About Us

GreenBeanChicago.com was started in June 2006 by Erik Olsen, then the creator and administrator of the Green Permit Program for the City of Chicago. Erik created the GreenBean blog as a forum where Chicago’s design and development professionals could learn about what their peers were up to and share information about real projects.

In June 2008, Erik Olsen teamed up with partner Wendy Berger Shapiro to expand the mission of GreenBeanChicago.com. Today, GreenBeanChicago.com has evolved from a blog into a complete resource for all those interested in understanding the future of Green building in Chicago. GreenBeanChicago.com hopes to advance responsible development by providing details about built, in-progress and planned Green building projects and by featuring stories about the individuals and companies that are blazing new trails in the Green building industry.

The City of Chicago, led by its Mayor, The Honorable Richard M. Daley, has made significant headway in this industry and is considered one of the Greenest City in the United States. Mayor Daley has set a very aggressive Green development agenda which encourages professionals to design, construct and renovate in ways that promote a healthy environment, reduce operating costs and conserve energy and natural resources.  Daley’s former Environmental Commissioner, Sadu Johnson explains, ”This is about quality of life. What we’re talking about is creating a city that exists in harmony with the world, a place that can be a model. Cities have long been hurtful to the environment. Raw materials came in and waste went out. We’re trying to redefine that relationship, and cities can be models.”

In order to foster further Green development, The Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) has developed the Green Permit Program. This program offers expedited Building Permits for projects that incorporate Green building techniques, and seek approval for certification from the United States Green Building Council under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™.

LEED® is a third-party certification program and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance Green buildings. There are many LEED® projects in Chicago.  Many of them have either been granted or are applying for Building Permits through the City of Chicago’s Green Permit Program.  Most projects reviewed by GreenBeanChicago.com are either seeking or have been pre-approved for LEED® certification. However, some articles feature projects that use other verification systems, such as ENERGY STAR®.