago achieve a 25% reduction in carbon emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 100% reduction in carbon emissions in new and renovated buildings by 2030. An outgrowth of AS+GG's work on the greening of Chicago's Willis Tower, the plan is intended as a model for cities around the world.

"One of the most exciting aspects of the plan is that it envisions a repositioning of aging buildings as real estate, transforming them from deficits to assets," said Gordon Gill. "Ultimately the goal of the plan is to leverage the latent assets of the built environment to save money and invite new development with zero impact on the urban ecosystem. The result will be a new economy that improves energy and carbon performance as well as the overall quality of life in the Loop".

Highlights of the plan include: Completing and linking a below-grade pedway system that would make the Loop walkable in extreme weather conditions; Creating a green corridor and below-grade inter-modal axis on Monroe Street that would offer a place for respite for residents, commuters and visitors; Repurposing the Loop's underground tunnels as a pneumatic waste disposal system; Extending the existing Chicago riverwalk and bicycle paths to increase mobility within and across the Loop; and publishing a manual for schools that would be a primer on urban design and decarbonization.

With the first phase now complete, the second phase will focus on adapting the plan to meet energy and carbon reduction goals of university and medical campuses, towns, cities, states and ultimately countries around the globe. In anticipation of this work, AS+GG announced today the launch of a new firm, PostivEnergy Practice, which will focus on energy and engineering services.