Chartreuse Blog

Greening the Sears Tower
June 29, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: ,
Chicago Sun-Times

Sears Tower Retrofit, Image from Chicago Sun-Times


Following the recent release of plans to revamp the Empire State Building in New York, American Landmark Properties revealed its own plans for a green retrofit of Chicago’s own Sears Tower.  The retrofit as well as a new net zero hotel next door are both being designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago.

The retrofit will include all new windows in the exterior wall, efficient mechanical and lighting systems, and modernization of all the escalators, elevators, and plumbing.  Solar hot water panels, wind turbines, and a green roof will be added to the 90th floor roof.

The retrofit is planned to reduce electricity use by 80% or 68,000,000 kilowatt hours per year.  The project will also act as a model for green retrofits, setting a standard for updating existing structures.  The updates should be enough to earn the Sears Tower LEED Platinum status.  The new hotel and retrofit will begin next spring and are planned to be completed within five years.

Repower America Panel Discussion

Last night Repower America South Dakota held a panel discussion focused on clean energy, living green, and what renewable energy will do for South Dakota. The panel featured Joe Bartmann, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Green Project, Randy Parry, President of the Rural Learning Center, and Matt McLarty, Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Opening the discussion was a conference call with former vice president Al Gore urging nearly 12,000 Repower America, clean energy, and sustainability supporters to help pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), currently moving through Congress. Al Gore credited the approval of the bill by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to those listening to the call.

Joe Bartmann followed Al Gore’s call with a presentation about the Sioux Falls Green Project, a new non profit focused on creating a movement to educate and inspire the community to make positive changes in the way we work and live. Joe concluded by daring us to “stop trying to save the planet,” rather we should “change the conversation.” We need to start talking about ways we can save ourselves, save our ecosystems, save life on earth. This way of thinking will have a larger impact on those who are less concerned about the planet but may respond when our own detriment is involved. For more information about the Sioux Falls Green Project or to sign up for the SFGP newsletter visit or email Joe Bartmann at

Randy Parry discussed how a community is changing its future through renewable energy. Howard, SD in Miner County was just another dying rural community with a decreasing population and rising poverty until the citizens of Howard transformed their own town. Through a partnership with Energy Maintenance Service and Knight and Carver Wind Group, 247 new jobs have been created. That is a substantial increase for a town of 1,100 people. The 17.61% job increase (compared to a 0.27% decrease in rural South Dakota), the increase in sales tax, and increase in town population has made Howard a model for positive change in other rural communities across America. For more information about Howard and the Rural Learning Center visit

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, a legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, has offices in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Matt McLarty outlined renewable energy advocacy campaigns by the ELPC of South Dakota. Currently, they are working to connect small electricity producers to the grid, through technical expertise new standards, and encourage wind power development in South Dakota. For more information about ELPC contact Matt at or visit

The panel discussion was a great overview of current ways South Dakota is responding to economic and environmental hardships. The challenge lies in continuing to raising public support and community involvement. For more information about Repower America South Dakota contact Elena Arons at or Ned Horsted at

Repower America Event
June 22, 2009, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Local Green Events | Tags: , , , ,

Repower America in Sioux Falls is having a panel focused on clean energy, living green, and what renewable energy will do for South Dakota on Tuesday, June 22nd.  The panel will include Randy Parry, President of the Rural Learning Center, Joe Bartmann, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Green Project, and Matt McLarty, Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.  There will also be a conference call with Al Gore starting at 7 pm!  The event will be held at the Sioux Falls Library, Oakview Branch (3700 E. 3rd Street) starting at 7 pm.

Hope to see you there!

To learn more about Repower America visit

Green Drinks
June 11, 2009, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Local Green Events

Chartreuse attended June Green Drinks last night at Tre’ Lounge in Sioux Falls.

Green Drinks is a monthly mixer organized by Astronaut and the Sioux Falls Green Project for anyone interested in conversation about all aspects of sustainability.  Sioux Falls is just one of 533 cities world wide making green conversation over drinks.  For more information about Green Drinks check out the website at  We will update you via blog for the next Green Drinks event.

June 11, 2009, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Welcome to Chartreuse’s Blog!  Chartreuse is a research institute dedicated to identifying and developing sustainable building materials using the resources of the northern plains. For more information about Chartreuse visit our website at