Chicago's Green Exchange: The World's Greenest Mall?


"Green building" and "sustainable development" aren't two terms that jump to mind when one thinks of "the mall." The sprawling, eponymous mega-structures, usually accompanied by acres of impervious parking lots, in many ways symbolize rampant overconsumption and disposable culture that TreeHugger crusades against each day. A new mall, Green Exchange, aims to change all of that. Under construction in Chicago, the mall plans to open in spring 2008 with a long list of green attributes to attract conscious consumer and business alike. The 250,000 square foot building will hold about 100 vendors, including an organic restaurant and café, a sustainable furniture store, a green building supply company, an eco-friendly printer, architects and designers focused on sustainability, an environmentally-friendly clothing company, a car-sharing service, a bike shop, and more. A 9,000 square foot courtyard garden will offer a green respite from shopping, and a green roof will top things off. Parking spots will feature outlets for plug-in hybrids, and "priority" parking will be given to drivers who pilot their hybrids to the mall. The building, a former lamp factory, is being renovated with goals of LEED-Silver under the USGBC's Core and Shell program, designed for adapting buildings for reuse. It all looks very good on paper; whether or not a "green" mall will prove successful is subject to discussion and, ultimately, its reception upon opening next spring. Stay tuned, and read more at WorldChanging, Green Options and Business Week. ::Green Exchange via ::Hugg(linton)

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