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Buildings Environments AU T U M N 2 0 1 2

Walsh Construction Creates Green Urban Campus ~ features... River Plaza Condos Goes Green With Energy Conservation Benefit Corporations Attract Socially Responsible Investments Morton Arboretum Wetlands Project The Weather and Your Landscape Lanscape Companies Growing Greener Sebert’s Sustainable Office

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Is it possible… …TO IMPROVE property values and quality of life for homeowners? …TO OFFER specialized customer service to each of our 16,000 homeowners? …TO ACHIEVE cost savings without compromising homeowner’s quality of life? …TO DELIVER special value added services every day? Call or email Jennifer Feldman at 312.335.5650 or to find out how WOLIN-LEVIN CAN MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU!

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table of contents

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02 Walsh Construction Creates Green Urban Campus By David Mack

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06 River Plaza Condos Goes Green With Energy Conservation 10 Benefit Corporations Attract Socially Responsible Investments By David Mack Industry Happenings 12 Morton Arboretum Wetlands Project 14 Editor’s Message 15 Service Directory The Landscape Buyer 19 The Weather and Your Landscape By James A. Fizzell S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

26 Landscape Companies Growing Greener By Michael C. Davids S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

28 Sebert’s Sustainable Office By David Mack

Cover photo credit: Solomon Cordwell Buenz






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BuilDings & environMents

By D av i D M ac k

Walsh Construction Creates Green Urban Campus For some time the 3 story, approximately 93,000 square foot, building adjacent to the headquarters of Walsh Construction in the 300 block of South Sangamon in Chicago sat vacant and was deteriorating into a visual blight on the surroundings.


he former warehouse, built in 1908, and which had also served as an automobile showroom previously, “was an eyesore because it was dirty, vacant and lifeless and had corroded, deteriorating materials,” explained Mike Stopka, Director of Sustainability of the architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), which was retained by Walsh Construction to plan the renovation of the building. The construction company (Walsh) had acquired the facility and wanted the exterior appearance improved and the interior redesigned for its use. “SCB took the challenge of turning this once eyesore into a space that not only beautifies the community but creates a sustainable work environment for the Walsh Group.”

Additional HQ Space

SCB reinvented an old paper manufacturing warehouse to create the new face of Walsh Construction headquarters

Walsh didn’t purchase the building to replace its existing headquarters next door but to serve as an adjunct to it for the purpose of accommodating other employees who were to be relocated from satellite offices around the area. “The new building is an additional headquarters,” said Stopka. “Walsh wanted to consolidate employees spread throughout smaller rental offices into the new facility to create an urban campus.”

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02 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S

Renovation of the building began in 2010 on a day that has a lot of meaning for the proprietors of Walsh Construction whose roots are in the Auld Sod- March 17. “St. Patrick’s Day (is) a significant holiday for an Irish Family, rich in tradition,” said Jacquelyn Brown of Walsh. After having been started by Irish immigrants, the business is still family owned.

On Time Self Help Construction went as planned, proceeding smoothly. “No problems delayed construction significantly,” said Stopka. “With Walsh’s and SCB’s experienced team and resources, all conditions encountered were resolved expediently (which) allowed for continued construction,” added Brown. We, “anticipated approximately five months for construction and the project was delivered on time.”


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cover story

It certainly helped in meeting the time expectations that Walsh was heavily involved in the building rehabilitation. It, “self-performed earth work, concrete, structural steel and miscellaneous carpentry,” said Stopka. “Other specialty trades were sub-contracted.” Walsh handled much of the materials procurement and oversaw the efforts of the other participants to keep the work on schedule and assure that the budget for the job was not overrun. “Walsh did direct purchase a good number of products from manufacturers and coordinated with installing contractors to maintain a cost effective approach.”

Adding a Floor The height of the three story building was actually extended by another tier, a difficult task accomplished by the skillful collaboration of Walsh and SCB. A, “4th floor steel frame structure was added on top of the existing concrete frame of floors one to three,” said Stopka, adding that, “this posed challenges for the team to ver-

▲ A monumental stair was incorporated into the new space to promote connectivity

▲ A large atrium was cut into the center of the space to allow access to natural daylight above

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BuilDings & environMents

ify (the) structural capacities of this 1908 building.” In the process, additional brick cavity wall on the north and west and insulated metal panel wall on the south and east were installed to provide extra support for the new floor.

as 95% of all waste was recycled. Walsh also concentrated on finding local suppliers and vendors for product and material purchases to eliminate the environmental impact on roads and highways and air quality caused by long distance hauling.

Green Building Practices

Walsh Additional HQ Building Highlights include:

In the end, approximately 75 % of the original building was retained in the rehabbed structure. Most of what was removed during construction was salvaged

• a white polyvinyl chloride (PVC) green roof consisting of local vegetation covering 70% of the surface.


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04 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S

“The rooftop garden is planted with a mixture of prairie type grasses, sedum (flowering plants) and other native, adaptive vegetation,” said Stopka. At this time it does not have a sitting area for employees but tours are given of the garden for visitors. • a rainwater recovery process that filters into the building’s plumbing and irrigation systems. It,” is functioning as expected,” said Brown. Local drought conditions have not reduced water availability for the building because there is an automatic conversion to the city supply when rainwater is lacking as it had been during the summer. • an efficient HVAC system that adjusts to the exterior environment. • integrated lighting and shade control which adapts to natural exterior light intensity.

Other Unique Features There are a number of other unique features worth noting at the new Walsh Construction Green Building: • a glass atrium and stairway admit substantial natural light into the building. • in that atrium is a retired Walsh bulldozer from the decade of the 1950s. • original brick from the exterior has been recycled into exposed brick surfaces throughout the building. • all interior finishes have low or no volatile organic compound (VOC) components. • added interior wood consists of at least 50% recycled material. • an electrical vehicle charging station has been installed. ”At this time it is for Walsh vehicles,” said Brown, but the Company, “is currently exploring all positive opportunities for the use of the EV charging station.” One potential additional purpose would be for the personal cars of employees. • bike racks and showers are available for staff. • it is Chicago’s first building to use Solar Duct solar thermal technology to preheat outdoor air before it is admitted to the building thus saving on heating costs.

Energy Savings The rehabilitated building will use considerably less energy than it did in its previous incarnations as an auto showroom and warehouse. “SCB was able to (produce) energy savings of 51%,” said Stopka.


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Highest Rated LEED Building in Illinois Walsh has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for the upgraded building because of the several green processes and technologies used throughout that were previously noted. The structure was awarded the 6th highest LEED point total in the country and the top number in Illinois. The Walsh Group is ranked the 13th largest green contractor in the U.S. by ENR and is committed to continuing green practices in all of its future endeavors. Although Walsh has no other LEED facilities and none are planned at this time, SBC is in the forefront of planning and designing a number of them. “We currently have around 50 LEED projects in the pipeline,” said Stopka.

Positive Work Environment The Walsh Company and its staff are very happy with the new office accommodations. “The employees and ownership are extremely satisfied with the building,” said Stopka. “The comfort and space of

▲ The renovated interior space has a bright and open feel the facility create a very positive work environment,” which is enhanced by, “the

large amount of (natural) light and the minimal environmental impact.” $

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BuilDings & environMents

River Plaza Goes Green with Energy Conservation 2012 IREM Green Design Award

Located on the north side of the Chicago River, River Plaza Condominium is a 56-story high-rise building constructed in 1977.


he building was originally occupied as apartments but was converted to condominiums in 1996. The total residential portion of the building is approximately 691,096 sq.ft. and has a total of 702 condominium units on floors 1-51. The property also features a fitness center, pool with sundeck and commercial tenant spaces (74,081 sq.ft.) on three plaza levels. The building has four sub-levels of indoor heated garage that total approximately 145,729 sq.ft. Finally, the exterior envelope of the building is comprised of concrete, brick and glass. The calculated energy cost index (ECI) was $1.34 sq.ft., which is 47% higher than an average residential high-rise in Chicago.

Energy Audit Got It Started Due to increasing utility costs and the recent emphasis on green technology, energy conservation is paramount. In 2009, Elara Engineering was called upon to perform an objective energy audit and study of mechanical systems including the heating, cooling and ventilation systems at River Plaza. The subsequent report identified opportunities for improvement in energy efficiency, comfort, maintenance and reliability. Shortly after delivery of the report, Elara Engineering was enlisted to design a mechanical upgrade for the building which included replacing the existing boilers, converting the dual temperature system, four-pipe loops and booster pumps to variable operation, installing a demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) system and a new building automation system with electronic controls. In total, the Homeowners Association chose a phased implementation for six of the 10 total opportunities identified.

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Heating Plant: The building was originally served by a hot water boiler plant, located in the mechanical penthouse, with a seasonal efficiency of approximately 47%. The hot water was distributed to multiple loops throughout the building for residential fan coils, two makeup air units (MAUs), and 10 air handling units (AHUs). The boilers also served domestic water heating via three shell-and-tube heat exchangers. The boilers were original to the building and were over 33 years old. The existing boilers were step-fired, over-sized and inherently inefficient, which resulted in cycling and poor control. For approximately six months of the year, the average firing rate of the boilers was below the low firing rate of a single boiler. As a result of these and other inefficiencies, the existing boiler plant represented the largest single source of energy expenditure at River Plaza, accounting for 57% of the total annual cost (natural gas and electricity). The design team recommended complete replacement of the boiler plant with new high-efficiency equipment. Elara’s design replaced the original boiler plant with two separate hot water boiler plants forming a hybrid boiler system. A low-temperature boiler plant (consisting of six high-efficiency condensing boilers) was located in the mechanical penthouse and is used for residential heating only (hot water to the residential fan coils and MAUs). A new dual-temperature supply and return riser was routed to the two residential MAUs; one located in the mechanical penthouse and the other located 52 floors below at Plaza Level 3. This effectively separated the heating plant for the residential portion of the building from the commercial and garage spaces and took further advantage of dual temperature coils at the existing MAUs by adding them to the low-temperature condensing boiler plant. As is evident by the maximum supply temperature of the residential heating units being 135°F, the low-temperature boilers operate in the condensing efficiency range throughout the heating season, providing maximum energy savings. The existing dual temperature pump was retrofit with a variable frequency drive (VFD) as part of this project. The addition

of the VFD allows the system to operate in a two-speed fashion, running at full speed in cooling and approximately 60% speed in heating (since the fan coils, and MAU coils are oversized for heating). In addition to the low-temperature boiler plant, a high-temperature boiler plant was also located in the existing penthouse. The hightemperature boiler plant utilizes four high efficiency condensing hot water boilers and serves the four pipe loop AHU, domestic hot water (DHW) heat exchangers, pool and garage heating. This boiler plant is also made up of the same condensing boilers as the low-temperature boiler plant, but operates at higher temperatures during the heating season. This boiler plant condenses in the shoulder season thereby taking advantage of higher boiler efficiencies. VFDs were also added to the four-pipe loop (dedicated hot and chilled water pumps) for variable operation. The existing 3-way valves at the individual constant AHU heating coils were converted to two-way control valves with circulation pumps. For 100% outside air coils, circulation pumps and separate heating and cooling control valves were used for enhanced control and freeze protection that was not present in the original building design. Finally, a central two-position isolation control valve was added to the garage heating loop served by the high-temperature boiler plant that eliminates flow through the garage unless the garage temperature falls below 55°F and the outside air temperature is 55°F or lower. The low-temperature and high-temperature boiler plants are connected to each other via a series of control valves (modulating and two-position) which allow for controlled redundancy without the cost of any additional boilers. As part of this project, direct digital controls (DDC) were also installed to provide automation for the new equipment. The building automation system will be discussed in further detail in the sections below. Domestic Water System: The original DHW system used three single wall shelland-tube heat exchangers and three hot water recirculation pumps which were used to continuously draw water from the four-pipe heating hot water supply and pump it into the shell-and-tube heat ex-

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BuilDings & environMents

Low-Temp Boiler Plant Manifold Piping

Low-Temp Boiler Plant Boiler #5 and Boiler #6

changers. A single shell-and-tube heat exchanger served one of the building’s three domestic water zones: low, middle and high. DHW was then pumped from the potable side of the shell-and-tube heat exchanger to its pressure zone. In its existing condition, the DHW system did not meet current City of Chicago Code and was original to the building. The domestic cold water system used a triplex booster pump system to provide pressure for the building’s cold water systems. The existing booster system was such that a smaller pump (40HP) was used during low-flow situations and a larger pump (75HP) was used during peak demand times. Pressure reducing valves (PRVs) were located on the discharge side of the booster pumps and at each pressure zone to regulate pressure for the middle and low zones. As a part of this project, three new double wall code compliant plate-andframe heat exchangers were installed parallel to the existing shell-and-tube heat exchangers for DHW heating. The new heat exchangers are served by the hightemperature boiler plant and were sized for lower water temperatures to take advantage of the boiler plant condensing mode in the shoulder seasons. The existing shell-and-tube heat exchangers were

left in place to offer system redundancy and allow the project to be phased without the added cost of installing additional equipment or any downtime. Additionally, a new triplex VFD booster pump system was installed in place of the existing domestic cold water pumping system. The new cold water booster pump system eliminated the need for discharge PRVs. Without the need to overcome the PRV pressure drops, electrical savings are realized by reducing the pump horsepower required. Ventilation Equipment: The building’s existing ventilation system was comprised of two constant volume MAUs as well as six constant volume kitchen exhaust fans (KEFs) and four constant volume toilet exhaust fans (TEFs). One of the MAUs is located on the mezzanine level (#2) and serves the lower level corridors while the other MAU is located in the mechanical penthouse and serves the upper level corridors. Supply temperature control for both MAUs was achieved through the use of face and bypass dampers for airside control and three-way control valves for waterside control. Additionally, based on examination of the original building drawings, the corridor MAU heating coils were selected to operate at 140°F with no

08 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S

operational benefit to providing them with 180°F water. Additionally, the original design of the ventilation system only replaced 48% of the exhausted air through the MAUs. Consequently, the building was negatively pressurized. The existing ventilation systems were found to be in generally good condition and did not warrant replacement of major equipment. As a result, the existing MAUs and exhaust fans were reused in Elara’s ventilation design. The existing constant volume MAUs and four major exhaust fans were converted to a DCV system. By exhausting air from the occupied kitchens and bathrooms only, the system can take advantage of non-occupied periods to reduce the overall energy usage in the building while minimizing infiltration. The conversion required that battery operated automated extraction units (2,500 total) be installed in each kitchen and bathroom as a replacement for the existing exhaust grilles. The extraction units have occupancy sensors that trigger a damper to open and facilitate exhaust and do not require electrical wiring. VFDs were also installed on the kitchen and bathroom fans and tied to the new DDC system for control. Additionally, VFDs were installed on the two MAUs to allow


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for variation in the volume of air supplied to the corridors. This aids in preventing the building from being over-pressurized in low exhaust periods. Controls: A new DDC system was installed to monitor, control and meter the entire mechanical infrastructure over a fiber-optic backbone. The DDC system is equipped with a web-based server and graphical front-end interface with BACnet communications. The new building automation system (BAS) features real-time monitoring, global summer/winter changeover, hot water, chilled water and condensing water reset, building-wide alarming, independent control of garage heating, energy metering and reporting and remote user access. Further, all existing pneumatic control devices were replaced with electronic devices.

Barriers to Implementation Because River Plaza is a combination of residential condominium and commercial spaces, the entire mechanical upgrade project needed to be completed with the

building occupied throughout construction. This required minimal, or no, downtime of all building services which required careful planning during the design and construction phases. The new triplex cold water booster pump package was installed without shutdown of cold water service to the building through careful phasing. The new boiler plant was implemented in the place of two of the three existing boilers, which allowed the four-pipe loop to remain in operation during the boiler implementation. The entire project was completed over a 10month period, beginning with the boiler replacement in June of 2010. Similarly, the existing spatial conditions within the building mechanical rooms limited the size and ingress of the new equipment. Both the low-temperature and high-temperature boiler plants were located in the penthouse, which presented structural and spatial constraints. The selected boilers were brought to the mechanical penthouse using the building’s elevators. Installation of the DCV system necessi-

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tated contractor entry into every individually owned condominium unit. This presented unique challenges regarding security of personal property, differences in floor plans and finishes and extensive planning and coordination with the building owners. Coordination with commercial owners further complicated the design and phasing process. Finally, a large scale retrofit project such as this can be a major financial burden to the building’s Associations. The attractive payback on the mechanical upgrade project (just over four-year simple payback) and approximately $200,000 worth of energy incentive dollars obtained through local programs identified by Elara helped make this project financially feasible.

Justification for Claim of Excellence Energy Efficiency: Highly efficient equipment selection, the division of hot water loads between high-temperature and lowtemperature plants, variable pumping, variable ventilation, variable exhaust and continued on page 22

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BuilDings & environMents

By D av i D M ac k

Benefit Corporations Attract Socially Responsible Investments Also B Corporations

The State of Illinois recently enacted legislation authorizing a relatively new form of corporate entity called a Benefit Corporation.


n enabling amendment to the Business Corporation Act of 1983 was initially introduced into the Legislature in February, 2012 as SB 2897 and becomes law on January 1, 2013, according to James Brusslan of the law firm of Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC., who didn’t see much political or corporate opposition to passage. “It helps that there are no substantial costs to the government in connection with the legislation,” said Brusslan. Benefit Corporations will be for profit entities and will receive no tax advantages in that expanded business posture.

Social or Environmental Investments Benefit Corporations add a new dimension to corporate governance. “Among other things, the purpose of Benefit Corporations is to allow a company’s governing board to consider social or environmental objectives ahead of profits,” said Brusslan, as well as giving investors favoring such considerations an opportunity to put their money to work supporting them. Benefit Corporations will, “attract those looking for socially responsible investments.”

It should be pointed out here that in addition to Benefit Corporations, which are legal corporate structures authorized by state legislation, there are also organizations known as B Corporations, which are regular enterprises that are recognized and authorized by a non-profit entity known as B Lab. “A B Corporation is not a legal entity but is a label given by the private entity B Lab to businesses that satisfy B Lab’s certification process,” explained Brusslan. It is possible for a corporation to have both designations if the state in which it is incorporated has passed enabling Benefit Corporation legislation and the corporation has passed the certification process of B Lab. B Corporations exist primarily in states that do not have a Benefit Corporation statute on the legislative books. There are B Corporations in Illinois.

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B Lab Application The B Lab application process involves filling out an impact assessment, meeting certain established requirements and passing an advisory board review, all of which leads to the certification being issued. Once approved, B Corporations are subject to random on- site reviews by B Lab staff potentially every 2 years. In general Benefit Corporations and B Corporations are identical in purpose. They have the same objectives, which are to further their social and environmental aims through a for profit business. The concept of a B Corporation goes back to October of 2006 when B Lab was founded. The first B Corp. was certified the next year by B Lab. This has led to the establishment of over 450 B Corporations throughout the Country spread over 60 industries.

More on Benefit Corporations Returning to Benefit Corporations, seven states have already enacted enabling legislation, including New York and California. The format for the Illinois bill is almost identical to that which was approved by the other jurisdictions. “It does not include anything specific to Illinois other than amending the (state’s) Business Corporation Act,” said Brusslan. An existing corporation that chooses to take on that new role, “must amend (its) articles of incorporation to contain a statement that (the) corporation is a Benefit corporation.”

Overall Mission In terms of its overall mission, “in addition to any other purpose under the Business Corporation Act, a Benefit Corporation shall have a purpose of creating general public benefit,” Brusslan explained, elaborating on what that last term means. “General public benefit is defined in the legislation as a material positive benefit on society and the environment measured against a third party standard dealing with a Benefit Corporation’s overall corporate social and environmental performance.”

Third Party Standards Requirements for third party standards are part of the draft legislation and will necessitate that the organization preparing them do so by involving a, “multi- stake holder approach, including a public comment period of no less than 30 days,” said Brusslan, adding that the standards will vary depending on the nature of a corporation’s business. “I anticipate that there may be somewhat distinct standards for differing industries as Benefit Corporations move forward.” To confirm that a Benefit Corporation is living up to its expressed intention to include social and environ-


mental considerations in its decision making, it will have to provide an annual report for the Illinois Secretary of State and other parties, including the B Lab if its certification had also been obtained.

Environmental Advocates There appeared not to be any Illinois corporations that specifically pushed for passage of SB 2897 but Brussian believes that Green Choice Bank, one of 10 B Corporations that are operating in Illinois, advocated for adoption of the law. And other organizations that have widespread roots around the Country wanted to see the bill passed here. “Most environmental and sustainable trade groups supported the legislation, including the American Sustainable Business Council, Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance and the Illinois Environmental Council,” said Brusslan.

Not Universally Favored The idea of a Benefit Corporation is not universally favored. Brusslan cited statements of Charles Elson, a teacher of corporate governance at the University of Delaware, who said, “for an investor this is a terrible idea. The structure creates a lack of accountability (so) there’s little you can do as a shareholder,” if corporate management makes a bad decision in the realm of the social or environmental aspects of its overall mission. But investor dissent should not be a problem here. “It is unlikely that those corporations in Illinois that choose to be Benefit Corporations will encounter opposition from their shareholders,” who, “likely invested in these corporations, in part, because they have social and environmental concerns,” said Brusslan. And if some do object to such a mission modification, they will have a chance to express their opposition as the legislation requires that any amendment to the articles of incorporation to convert to a Benefit Corporation be approved by at least two thirds of each class of shareholder as well as two thirds of those entities entitled to receive a distribution. “As such, a vast majority of shareholders must agree to change the status to a Benefit Corporation.”

Older Established Companies Less Likely to Change Status One factor working against an existing corporation opting to change its character, Brusslan thinks, is that officers and directors of some that would consider such a restructuring might not fully comprehend the scope of their responsibility to consider the full impact a decision on those possibly affected such as, “potential suppliers, employees and the community and environment at large. They might, therefore, be reluctant to make the change.” This is especially true of corpo-

rations that have operated for a long period in a conventional corporate way before contemplating the transition to a somewhat different status. For this reason, “it’s unlikely that we’ll see older, more established corporations take the step of changing their legal structure to a Benefit Corporation,” said Brusslan. “Instead, if anything, they will simply add specific goals into their articles of incorporation under existing corporate codes, making a Benefit Corporation designation unnecessary.” To the extent that this is done at least some expanded consideration of social and environmental impact in corporate decision making will be achieved.

Green Choice Bank Example As previously noted, the Green Choice Bank, as a B Corporation, is on the cutting edge of this new approach to conducting business. Its expressed mission of sustainability affects every part of its operation from the selection of locations to its method of designing its policies and how it rewards customers for their green initiatives through the products and services it offers. At its website it proclaims, “we became a B Corporation to show our support for the values (the concept) represents, including transparency and supporting environmental and social performance standards.” Its goal is to encourage other businesses to set similar objectives.

Patagonia Example An example of a Benefit Corporation is Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company, which moved forward by altering its corporate charter under the new California law in March of 2012 and now stresses sustainable and renewable production methods under its new structure. Brusslan is not aware of any shareholder challenges yet to Benefit Corporations in which they hold an interest but they, “are in their infancy.” What the future holds is problematic at this time. However, “the legal structure is intended to shield the board from investor lawsuits,” he said. Levenfeld Pearlstein intends to be in the forefront of advocating for Benefit Corporations where its clients express an interest. Levenfeld Pearlstein intends to encourage its green conscious clients to consider the (Benefit) Corporation option where appropriate” said the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Howard Dakoff. Brusslan reported recently that Governor Quinn signed the legislation regarding benefit corporations and it will go into effect on January 1, 2013. See $



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BuilDings & environMents


Through a $6,075 grant from American Water, the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, The Morton Arboretum kicked off an innovative Du Page River wetlands restoration project on Thursday, July 21 at Crowley Marsh, the site of a sustainability project. The goal of the project helped engage and educate volunteers for the Arboretum’s Woodland Stewardship Training Program by helping with the removal of a quarter mile of clay tiles blocking natural drainage for the Crowley Marsh wetlands. It also was designed to help educate the public about this significant sustainable initiative on the Arboretum’s east side, according to Kurt Dreisilker, Manager of Natural Resources for The Morton Arboretum. “Today, few natural areas across Illinois and the Great Lakes Region realize their potential ecological value, diversity, and long-term sustainability,” said Dreisilker, who presented an overview of the project to volunteers and others. “This project helps us demonstrate how improving natural areas increases biodiversity, or the variety of organisms in a given region, and contributes to the health of the environment.” Community involvement plays a paramount role in the project, Dreisilker said. “Increasing the number of trained stewards to carry out and even supervise restoration activities will greatly improve the ability to conserve

» industry happeninings

and protect natural areas,” he said. “The Crowley Marsh project will improve ground water supplies for the Arboretum’s wetlands and ultimately the environment. We’re teaching adults and children about importance of wetlands and other natural areas.” Stakeholders in the project include the American Water Environmental Grant, and Huddleston McBride Drainage Co., of St. Charles, IL, which is providing contracting services to remove the drainage tiles. The Morton Arboretum grant is one of six totaling $25,766 awarded to organizations throughout the country. Established in 2005, American Water’s Environmental Grant Program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or

protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the communities. “The Environmental Grant Program helps local organizations carry out initiatives that not only benefit our watersheds, but increase awareness and community participation.” said Karla Olson Teasley, president of Illinois American Water. “The work completed through this grant will help restore the Morton Arboretum Wetland while engaging and educating the public about this important resource.” Tom Chinske of Illinois American Water added: “Working with local communities on projects like this educates the public and helps ensure quality water service today and for the future.”

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Chicago, IL 60610-7324

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12 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S


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inDustry happenings

Mutual of Omaha Bank Presents National Pillar Award to Chicago Banker Mutual of Omaha Bank has awarded Tom Engblom with the company’s prestigious Pillar Award – an honor given annually to the bank’s top 10 performers nationwide. Based in Chicago, Engblom is a regional account executive for Mutual of Omaha Bank’s Community Association Banking group who demonstrated outstanding performance in 2011. He serves seven states in the northern Midwest region and consistently placed among the top performers in five categories throughout the entire bank organization. Engblom was one of 10 individuals honored out of nearly 1,000 bank employees nationwide. Pillar Award recipients undergo a vigorous nomination process that evaluates performance, leadership and a demonstrated commitment to Mutual of Omaha Bank’s purpose and core values. Performance is measured by production goals, demonstrated exceptional service and con-

banker,” said Jeff Schmid, chairman and CEO of Mutual of Omaha Bank. “This is a prestigious and competitive award that recognizes top talent across our organization. Recipients like Tom have demonstrated exceptional leadership and performance on a consistent basis and we are fortunate to have him at Mutual of Omaha Bank.” Mutual of Omaha Bank is a full-service bank providing financial solutions to individuals and businesses across the United States. With expert banking talent and nearly $6 billion in assets, Mutual of Omaha Bank is one of the highest-performing banks in the nation.

tribution to a positive work environment, among other criteria. “We couldn’t be more pleased to present the Pillar Award to Tom for his work as a leader and

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Buildings Environments THE

Volume 8, No. 1, Autumn 2012

Landscape La Lan ndscap scapee BBuyer uyer uy er Volume 19, No. 1, Autumn 2012


reen Buildings and related trends continue to grow in popularity. Environmental issues & concerns are receiving increased attention in the mass media as well. However, spending on green projects is under scrutiny as much or more than spending on all types of major projects in this difficult economic climate. In turn, many green businesses are struggling with economic challenges just as many other types of companies are. What this has done is given greater importance to whether or not specific green initiatives pass the “money” test or answer favorably “does this make good financial sense?” Notwithstanding financial obstacles, many green projects and trends continue to develop and we certainly hope that economic conditions will continue to improve for everyone. Our cover story for this issue of CBE features the recently completed addition to the corporate headquarters building of Walsh Construction. Walsh’s office project not only earned the Platinum LEED rating but it achieved the highest LEED score to date in Illinois. The Walsh Group ranks as one of the largest green contractors in the United States. The architect retained by Walsh for the project is Solomon Cordwell Buenz and SBC has more than 50 green projects underway across the U.S. Our second story features River Plaza Condominiums which faced very high and increasing utility costs and undertook a major mechanical system upgrade to address this concern. After completion of a major mechanical system upgrade, the building achieved a very desirable reduction of 35 percent in their utility costs. The Association’s energy conservation efforts are on track with a projected (simple) payback of four years on the funds invested. As a thriving residential building, all these capital improvements had to be completed without any downtime to the utilities for the condo residents. Another special feature is this edition outlines recently enacted Illinois legislation dealing with Benefit Corporations and B Corporations. The main thrust of the Benefit Corporations is to attract those who are interested in socially responsible investments. We also offer two feature articles on how green initiatives are manifesting at and through several leading landscape companies. Jim Fizzell’s regular column on the weather and your landscape provides some helpful tips on preparing your outdoor landscape for the winter and insight on how the past season’s record heat and drought conditions may have affected your plants and landscape. Our regular Industry Happenings column along with highlights from a variety of special events and awards programs can also be found in this issue. We look forward to exploring other green building trends in coming issues of CBE. If you have a green story to share, or if your property has a special need or challenge, mcd media produces special events that feature a variety of resources and experts specializing in current issues. Many members of our CBE advisory board will attend these events. There are also key resources from our sister publication –Condo Lifestyles available at our special events. MCD special events provide a terrific forum to get questions answered, meet new vendors, share a story idea and learn about current trends. Please consider attending our upcoming State of the Industry program on December 13th at the Chicago Cultural Center. One of the topics we will discuss is Environmental Issues for Buildings and other Green Trends. You can find more information on this program on page 21 and also on our website. If for some reason you are unable to attend, we wish you a very happy holiday season. Thanks to the many new subscribers that have found our publications useful and informative. Special thanks to the firms, associations and groups that are Authorized Distributors of Chicagoland Buildings and Environments, the Landscape Buyer and Condo Lifestyles. Those of you who are interested in becoming subscribers can obtain subscription information at As we continue to grow green, we encourage you to make your environment and your community as green as it can be. $ Michael C. Davids Editor and Publisher

» editor’s message

Editor & Publisher Michael C. Davids Vice President Sherri Iandolo Art Director Rick Dykhuis Contributing Writers James A. Fizzell, Cathy Walker, David Mack Circulation & Administration Carol Iandolo, Mary Knoll, Arlene Wold The Landscape Buyer and Chicagoland Building & Environments is published Winter/Spring and Summer/Autumn by MCD Media, as informational and educational tools for the buyers, users and providers of green industry products and services. For editorial, advertising and subscription information contact: 935 Curtiss, Suite 5, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 630-9325551 or 630-663-0333. Fax: 630-663-0339 or 630-932-5553. CIRCULATION:The Landscape Buyer and Chicagoland Building & Environments maintains a circulation of 7,000. Subscriptions are available for $19.95 per year. Group subscriptions are available at $13.95 each, per year (orders of 5 or more). Single issues are available for $10.95. All material herein is copyrighted. No part of this publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is issued with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

14 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S


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Professional Services Directory

BUILDING RESTORATIONS Quality Restorations (630) 595-0990



Frost, Ruttenberg & Rothblatt, P.C. 847-282-6340

Maul Asphalt & Seal Coating 630-420-8765

Riggio/Boron Ltd.


Sealcoating / Crack-Sealing / Striping Asphalt Installation

A Total Exterior Facade Restoration Company




Coder Taylor Associates 847-382-4100

Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit (847) 537-0500

Hard Surface Solutions 815-344-8400 / 630-674-4520

Architects • Research • Engineering Specifications • Reserve Studies

Concrete Flatwork Specialists / Asphalt Paving Curbs & Driveways / Sidewalks Footings &Foundations / Colored & Stamped Concrete Aggregate Finish Concrete Contact Mark Neville

Full Circle Architects, LLC (847) 564-0884 (847) 564-3880 fax Daniel Baigelman, AIA Capital Improvements • Reserve Studies • Engineering Reports 85Revere Drive, Suite B, Northbrook, IL 60062

SWH Architects, Ltd. 630-466-8021 Contact - Steve Hansen

Advising and Consulting with Business Owners, Community Association Law & Collection Services, Construction Defects, Real Estate Assessed Valuation Reduction, Litigation, Commercial Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Real Estate, Business ,Estate Planning

contact: Rob Sternberg

Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC 312-476-7556 Howard Dakoff /

BANKING Community Advantage A W I N T R U S T C O M PA N Y

847-304-5940 Loans, Reserve Investments & Lock Box Services


FM&J Asphalt Paving, Inc. 708-544-6700 / 630-279-0303

GreenChoice Bank 708-656-0100 x128

Concrete & Asphalt Paving / Pavers & Color Stamping Drainage Systems & Sewer Repairs Sealcoating, Crack Filling & Striping

Hard Surface Solutions 815-344-8400 / 630-674-4520 Contact Mark Neville

Mutual of Omaha Bank Community Association Banking 312-209-2623 HOA Banking - Internet Cash Management HOA Loans - Online Payment Systems Dedicated Customer Service www.mutualof


CONSTRUCTION MANAGERS R.C. Wegman Construction Company (630) 844 - 3000 New development • Tenant Improvements Upgrading facilities • Expansions Applying LEED Principles "Building on Over 50 Years of Trust" Contact: Mark Baum /

DOORS Woodland Windows & Doors 630-529-Door (3667) Window and Related Masonry Interior & Exterior Doors | Siding & Gutters


State-of-the-Indust ry

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For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006 AUTUMN 2012



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DUCT CLEANING Brouwer Brothers Steamatic All types of Environmental Cleaning.

800 CLEAN54 (253-2654) 708-396-1447 (24-hour service line)



The Restoration Group, LLC 630-580-5584

Balanced Environments 847-395-7120 630-916-8005

ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION McGinty Brothers Professional Lawn & Tree Care 847-438-5161

Super Steam, Inc. 847-568-1440

(630) 544-6829 FAX


Creating Lifestyles from the Outside In...™



ConTech MSI Co. 847-483-3803 Fire Detection & Signaling Systems Fire Alarm Systems Chicago Life Safety Evaluation Solutions Security Systems/CCTV Card Access Systems See our ad on page 9

C 2 International 877-265-2799 Contact: Hans Herrmann

Select Energy Partners LLC (312) 593-6412

Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) 866-2NIFSAB (866-264-3722) 708-403-4468


Team Fire Protection

All types of Environmental Cleaning. Air & Exhaust Duct Cleaning • Mold Remediation Garbage Chute Cleaning • Carpet & Drapery Cleaning Photo Inventory, Moving, Storage or Removal

800 CLEAN54 (253-2654) 708-396-1447 (24-hour service line)

Althoff Industries 312.332.5700 Mechanical - Plumbing - Electrical - Building Automation

Team Mechanical A N E M CO R CO M PA NY

(847) 537-1616


Contact: Ryan Anthony

Brouwer Bros. Steamatic

Kinsella Landscape, LLC 708-371-0830

Call Ed or Sam for a Free Quote

ELEVATORS/CONSULTANTS Smart Elevators Co. (630) 544-6800

Brouwer Bros. Steamatic (800) CLEAN54



Hollinger Services, Inc. 847-437-2184


Mesirow Financial 312-595-8135 Nancy Ayers

E.L. Johnson Investigations, Inc. (312) 583-1167

QCI Restoration 847-891-2929 866-832-6724

State Licensed Private Detectives All Types of Investigations Specialization in Foreclosure Process Service and Eviction Notices on Foreclosed Property

(312) 583-1169 FAX

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006 16 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S


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Kingsbury Clean (847) 768-1200

Spring Green Professional Lawn & Tree Care 800-830-5914

DuBois Paving 847-634-6089 / 800-884-4728

“GREEN” Janitorial & Sanitizing Services for hospitality businesses, health care providers and commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings. David Melone

MOLD REMEDIATION Brouwer Brothers Steamatic All types of Environmental Cleaning.

LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS Alan Horticultural Services, Inc. 630-739-0205

800 CLEAN54 (253-2654) 708-396-1447 (24-hour service line) QCI Restoration 847-891-2929 866-832-6724

FM&J Asphalt Paving, Inc. 708-544-6700 / 630-279-0303 Concrete & Asphalt Paving / Pavers & Color Stamping Drainage Systems & Sewer Repairs Sealcoating, Crack Filling & Striping

Maul Asphalt & Seal Coating 630-420-8765

Sealcoating / Crack-Sealing / Striping Asphalt Installation



ILT Vignocchi 847-487-5200

Smithereen Pest Management Services 847-647-0010

Balanced Environments 847-395-7120 630-916-8005

Smithereen Pest Management Services 800-336-3500

Kinsella Landscape, LLC 708-371-0830



Creating Lifestyles from the Outside In...™

The Alter Group 630-620-3600

Alter Asset Management 630-620-3600


Baum Property Services, LTD. 630-897-0500

Landscape Concepts Management 847-223-3800

Sebert Landscaping, Inc. 630-497-1000

AAA Painting Contractors, Inc. 630-231-8350

Zenith Landscaping Group 847-360-1010 Contact: Wesley Peete

Caruso Management Group, Inc. Residential & Commercial

CertaPro Painters 630-742-5119 Interior & Exterior Painting • Wallcoverings Stucco, Masonry & EFIS Repair • Drywall Repair


Heil, Heil, Smart & Golee Real Estate Since 1885

847-866-7400 / 773-273-3434

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006 AUTUMN 2012



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McGill Management, Inc., AAMC 847-259-1331

S&D Roofing Service (630) 279-6600

Solar Service, Inc. 847-677-0950

100,000 roofs installed TEAR OFFS • SHINGLES • FLAT ROOFS Our experience & technical know-how gets the job done right the first time! Serving the area since 1963 |

Tairre Management (847) 299-5740

TRADE GROUPS / NON-PROFIT ACTHA Association of Townhome and Condominium Associations

312-987-1906 Legum & Norman, Mid-West (312) 944-2611


J.J. Superior Sheet Metal, Inc. (708) 544-3757


Vanguard Community Management 847-490-3833

Architectural Sheet Metal Specialists Coping, Counter Flashing & Specialty Copper Work Gutters & Custom Roofing Accessories

Wolin-Levin, Inc. 312-335-1950 Contact:Tom Skweres // or Jennifer Feldman //

ROOFING B.T. Lakeside Roofing 630-628-0093

SIDING / RENOVATIONS B.T. Lakeside Roofing 630-628-0093

Woodland Windows & Doors 630-529-Door (3667)

We’re Here When You Need Us!

CSR Roofing Contractors 708-848-9119 Industrial/Commercial/Multi Tenant/High Rise All types of Roofing Leak Trouble Shooting/Roof Repairs Roof Check 365 Maintenance Programs Conventional and Single Ply Roofing

a comprehensive aboricultural firm building relationships in every season

847-729-1963 for more information, please visit our website:

Kramer Tree Specialists, Inc. 630-293-5444 Tree Pruning, Tree Removal, Cable Bracing, Plant Health Care, Tree Planting & Transplanting



Lakeshore Waste Services 773-685-8811

Hard Surface Solutions 815-344-8400 / 630-674-4520


ProTop Roofing 847-559-9119

Autumn Tree Care Experts

Contact Mark Neville

Zenith Landscaping Group 847-360-1010 Contact: Wesley Peete

Harris Exteriors & More, Inc. (630) 372-7050 Serving Community Associations throughout Chicagoland Quality Service at the Right Price Roofing • Siding • Windows • Doors • Soffit Facia • Gutters • Repairs • Carpentry • Maintenance

Woodland Windows & Doors 630-529-Door (3667)

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006 18 C H I C A G O L A N D B U I L D I N G S & E N V I R O N M E N T S


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AU T U M N 2 0 1 2

By JaMes a. fizzell

The Weather & Your Landscape...

Records Broken Have Serious Impact

Terrible Drought, Heat to Have Long-Term Effects What a summer! After the mild winter and early spring, most of us were encouraged. There was little concern as to how strange the winter actually was.


nowfall had been conspicuously absent to the glee of us who had to contend with it, but to the consternation of those who push snow or play in it. As the weather warmed and soils dried, early outdoor work proceeded at an unusual pace. The record warm days in late winter were most enjoyable, and scant thought was given to what that might mean as the season developed. Most people were just glad to get an early start and anticipated a great season. As the season developed, it began to dawn on a few observers that something might be amiss. It soon became obvious, and with some foreboding, that the typical spring rains were not materializing. The dry weather was continuing. And without snow melt and with no spring rains, soils were becoming parched. Subsoils had not been recharged.

Then Came the Heat Next came the heat! Eighty-degree weather arrived the beginning of May, and by the middle of the month it was hitting the 90’s. June was hot, and dry. Less than an inch of rain accumulated in our rain gauge during the month. July was brutal. Temperatures hit triple digits on several days and highs stayed in the 90’s all month. Scattered, pop-up showers provided only slight relief for those fortunate enough to be under one of them.


Accumulating Effect of Weather Memories tend to be short. Most of us did not recognize the accumulating effect on plantings from the record-breaking summer and the weather the previous twelve months. Summer of 2011 also was hot with temperatures regularly in the 90’s, and with scant moisture. Scattered rains fell late that summer. Plants hardened-off by the heat and drought, broke dormancy resuming growth. Spring-flowering types bloomed. Fall and winter 2011 were warm and dry. Less than two inches of snow fell by the end of the year. Temperatures were twenty degrees above average. No one suspected the warm, dry weather to be a sign of things to come. Daily highs of fifty-plus degrees persisted into mid-January. Then temperatures plunged to the low teens, followed by half a foot of snow, and another 6 to 8 inches a week later. Plants that had broken dormancy were at risk of cold-injury. Weather forecasters who had predicted the cold and snow were pleased though their predictions were rather late coming to fruition. Contractors who push snow were overjoyed. With weather experts still predicting the season would turn snowier and colder, temperatures warmed and thunder storms melted the snow. That was to be about it for the winter. Temperatures were hitting the 80’s before the season ended.

Two parched summers and a “nonwinter”, winter! There have been other such years, about every decade or so. Some of us remember the 1930’s and the dust bowl years; the steamy 1940’s during WWII; torrid 1955; and more recently 1988 and 1995. Many records broken this summer were set in those years, especially in the ‘30’s and in 1955. So it is nothing new. However, this time there were some differences. Without the previous hot and dry months, the summer of 2012 may not have been so devastating. While corn did dry up in the fields in 1988, and during the dust bowl years, most of the years of record-breaking heat began with recharged soils. Summer 2012 started with virtually no sub-soil moisture. Excavations during the season exposed parched soils as much as five feet deep. The first indication as to the seriousness of the situation began as trees failed to leaf out normally in spring, 2012. While the lower portions of the trees did develop, higher in the plants leaves were progressively smaller and farther apart. As the heat and drought progressed, other problems began to arise. Lawns that had been growing well, slowed down. Some stopped growing entirely and mowing was hardly needed for lawns that were not irrigated. Annuals and perennials began to wilt in the afternoons, even with irrigation. Annuals in some irrigated beds began to drop off, rotting at the soil line. Leaves on daylilies and hostas dried up. Other plants failed to bloom. Shrubs and some trees began to wilt, especially plantings not irrigated. Leaf drop and dieback began. Some plantings looked as if fall had arrived early. Dead branches showed up in trees and shrubs, many with dry leaves still clinging on. And, completely dead trees and shrubs



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the lanDscape Buyer

appeared. Nearly all were the result of the terrific heat and insufficient soil moisture.

Strategies Varied With adequate water, plants can cool themselves. Wilted plants begin to heat up and at internal temperatures of 88 degrees, tissues begin to die. Where watering was possible, water meters began to spin! Strategies for coping with the situation varied. Some managers opted to keep plantings green and growing. Others decided to let nature take its course. Some planned to do only what was necessary to preserve plants from dying. The varying strategies seemed to be determined by the cost of applying water, and were obvious to passers-by. Curiously, unless treated with grubproofing materials, turfgrass irrigated to keep it green has been vigorously attacked by grubs.

Automatic Irrigation Systems Tested

or installed, they failed to adequately water the plantings. Where poorly maintained, failures were common. Where poorly operated, difficulties developed. Most irrigation systems are well designed, but keeping them working is the responsibility of the owner and property management (or on-site personnel). Someone needs to regularly watch irrigation systems run to make sure all nozzles function properly. Running the systems appropriately is equally important. The consequences of systems that were not doing the job resulted in a lot of calls to look at the dead and dying plants. And, we saw lots of them! Improperly adjusted systems can miss spots, or they can flood areas drowning roots. We saw both. Or, the systems can run for too short a time too often. Crabgrass breaking though lawns can be due to moistening the soil but not really watering the grass. An inch of water, applied at one time every week or so, is the correct amount. Set a rain gauge under the sprinkler to measure if needed. The problems with annual beds often are due the top inch of soil being wet-

Irrigation systems were not the complete answer. Under such stressful conditions, the shortcomings of systems soon became apparent. poorly S&D Roofing NEW Where CAI AD_CAI ADdesigned (s&D roof) 4 X 2.5 3/2/10 5:41 PM Page 1

ted but the roots still dry. Fungus diseases then attack the stems at the soil line. Trees need a full two inches of water every week or ten days, taking hours to wet the soil to a depth of a foot or more.

Experience Counts Sites with skilled, experienced landscape maintenance contractors escaped much of the trouble. These experts have seen the conditions before and know what to do as they develop. Winter care included watering where necessary, protection from salting, and from winter wind and sun. When the drought intensified and the heat arrived, irrigation systems were programmed to compensate. Later, water management and pest control became important. Even with water, some plants simply could not stand the heat. Shade-preferring plants in full sun, plants in compacted soils, plants trying to grow in stratified, layered soils, or on other difficult sites simply gave up. Insect problems, sod webworms, spider mites, and Japanese beetles added additional insult to struggling plants.


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Insects and Fungi The heat and drought stress also make plants susceptible to other insects and fungi that normally don’t attack them. Cytospora of spruces, other cankers, some vascular diseases, and especially borers and scales are opportunistic kinds, attacking weakened plants. Decline and ultimately death are often the result of such weather-related injury.

Trouble to Continue Many of these troubles will continue to appear for several years after the initial damage takes place. Often when they show up, the thing that actually caused them is long forgotten. To help overcome these problems, make sure the plants you select are suited for the site, and for this climatic zone. Native, Northern Illinois plants can be expected to perform because they have adapted to our strange climate.

Early Weather Outlook

snowy later-fall and early-winter. Expect the first frost/freeze about October 1, he says. The weak El Nino and positive North Atlantic Oscillation means a “digging in” of the jet stream bringing cold into the heartland as blocking, warm high develops in the North Atlantic. Expect temperatures to trend back to seasonal or slightly above after mid-Winter. Soulje continues, there needs to be an inch or so of rain each week through midOctober to improve soil moisture. Indications are for more frequent moisture in October and November... drought improvement, yes, but drought-ending, probably not. From this vantage point, he says, drought in some form or fashion should be expected into at least early spring. Precipitation next spring will be critical. The National Weather Service agrees that the drought will continue for the foreseeable future, with precipitation below normal for the winter months. NWS suggests however, that temperatures will moderate to warmer than the longterm averages for the season.

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7312 N. Milwaukee, Niles, Illinois 60714 Generally, plants can stand one adverse season. We have experienced two in 847-677-0950 Be Prepared for Early Frost a row already, and there may be more in With these possibilities in mind, keep store. To get an early forecast for the seainformed about the problems the weather sons to come, we contacted our long® is causing in your plantings. Be prepared range weather prognosticator, Greg Soulje* for an early frost. Make sure plantings do for his take: not go into the winter without adequate He explains, this summer’s drought soil moisture. Have them watered well this was the result of the rapid demise of La fall, and plan to water during mild spells Nina, and quick development of a weak El this winter. Also, arrange to protect plantNino, plus some tele-connection with the ings from winter sun and wind. Install ongoing drought in the Great Plains. As guards to protect from winter salt damage, the semi-permanent summer ridge and also for mouse and rabbit protection. strengthened northeastward, it forced the While you are at it, plant some mums jet stream and the weather systems far to and pansies to replace spent annuals, and the North. The result was the building of consider putting up the Holiday decorathe heat and the lack of precipitation. Chicago Cultural Center tions before the weather deteriorates. The jury is still out as to whether this is a decadal (slosh-back of warmer currents Journals Help DECEMBER 13, 2012 in the Pacific) or the start of a multi-year, History does repeat itself. It might be strengthening El Nino, says Soulje. prudent to start a journal to record the Presently, this very weak El Nino is Created with novaPDF Printer ( events of 2012 and how they affected the not really driving the atmosphere. In replants on your site. It could be very useful cent years, there’s been more attention the next time a summer like 2012 comes paid to the North Atlantic and Arctic Osalong. cillations when the El Nino/LaNina anomYour landscape professionals are well alies are weak. This fall and winter may be aware of the challenges the weather poses. no exception. El Nino winters can be quite CO-SPONSORED BY COMCAST Try to meet with them regularly to devariable because of the influence of these velop a plan for the continuing care of other phenomena. your plantings. Then, whether the winter Soulje indicates his gut feeling is for turns out to be wet or dry, hot or cold, you an early and pronounced start of the cold should be ready for any eventuality. $ weather followed by an active wet, then








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River Plaza Goes Green a new BAS all contributed to a highly efficient retrofit of mechanical systems. Additional energy savings were realized in the application of a central control valve for the garage heating loop to limit the amount of heat for the garage. Indoor Air Quality: Increased ventilation effectiveness provided by the new DCV system improved indoor air quality greatly by specifically addressing occupied kitchens and bathrooms resulting in reduced odor complaints. Additionally, the controlled proportion of makeup air to exhaust reduced the building negative pressure and decreased infiltration thereby protecting the building faรงade, reducing draft and increasing the proportion of filtered makeup air. The BAS also provided enhanced control of outdoor air and improved thermal comfort. Innovation: The design for the hybrid boiler plant allowed for maximum efficiency by separating the hot water loads. In addition, by connecting the two boiler plants, they were able to provide redundancy without increasing the capacity or quantity of boilers installed. Application of a VFD on the dual temperature pump, which is not designed to be variable, takes advantage of the oversized two-pipe coils and reduced pumping power. Using battery-operated extraction units to implement DCV results in simpler installation without destructive electrical work in each condominium. Innovation was also achieved through the use of state-of-the art sequences of control, such as condensing water reset, independent changeover of heating plants, independent hot water reset controls and building temperature set-backs. The project planning and phasing allowed the project to be successfully completed in the allotted timeframe and with minimal shutdown of systems. General examples of this include efficient equipment selection for ease of ingress, coordination of asbestos abatement and demolition, as well as detailed timing for changeover of new controls and systems. More specifically, an overnight shutdown was performed during a scheduled period to install several isolation valves, and replace valves that were known to have

failed. This subsequently High-Temp Boiler Plant allowed the remainder of Exhaust and Air Intake the project to be impleTerminations mented without any downtime. Operation & Maintenance: The installation of new equipment with more sophisticated control programs and proper service clearances improves overall operation, maintenance and reliability. Reducing the negative pressure of the building reduces future risk to the building faรงade. The installation of freeze protection at the air handling units also contributes to the long term life of the coils. Additionally, the separation of the boiler plants and the application of several metering devices allow the building to accurately meter, separate and charge the shared natural gas utility bill among the residenequipment for the high-temperature boiler tial association, commercial association plant. As a result, condensing boilers were and garage association through an autochosen for the high-temperature boilers mated tracking and reporting system. The and were able to take advantage of connew BAS is likely the greatest contributor densing conditions during the shoulder to improved operations and maintenance seasons to increase overall energy savings. due to the front-end monitoring, Additionally, the method used to connect changeover and alarming. Through the the high-temperature and low-temperaimplementation of the new DDC system, ture boilers plants allowed two less boilers existing broken equipment was able to be to be purchased (approximately $100,000 identified and repaired or replaced as part in avoided cost). Placement of both new of this project. Improvements to the existboiler plants in the penthouse allowed for ing DHW system also brought the existing the reuse of existing roof penetrations for systems into compliance with City of venting and combustion air which Chicago Code, provided redundancy, imavoided associated structural engineering proved temperature control and improved and installation costs. In addition to the operational safety for end users. boiler plant approach, similar savings were Cost Effectiveness: For selection of the recognized for the DHW heat exchangers boiler manufacturer, a request for proposal by leaving the original shell-and-tube heat (RFP) was issued to multiple equipment exchangers in place. Finally, approximanufacturers and provided options for mately $200,000 in incentive funding was the use of condensing and non-condensprocured through the energy savings ing boilers for the low and high-temperademonstrated by the functioning systems. ture boiler plants at competitive prices. Environmental Impact: The selection of The result of the boiler RFP showed that it high efficiency condensing boilers with was more cost effective to utilize the same low NOx burners reduced the amount of condensing boilers for both the high-temharmful emissions ejected to the environperature and low-temperature boiler ment. Gas and electricity savings are also a plants than to utilize non-condensing

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result of the mechanical upgrade project thereby reducing overall carbon emissions (over 2,000 metric tons of CO2). Asbestos was also safely removed from the building as part of this project.

Energy Savings Results The most dramatic result of this project is its energy savings. In the first nine months of operation, River Plaza has avoided over $326,000 in energy charges and is on pace to achieve over $450,000 in savings in the first full year; a reduction of over 35% with a new ECI of $0.84/sq.ft. Savings were calculated based on actual utility bills and charges and have been adjusted for variations in weather. When examining the utility cost savings, compared to the net implementation cost of approximately $1,900,000 (accounting for incentive money), the resulting payback is just over 4 years. Perhaps more valuable results than utility cost savings are the avoided costs such as future equipment repair, increasing maintenance burdens and further damage to the mechanical infrastructure. Although these costs cannot be immediately measured, they are undeniable savings. Finally, this project had many immeasurable ancillary benefits such as reduced noise, improved occupant comfort, reduced maintenance, improved indoor air quality, and reduced carbon emissions. In summation, the Association addressed several critical needs while achieving substantial energy savings, improved indoor air quality, reliability and reduced maintenance and did so with an attractive payback. $




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Photo Credit: Landscape Concepts Management

By M i c h a e l c . D av i D s

Landscape Companies Growing Greener Landscape companies have been thinking green for many years. In fact, in the 1980’s some landscape and lawncare company leaders used to call their industry the “Green Industry.”

Of course, the term “green” was used loosely (and

Landscapes By Example

some say it still is) and referred more to the lawns and plants that they were charged with keeping “green.” A number of landscape related companies have even worked words like environmental or green into their corporate names. We reached out to some leading landscape companies to get their perspective on how much more environmental issues are woven into their client projects and their own company operations. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in clients requesting sustainable landscapes over the years,” says Ron Gorz of Kinsella Landscape, LLC. Glenn Broadfield of Landscape Concepts Management sees corporate/office type clients as most likely to utilize sustainable landscape practices. He adds “requests for green roof projects have been growing more each season.” Landscape buyers have become even more environmentally sensitive than they were in the past. Gorz continues, “many projects now have different sustainable features, such as using drought tolerant plantings. Some projects even utilize different water collection systems to supply water for their irrigation systems. Native prairie type installations are also becoming more popular, for certain applications.” Broadfield has seen a variety of types of green projects that manifest themselves in the landscape. “Some clients now install rain sensors with irrigation systems as a way to conserve water and protect the landscape from over watering during rain periods.” The use of natural products like mulch rather than stone is another landscape element that has been affected. Mulch is better for the plants and soil. Reduction in mowing on corporate campuses by defining “native prairies” is one other way clients are working toward more sustainability. “The use of native Illinois plant species is gaining popularity as these plants will withstand the ever changing weather patterns in the Midwest better than the hybridized plant material that is typically less hardy,” Broadfield concludes.

Some clients that Kinsella has done work for recently that have emphasized sustainable landscaping include Mother McAuley High School – West P Lot Expansion (native plantings), Kinzie Station (rain water collection system to supply the irrigation system) and Enola Dew Apartments (permeable pavers). As far as the type of properties that are requesting sustainable features in their landscapes, Gorz says “it’s really across the board; schools, government buildings, office properties, and especially multi-family dwellings. Broadfield concurs with Gorz on the various types of properties requesting sustainable landscapes, and “I’d add Big Box Retail Stores/Malls as well.”

Green Roofs Trending Up Chicago is one of the leading cities in America in terms of creating green roofs. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in green roof projects in the past five years. Not only on projects where they are required within the City of Chicago, but also at some properties where green roofs are not required. It seems as though green roofs are also getting to be more user friendly, adds Gorz. So green roofs are not just part of meeting city regulations, they usually become useful, attractive areas.” Among the clients that Kinsella has done green roof projects for are Ronald McDonald House Chicago, 600 North Lake Shore Drive, and The Streeter-355 Ohio. The latter two projects were multi family residential buildings which Gorz says “are particularly interested in creating useful spaces for entertaining and recreational use by their residents.” Broadfield agrees that high rise and mid rise multifamily buildings are particularly active in terms of green roof projects. According to Broadfield, Landscape Concepts Management has recently been involved with green roof projects at 900 North Michigan Avenue, Terrazio Apartments, The EnV and The Green Exchange in Chicago. Two of those listed are multifamily buildings (and one is part multifamily) which seemingly confirms this trend.

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▲ Shown above is Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ in bloom at the rooftop garden of 900 North Michigan Avenue.

More on Sustainable Landscapes “A landscape developed with sustainable practices improves the environment by conserving resources and reducing chemical applications,” says horticulture expert Cathy Walker. “A sustainable landscape also ultimately reduces labor inputs making it less expensive to implement and maintain.” A sustainable approach to landscaping looks “long term.” At its highest level, a sustainable landscape should meet today’s needs with the ability to sustain itself for a very long time with minimal human intervention. Many traditional landscapes have very low diversity and little or no habitat for wildlife. “Preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems are also goals of sustainable landscapes, Walker adds. “In a sustainable landscape, you should increase diversity of plant material and create habitats for song birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.”

All Landscapes Can Be Sustainable A sustainable landscape does not always have to be an expansive property, a prairie or wetland. Traditional landscape design can typically be made more efficient. “The best strategy would be to make high maintenance areas smaller and less dependent on turf-grass,” continues Walker. For example, developing functional outdoor areas like a courtyard or patio is an excellent way to reduce maintenance levels. Mowed areas can then be converted to low maintenance prairies or shade gardens. “People get more enjoyment out of smaller spaces that are well designed.” Every square foot counts. “Creating rooftop or balcony gardens, a 100 square foot rain garden or a 1,000 square foot perennial garden using native plants and other hardy, drought tolerant plants can all lead to a more sustainable landscape,” Walker says. Smaller projects can have a lot of impact. Improving a small neglected space is a great way to start. The components of a sustainable landscape


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Photo Credit: Kinsella Landscape, LLC

are often very simple. For example, a berm built to screen a roadway will shed rainfall. Also, selecting plants adapted to drought would be a sensible way to reduce irrigation (and water consumption). Incorporating native plants that have very deep root systems will penetrate compacted soil and improve percolation and reduce runoff. Sustainable landscapes can include lawn areas. Walker offers, “Sustainability as it relates to lawns can be defined as a lawn area that requires few material inputs while having a positive impact on the environment.” According to the Lawn Institute, Rolling Meadows, IL it is estimated that grass areas trap some 12 million tons of dust and dirt from the air annually. And just one acre of grass can absorb hundreds of pounds of fossil fuel-created sulfur dioxide in a single year. Creating and maintaining a more sustainable lawn begins with proper selection of the best adapted grass species and varieties. Proper site preparation, lawn installation, and appropriate follow-up care will help reduce the need for inputs of the established lawn. Walker concludes, “there are also a variety of organic fertilizers, compost products and microbial soil inoculants available to help develop and maintain healthy soils and lawns without the worry of over fertilization and excess pesticide use.”

4 ..88 7 5 "Shown here is the green roof at Kinzie Station in Chicago, IL.

Big Picture Thinking. Sustainable Results.


The landscape companies we talked to are conscious of the environment inside their offices and in a variety of operational ways. Gorz listed interoffice recycling (including all paper as well just minimizing the use of paper in their office) for starters and then went on to say, “We take our waste from landscape projects and use it in composting to create fertile planting mixes.” Gorz also cited the use of four cycle engines on power equipment as another area that is an improvement. Broadfield added beyond office recycling, “Thousands of plant containers (flowers, perennials and other plants often are installed from plastic containers) we use are recycled and or reused. This is a really a big thing because all pots and liners are plastic and should be re-used internally or given back to the growers for continued use. Broadfield continued, “we do use some electric equipment (mower, blower, line trimmer). This is specifically done at The Green Exchange, being a green only technology facility. All tenants in the Green Exchange building are “green” business from banks to catering to child care and everything between. $


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Energy Audits • Mechanical Assessments • Energy Modeling • Master Planning Front End Planning • LEED Consulting • Systems Commissioning • Due Diligence Geothermal Heating & Cooling •Radiant Heating & Cooling • BAS Dedicated Outside Air Systems • Natural Ventilation • Heat Recovery • Natural Lighting MEPFPIT New Construction • Retrofit


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Sebert’s Sustainable Office When it was first founded in 1985, Sebert Landscaping was like most other companies in the landscape industry. Concern for the environmental impact of the services it performed and the facilities it built and ran was somewhat secondary to its main purpose and business objective of just getting the job done for its clients. Of course, creating beauty and well groomed lawns were a big part of the business. to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council and to seek a silver certification under that program. The structure was designed by Christopher Rudolph of Rudolph Architects in Chicago and erected by FCL Builders of Itasca with Sebert doing most of the landscaping work. Ground was broken in 2009 and Sebert moved into the 2- story, 14,000 square foot structure at the end of August, 2010. An adjacent shop of similar size was completed contemporaneously but not according to LEED standards.

Lean Management But that modus operandi has changed in recent years as Sebert began to show an even greater attention to nature and the environment by applying the principles of lean management in the actions it takes. “Lean management promotes eliminating waste in all functions of business by streamlining procedures and carefully using resources to minimize waste” said president Jeff Sebert, who started the firm nearly 25 years ago and runs it today out of the company’s corporate office in Bartlett with satellite locations in Romeoville, Naperville, Elk Grove Village and Marengo. “We apply (this concept) to our overall business philosophy to achieve operational efficiency while supporting greener environments. We make an extra effort to be environmentally responsible and are always looking for ways to green our company to benefit clients, employees and the community.” And the company expects to continue this effort to minimize any negative impact and enhance its positive influence on the environment as it serves its approximately 1000 clients, of which 90% are commercial and 10% residential.

Why LEED? Building under LEED is generally more expensive so why did the Company decide to go that far in its sustainability endeavors? “I am a firm believer that everyone should be a better steward for the environment,” said Sebert and in highlighting the idea of the building’s green roof, a topside arrangement in which the Chicago area is a leader, added, “who better than a landscape company to do something,” to continue that growing local emphasis.

Gold Outcome

Sustainable Corporate Headquarters

As it turned out, silver had been the initial aspiration but gold was the outcome. The building received a gold LEED certification upon its completion due to design changes before construction started. That upscale achievement had been

The most significant area in which Sebert has begun to focus on sustainability is in the design and construction of its new headquarters in Bartlett. When that facility was in the preliminary planning stages, it was decided to build it pursuant

Tom Engblom

Larry Myers


Assistant Regional Account Executive

Vice President/Regional Account Executive

779.435.2937 Toll Free 866.800.4656 ext. 7429 larry.myers@

312.209.2623 Toll Free 866.800.4656 ext. 7498 tom.engblom@


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abetted by government financial assistance. “Due to the Stimulus Program of 2009 we were able to add the green roof and solar panels, which in turn upgraded the certification,” Sebert explained.

Prairie Style Design The design of the building flows primarily in the horizontal scheme popularized by the Prairie School of Architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This exterior layout allows the facility to fit in more harmoniously with its surroundings and enables the open pattern of the interior.

Green Roof The green roof system was made by Live Roof and installed by Sebert. More than 50% of it is covered with plantings. Some of the benefits of this green roof include absorption by the plant life of ultra violet rays from the sun that are harmful to roof membranes, which can potentially lengthen the life of the membrane by 200 to 300 percent; the soaking up by the vegetation of excess rain water; added insulation for the building from both heat and cold to maintain a more comfortable interior; reduced exterior noise penetration by up to 40 decibels and serving as a barrier to air pollution which can settle out on the plants and become less toxic. The roof is accessible to employees. “It is a great space for meetings, lunch or just to take a break,” said Sebert.

Rain Water Management For rain water management and control, more than 50 % of the site is pervious, including paved surfaces. A bioswale was installed by the rear parking lot, which can collect in excess of 50,000 gallons of storm water during a 1 inch rain and this prevents excessive water runoff into nearby bodies of water. It also embellishes the appearance of the parking lot and promotes a diversity of insect and animal life. Rainwater collection begins at roof top and flows downward, ultimately reaching a water feature consisting primarily of 70 tons of local stone and a cascading waterfall over which the water runs. Excess water from this feature drains into a pond from which it is drawn and used for irrigation purposes. Also providing for a reduction in storm water runoff are permeable pavers laid in front of the building that permit rain to pass through rather than flow over to add to the run off into neighboring waterways. It also replenishes the water table below.

National Corporate Member of Community Associations Institute.

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Green Parking

Good Wood

Preferred parking is available for car or van pools and low emission and gas sipping vehicles to encourage alternative transportation by employees. Bikes can be locked up in adjacent racks. “Designated parking spots for hybrid and fuel efficient or propane vehicles gave us LEED points towards our gold certification,” said Sebert. To minimize air contamination by volatile organic compounds, low emitting material was used for adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings.

More than 50% of the building’s lumber is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and much of it was reclaimed from underwater. The logging industry would float much of their cut timber over many of the nation’s waterways but thousands of logs became waterlogged and sank before being put to use. They were preserved under water and after divers retrieved them many were turned into useful wood products. A lot of the interior of Sebert’s new headquarters was constructed of such reclaimed lumber. “It came from the bottom of Lake Superior,” said Sebert.

Solar Energy The solar panels are located on the roof of the shop building where they collect the sun’s rays as a first step in the process of converting them to electricity through the use of photovoltaic cells. The current is sent to the office building and fed into the ComEd power grid system and is available for Sebert’s electrical needs. Data gathered reflects a significant saving in energy costs. “We have a website in conjunction with our solar panels that shows us carbon dioxide avoided, kilowatt hour savings and dollars saved,” explained Sebert. “We show roughly 77,423 KWH saved since October, 2010.”

More Green Points Other notable points are that more than 20% of the building’s materials were locally made and more than 90% of the interior space receives daylight and is very open. “Our production area has cubicles and the office walls do not go all the way to the ceiling,” said Sebert. Lighting is sensor controlled. “The sensors are motion sensitive and if there is no activity for 10 minutes, they turn off.” Exterior windows are one inch thick, with green reflective, tinted or clear glass. The double glazing aids in reducing cooling needs by up to 15% at the same time as the fenestration pattern

throughout is designed to maximize natural light penetration.

Prairie Style Landscaping The prairie style of landscaping is in harmony with the design of the building it surrounds. It incorporates native plants and is self sustaining, requiring little or no fertilizer and no more water than normal rainfall patterns provide. Even in this very arid summer the plantings have not been seriously impacted. “They are surviving well,” said Sebert.

Other Awards Sebert Landscaping has stood out in other ways than the LEED certification. It is among the top 100 landscaping companies in the Country and, “Jeff received an Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2011,” said Katie Bryant, Construction Administrator for the firm. Furthermore,” we have been recognized with a Gold Excellence in Landscaping Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association and Harris Bank has recognized us with a featured video on its website.” $

▲ Above is the sustainable corporate office of Sebert Landscaping.

▲ Shown above is Sebert Landscaping's solar trailer/hauler.




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Consistent, Award Winning Quality BY KINSELLA LANDSCAPE, LLC. 2011 ILCA Silver Award, Multi-Family Landscape Maintenance, Fay's Point Chicago

2012 ILCA Gold Award, Multi-Family Landscape Maintenance, University Commons Chicago

2010 ILCA Gold Award, Green Roof Construction, Echelon at K Station Chicago

2010 ILCA Judges Award & Gold Award, Residential Design & Construction, Lincoln Park Chicago


2009 ILCA Silver Award, Multi Family Landscape Maintenance, Bridgeport Village, Chicago




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Fall 2012 Chicagoland Buildings

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Fall 2012 Chicagoland Buildings