Chicago – The Public Building Commission of Chicago, (PBC) chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has been honored with a national award of excellence for its environmental program, which demonstrates excellence in meeting the challenges posed by environmentally contaminated project sites in the City of Chicago, Cook County and other surrounding communities in Illinois.
The National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) issued the award on April 9 at its annual awards ceremony, giving national recognition to PBC for its outstanding environmental program. The program focuses on environmental planning, the use of efficient and environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable design when redeveloping Brownfields sites.
“On behalf of Chairman Emanuel and our team at PBC, I am pleased to accept this award because it shows that the high standards of excellence to which we adhere have been recognized by our peers in the industry,” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the PBC. “I am equally pleased that the award was based on two projects that have transformed former Brownfield sites into community anchors, helping to clean up contaminated sites and bring important projects that improve our communities.”
The PBC won for its overall excellence in environmental management as demonstrated in its work on the Back of the Yards Campus: Chicago Public High School and Chicago Public Library and the Whitney Young Branch Library site clean-ups.
Both projects showed how the use of greener in-situ technologies and native clay worked to remediate heavily contaminated former industrial sites. Combined, the remediation of both sites diverted over 25,000 cubic yards of soil from heading to a landfill. The Back of the Yards campus today serves the community as a 10-acre athletic campus with a new LEED Silver high school and community library. The Whitney Young Library remediation project was completed to provide adjacent properties with a public benefit. That project will be used by the USEPA as a pilot for other municipalities to highlight green remediation.
The award highlights PBC’s practices of using an integrated planning approach, best management practices, innovative approaches like in-situ remediation and integrating LEED-strategies to go beyond standard practices and raises the bar for environmental excellence on public projects.