Friday, May 7, 2010

Tech Company Goes Green in Woodstock

If you've been a Mac owner for a certain amount of time, you're probably at least casually familiar with Other World Computing, the Woodstock, Illinois-based online seller of Apple computers, electronics, and accessories.  What you may not know, is that OWC is one of the latest Chicagoland tech company to go green.

Other World recently became the first light manufacturing / assembly building in Illinois to be awarded LEED Platinum status.  It hired Harris Architects in Palatine to head the project which included installing a geothermal heat pump, using high-tech insulation, and equipping the building with facilities that encourage people to ride their bicycles to work.

The most visible green element is the 194-foot-tall wind turbine.  It generates more than double the power the company needs, so the rest gets sold to the local utility company and ends up in homes in McHenry County.

Most interesting to me is that OWC is engaged in sunlight harvesting.  I first saw this on a science program in the 1990's, where a Japanese skyscraper was using an array on the roof to gather sunlight, and then deliver it to cubicles via fiber optic cables.  Eight of the last ten offices I worked in didn't have windows, so this was something that got my attention and something I always hoped would become commonplace.  Alas, it has failed to catch on as a "green" element as quickly as vegetative roofs or low-flow toilets.  But maybe what One World Computing has done will inspire other companies to provide just a little bit of sun to those who toil in their cubicle farms.

Things For Your Time

I got an e-mail today from the people over at the River North Residents' Association (kudos for correct use of the apostrophe) with a list of upcoming events.  A couple caught my eye, and I thought I'd share them with you.

I encourage you to check out the first one.  I'd love to go myself, but I'm otherwise committed that day.  But events from Friends of the Parks never fail to inspire.

The second one should also be fun.  I've never been to the Taste of River North, but considering the caliber of restaurants in the neighborhood, it's probably worth a visit.  Unfortunately, the link provided by RNRA for signing up volunteers only goes to a standard form for sponsors.  So if you'd like to volunteer, probably the best thing to do is to call the Association at 312/235-2617, or send an e-mail to

Free Lecture on Hidden Park Gems

Ever wanted to escape for a walk in the woods, but couldn't figure out where to go or how to get there without a car? Erma Tranter, President of Friends of the Parks, will offer a visual tour of great parks you can escape to by public transportation.  Jason Rothstein, author of Carless in Chicago, will offer tips for your carless explorations and suggestions for some other easy-to-reach destinations.
The one-hour lecture, which is Free and open to the public, will be held at 12:15 pm on Thursday May 13 in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph Street. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Parks and the Active Transportation Alliance.

Sign up now to participate in the 2010 Taste of River North!

Space is limited; Sponsors, Restaurants, Merchants, Exhibitors and Volunteers: click here!
Hosted by the River North Residents' Association, the Taste of River North is a professionally managed, family-friendly, 2-day riverfront festival featuring great live entertainment and showcasing the area's wonderful dining, art and design scenes.  This year's event will take place on July 17-18, in and around Erie Park.

Monday, May 3, 2010

TweetEcho: April 15-May 2, 2010

For those of you who don't subscribe to our Twitter feed, here are the items we tweeted in the last week or so:

  1. Chicago building of the day: Buick Building : 1454 South Michigan Avenue
  2. Chicago building of the day: : 109 East Oak Street
  3. Chicago building of the day: Macy's On State : 111 North State Street
  4. #AIA's 2010 top ten #green #buildings, in depth - #architecture #greenbuilding #climate(via @archweek)
  5. Chicago building of the day: 72 East Oak Street
  6. The #Chicago #Architecture Blog: 330 North Wabash#Skyscraper Renovation Complete
  7. Chicago building of the day: Metra Roosevelt Road Station (New) : 11th Street at Indiana Avenue
  8. Trib on the proposed renovation of the Anti-Cruelty Society building in River North:
  9. Chicago building of the day: University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center Main Building : 1740 West Taylor Street
  10. Chicago building of the day: The Clare at Water Tower : 55 East Pearson Street
  11. Chicago building of the day: The Congress Hotel : 520 South Michigan Avenue
  12. Chicago building of the day: River East Center : 350 East Illinois Street
  13. Chicago building of the day: 2130 North Lincoln Park West :
  14. Here's a list from @cbrecorp of 101 things you can do to make your office greener:
  15. Robert Powers has posted another great Chicago photo tour. This time along historic Martin Luther King Drive
  16. What was once the world's smallest cathedral is now for sale as a condo in Chicago:
  17. Chicago building of the day: Newberry Library : 60 West Walton Street
  18. Chicago building of the day: Arthur B. Heurtley House : 318 Forest
  19. Anthropologie to join Nordstrom Rack in the old CompUSA space off Michigan Avenue:
  20. Chicago building of the day: The Mark Twain Hotel : 225 Northeast Adams Street
  21. Chicago building of the day: UBS Tower : 1 North Wacker Drive
  22. Diagrams of the revised (and approved) controversial Toyota sign for Wrigley Field:
  23. I wonder why Chicago doesn't have any "scramble" crossings,like in Toronto, Seattle, and elsewhere. Would help the Loop and Mich.Ave.
  24. Chicago building of the day: Robert P. Parker House : 1019 Chicago
  25. Chicago's Top Art & Architecture Events for 2010:
  26. Chicago as seen through a cheezy 1982 TV series intro:
  27. Bicycle tour explores architecture and history of Pilsen and Heart of Chicago
  28. You don't have to be a tourist to appreciate Cloud Gate:
  29. Chicago building of the day: 400 North La Salle Drive :
  30. Chicago building of the day: Tribune Tower : 435 North Michigan Avenue
  31. Microsoft makes its own non-standard version of 15-year-old technology, deploys it on Chicago buildings for you:
  32. Chicago building of the day: Dawn Shadows : 200 West Madison
  33. Chicago building of the day: Fine Arts Building : 410 South Michigan Avenue