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Emanuel Vows to Make City Buildings Greener

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 12, 2011 6:40PM

One of the great fallacies of the Richard M. Daley legacy is his record as a "green" mayor. It takes more than mass plantings of trees, setting up a garden on the roof of City Hall to be a "green" mayor.

Mayor Emanuel today announced plans to reduce the carbon footprint of city buildings, building on the token gestures that Daley started. Like a lot of Emanuel's plans in the early stages of his mayoralty, it's ambitious, but the proof is ultimately in the pudding.

Public Building Chairman Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi said the plan is to retrofit close to 100 city buildings, including City Hall, the Harold Washington Library and a host of public elementary and high schools whose energy efficiency exceeds the industry standard of $2-per-square-foot, to make them more energy efficient.

The plan could save taxpayers as much as $5.7 million a year and create 375 jobs. Proposals from energy efficient companies will be solicited starting tomorrow and companies that do pass muster will begin audits to determine the buildings best suited for retrofitting.

Public Building Commission spokeswoman Mimi Simon told the Sun-Times in an email that said no taxpayer contribution is required.