Monday, July 28, 2008

Together: Historic Preservation and Green Industrial Projects

I have been having a hard time figuring out what exactly I want this blog to be all about. I have decided that the most interesting thing for me, and hopefully the reader, would be to have it be an idea showcase, both with ideas for buildings I would like to rehab, and for projects that others have done that seem extraordinary.

With that in mind, I think I will mention today a friend of mine that took an old, abandoned, and full-of-bikers building (of the hells angels variety, I believe), and turned it into one of the most impressive historic preservation, green, and industrial projects in the City of Chicago. This is, you read correctly, a green industrial building. This project is made even more impressive with the knowledge that it is a green/thrifty project. John, the owner/developer, is great at bartering. An example of beneficial thrift is that there is wonderful iron work in the building that was done, I believe at least partially, with rent rebates.

I will email him and ask for some before pics, but I came along as he was doing a green roof.

There are a few aspects of this project that are especially fun. On the slightly mundane, but impressive side, John has put in boilers that are 98% efficient. Wow. Apparently the first 90% is not super hard to achieve, but the next percentage points come very hard. There is a system in this boiler (that I incompletely understand) that has the heat exhaust go through a vapor exchanger so that the heat manages to go into vapor or the heat turns water to vapor in a jacket on the way out of the building so that it is conserved and leaves the building luke warm as opposed to really hot (like the exhaust would normally be).

The other great thing about this building is its green roof. John did all kinds of research to find ways around the status quo for green roof supplies, and used all kinds of other materials. But, even more fun, he pixelated his daughters face, and with 9 inch by 9 inch squares, put different colored plants, so that as one passes overhead on their way in or out of Midway airport, there should be a green roof/green baby face looking up at them. That is why these pictures have different plants in seemingly abstract patterns.

This last pic is of two unsuspecting folks standing by some of the cool ironwork. This is a nice example of how an ordinance (you must have railings and ways for people not to fall) into something really interesting.

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