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Sustainable Development Guidelines: "The Green Edge"

Updated: Feb 20

Our guidelines for sustainable development in Edgewater.

The Edgewater Environmental Coalition was requested to set up guidelines for sustainable development for developers in Edgewater from alders.

Introduction: As new construction is considered for Edgewater, it is important that our community promote qualities that will bring leading edge green development and also maintain a neighborhood that encourages individuals, families, and businesses to remain and prosper. Therefore we offer our support as an advisory arm with respect to development activity within the community.

Edgewater’s Green Edge

Edgewater currently contains a number of sustainable developments (listed below). Additional examples of the community’s interest in sustainability include residents actively incorporating energy efficiency upgrades, the addition of renewable energy systems, new parks & gardens, & a strong commitment to our tree canopy. We know many forward-thinking people seek out that which supports their growing sustainable commitment to the planet. To capitalize on Edgewater’s green edge, its location to water, and its prime location within the City, we envision Edgewater as a local and global leader in promoting sustainable housing, development, and resource management (our land, air, and quality of life).

Looking at guidelines set forth by neighboring organizations such as the 47th Ward Green Council, North Center Neighborhood Association and national organizations such as the Charter for New Urbanism, we advocate for responsible use and a green energy mandate for all new developments.

Adaptive reuse

  • Existing building being adapted reused

  • Paying full property taxes 

Construction and Design Practices 

  • A signed letter from the General Contractor committing to recycling or reusing at least 80% of the project’s construction and demolition debris and a report at project close verifying the commitment is verified during and after construction.

  • Green design for livability with green construction materials and insulation

  • Green design features: R-values for insulation, types of green construction materials, and energy-efficient plans.

  • Energy efficient plan document.  

  • Bird Protection

    • Include a Building Collision Threat Rating calculation or a signed letter from the General Contractor committing to protection glass

  • Onsite Composting Ability Provided For

  • No lead pipes

Onsite Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency 

  • No natural gas/methane use

  • Renewable energy features on blueprints, plans, or a description of the renewable energy features 

Electrifying - solar roof

Heating and Cooling - solar water heating, heat pump, geothermal, etc

More granular:

  • Led lights

  • Clean concrete

  • Energy star appliances

  • Or a way to calculate energy usage, percentages of math to determine efficiency

  • Or deliver an energy efficiency plan



Include a description of the station and its location verified on the site plan.


Include the required number of spaces verified on the project floor/site plan.

  • No requests to add parking above and beyond the minimum required, especially for eTOD sites.


  • Green Space (can include green roof)

With native species (plants and trees)

Include a landscape plan detailing the percentage of green space vs structure.

Community/public/third space included in plans

  • Stormwater green space plan

Bioswales, basins, catchments and depaving and permeable pavers

  • Existing Trees being saved and/or TREE PLANTING

Include a landscape plan detailing how the criteria have been met.

Community Engagement 

  • Affordable Housing - exceed affordable housing standards

  • Owner occupied building

  • Community green design process

  • Project finance is green bank and/or clean financing

Responsible use

  • Respect for Edgewater’s land & community that builds for the future & respects the past

Build for the future

  • Buildings account for 1/3 of all climate change. We envision energy neutral buildings but at a minimum we advocate at least five [5] of the following criteria be met for all new developments:

  • Sustainable building materials, principles, and energy management

  • Energy-efficient mechanical systems that are trackable

  • Tight building envelope with energy-efficient insulation

  • Solar energy: Thermal or PV panels

  • Geothermal

  • Cool roof or green roof

  • Green facade (A green facade is created by growing climbing plants up and across the facade of the building, either from plants grown in garden beds at its base, or by container plantings installed at different levels across the building.)

  • Rainwater management, which may include permeable pavement

  • Urban garden/landscaping or vertical garden

  • Parking that includes car share and battery charging stations

  • Design and preservation of natural light in buildings


Respect the past

  • Edgewater has a unique history of buildings that have created a distinctive built heritage and character – something to celebrate rather than eliminate. New building should be integrated seamlessly within this existing architecture and respect the land, green space & tree canopy.

  • We advocate for good urban design, landscape design, and street frontage that creates an enjoyable, vibrant, and interactive street-scape and/or public spaces that encourage community engagement.

  • We recommend support of buildings and stores that meet neighborhood needs. TODs increase density. Therefore, the facade of a TOD is of utmost importance, since because of its density, should result in an enlivened street life, especially on main thoroughfares.

  • We need only look to Andersonville’s Clark street for a unique and vibrant range of businesses that have vibrantly preserved and capitalized on its unified neighborhood architectural character.

Examples of Edgewater’s Sustainable Buildings and Developments

  • 6300 Winthrop Avenue Redesigned as a Woonerf: Loyola 2016-17

  • Heartland Medical Building 2015 1301 W. Devon, Dedicated 2014 as a LEED Platinum Level Development

  • Loyola University: Kenmore/Winthrop Development Finished 2014. The public can view & tour open areas of the building; 90 Geothermal wells; Student Center - Greenhouse Building; LEED-certified with solar and green roof features; water conservation elements.

  • 2013-14 North Lakeshore Beach Path Extension of the bike and pedestrian lakefront trail from Ardmore to Thorndale-design concept proposed.

  • Pomeroy Senior Housing, 5650 N. Kenmore, Retrofitted by the CHA to meet a minimum of LEED “silver”

  • Edgewater Library - Broadway & Elmdale Geothermal, green roof and recycled elements inside. LEED Silver

  • Yannell Home, 4895 North Ravenswood, a USGBC LEED for Homes pilot, is touted as Chicago’s first zero net energy home. The Yannell home uses evacuated tube construction in its solar thermal array.

  • Devon Avenue Greenscape (Permeable paving, planters, trees) Installed on Devon from Clark to Ravenswood

  • Senn High School – Eighteen Solar PV panels installed and providing electric power

  • Uncommon Ground – Five AET-40 Solar Thermal panels; Solar Powered Car Charging Station added 2013-14; Green Roof Garden and bee hives

  • Firehouse on 6200 Clark – Ten kW Solar Thermal panels

  • 5400 N. Ravenswood - Solar PV Array at a Videography studio

  • Uncommon Ground Solar Thermal; Solar Electric Car Charging Station

  • Edgewater Library: Solar PV; GeoThermal

  • Loyola University: Solar Thermal, Solar PV; GeoThermal

  • Pomeroy Building: Solar PV/Thermal; GeoThermal

  • Senn High School; Solar PV

  • Firehouse 6200 Clark; Solar PV

  • Videography Studio on Ravenswood: Solar PV

  • Heartland Medical Center at 1301 W. Devon Platinum LEED level with Geothermal wells installed


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