Chartreuse Blog

Exelon Pavilions

Located in downtown Chicago, IL, the four Exelon Pavilions are an integral part of Millennium Park, with two located on the south side of the park and two on the north.  The south side pavilions, designed by Renzo Piano, provide access to the parking garage below while incorporating solar technology: twenty-four PV modules are located on the roof of the southeast pavilion and 16 PV modules are located on the roof of the southwest pavilion.  Together they generate 3,840 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

The north pavilions, designed by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects, are the first instance of façade-integrated photovoltaics in Chicago and together are one of the largest PV-integrated projects in the United States.  Each pavilion incorporates 460 photovoltaic modules, and together, they generate 16,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The northwest pavilion is a 6,100 sq ft park welcome center featuring an interactive display that educates visitor on renewable energy and the northeast pavilion provides access to the parking garage below.  The pavilions have a LEED silver rating.







Millennium Park
August 4, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: , ,

Located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is considered to be the largest intensive green roof in the world.  The 24.5 acre park spans two sub-grade parking garages and an existing rail yard and features Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, the Lurie Garden, and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

The site was originally owned by the Illinois Central Railroad and was considered to be untouchable for nearly 150 years: the larger Grant Park was designed around the railway.  Though there were many attempts to add a park, plans were never implemented until the late 90’s when Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed a modest park with a budget of $150 million.  Four years past the original deadline and $325 million dollars over budget, the park opened in 2004 and is one of the most popular places in the city.

The structural deck spanning the parking garages and rail yard was designed to support four feet of soil allowing for over 900 trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, and annuals to be planted in the park creating shade, managing storm water, cleaning the air, reducing the urban heat island, and providing residents and visitors of Chicago with a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoor city.







To learn more about Millennium Park visit

Greening Chicago
August 4, 2009, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: ,
Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago

When Richard M. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1989 he was dedicated to making Chicago the greenest city in the country.  His plan has included green roofs, photovoltaic systems, wind energy, green teaching facilities, Brownfield revitalization, public transportation, and biking infrastructure.  Currently, Chicago has more green roofs than any other city in the country and ranks fourth for the number of solar installations.

Chartreuse completed a series of Chicago case studies in July that demonstrate how Chicago is changing its carbon footprint one green project at a time.  We will be presenting one project a day for the next week.

Case studies include Millennium Park, the Exelon Pavilions, the McDonald’s Cycle Center, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, and the Near North Apartments.

Plastiki Expedition
July 16, 2009, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags:

The Plastiki is a 60 foot Catamaran whose hull is made from approximately 12,000 reclaimed plastic bottles. The catamaran, and its crew of scientists, creatives, and adventurers, is sailing from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia in order to inspire creative design solutions to our environmental dilemma. The Plastiki is to be launched late 2009 from San Francisco.

The Plastiki website is really fun, interactive, and educational. You can also follow the Plastiki development and expedition at

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.