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Green ordinance to get more tweaks

Evanston aldermen came close to passing a green building ordinance Tuesday night, but ran out of steam as they were trying to draft amendments on the council floor at 11:30 p.m.

So they directed staff to clean up the ordinance and bring it back in two weeks for consideration of several last-minute amendments proposed by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber sought to:

  • Exclude smaller scale, primarily decorative commercial renovation projects from the ordinance.
  • Offer the option of having a building meet environmental standards without requiring formal certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Exclude adaptive reuse renovations of buildings of less than 25,000 square feet.

Generally the ordinance would require construction or renovation projects of greater than 10,000 square feet to meet the silver certification standard in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.


Evanston aldermen came close to passing a green building ordinance Tuesday night, but ran out of steam as they were trying to draft amendments on the council floor at 11:30 p.m.

So they directed staff to clean up the ordinance and bring it back in two weeks for consideration of several last-minute amendments proposed by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber sought to:

  • Exclude smaller scale, primarily decorative commercial renovation projects from the ordinance.
  • Offer the option of having a building meet environmental standards without requiring formal certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Exclude adaptive reuse renovations of buildings of less than 25,000 square feet.

Generally the ordinance would require construction or renovation projects of greater than 10,000 square feet to meet the silver certification standard in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, attacked the chamber’s executive director, Jonathan Perman, for seeking the changes, calling the last-minute requests “reprehensible” and “an end run” around the negotiating process that had led to a compromise ordinance that now has been in the works for three years.

But Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said the small developers who would benefit from the proposed changes had not been represented on the committee that negotiated the compromise.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested excluding the city’s own construction projects from the ordinance’s requirements because of concerns about extra cost.

But Burrus said the city shouldn’t impose the rules on others “if we’re not willing to do it ourselves.”

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