As announced in September in the Tribune, Chicago has become first place out of US cities for energy efficient building construction. In a report by the U.S. Green Building Council, Chicago beat the second place contender Portland, Oregon by 20% and third place Seattle by 40%. The ratings come from the number of buildings with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. According to the Green Building Council, Chicago has 88 projects that are LEED certified.
Becoming the country’s leading city by building more energy efficient projects has been one of Mayor Richard Daley’s main goals. Every new public building in the city must achieve LEED certification. Also, any building that receives city funding must have a green roof or become green building certified. This is a great step, but there is some criticism that not all LEED-rated buildings live up to the name. While it may not be possible to fully enforce, it is a step in the right direction.
Public LEED buildings are not all that we can do to make Chicago a greener city. Most people can start with their own home. Reducing energy consumption and energy loss in your house is something that can be done step by step. If you’re planning on building an energy efficient house, consider applying for a few grants. Building green homes is something that there is a lot of money dedicated to, and many people can qualify depending on the project.
The easiest way is to register on http://www.grants.gov/ and do a search for any applicable grants that you may be eligible for. Check back often because the grants available change frequently. Once you have completed a grant request form and submitted it, make sure to check that you receive an email confirming that it was submitted properly. Keep track of the grants that you apply for. The processing time will vary with each different type of grant.
Another place to check for grants is the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department. After checking out the websites yourself, it will be best to go directly to your local government office, who will likely be able to steer you in the right direction. Just make sure that you have all your paperwork in order, it will save you a lot of hassle.