Chicago’s One East Delaware Earns LEED EB Silver

One East Delaware becomes first Chicago apartment property to earn multifamily LEED EB Silver certification.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Chicago—The first Chicago apartment property to earn multifamily LEED EB Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is One East Delaware. The 22-year-old, 36-story, 306-unit upscale tower on the Windy City’s pricey Gold Coast is the nation’s third largest apartment community to gain the certification.

Owned by Chicago-based Waterton Residential, One East Delaware features studio, convertible, one- and two-bedroom apartments, parking and 39,000 square feet of commercial space filled by high-end retailers.

“The idea was first brought to us by Waterton Residential’s co-founders David Schwartz and Peter Vilim,” company senior vice-president Lela Cirjakovic tells MHN. “They have considerable respect for the green building initiatives undertaken by former Mayor Richard M. Daley. They saw merit in pursuing this endeavor, and in enhancing the environment in which our residents live.”

Making the building eligible for USGBC LEED EB Silver certification took about 18 months, says Sam Grill, principal in Wilmette, Ill.-based Green Building Advisors LLC, the lead consultant on the project. “It was something we had discussed with the principals of Waterton,” he says.

“This was a fairly new LEED EB certification for older buildings. We talked about the benefits of bringing a more than 20-year-old building into the new eco-conscious era. Most new buildings are getting LEED designation for new construction. This was a chance for the owners to reposition the building and be more competitive with the newer buildings coming on the market.”

The effort elevated operations and maintenance standards at One East Delaware to standards set forth by the USGBC. Included were incorporation of low-flow fixtures to reduce water consumption, replacement of existing lighting with energy-efficient lighting, the establishment of environmentally sensitive cleaning practices and enhancement of recycling programs, Grill says.

“We had to do a significant amount of resident education, in terms of products they use themselves, and ways to increase their participation in the recycling programs that had been provided but not fully embraced,” he says.

One East Delaware issued letters to residents to let them know of the coveted LEED Silver EB designation, informing them of efforts they can each undertake to support the recognition. “They’re simple things like switching off all your lights when leaving your apartment, switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, using reusable bags when shopping rather than plastic bags provided by the grocery and buying reusable water bottles,” Cirjakovic says.

“None of these are earth shattering, but if we all commit to taking small steps, they have a large impact collectively. We are committed to safeguarding the environment and to giving back to the city of Chicago.”

Points toward certification were also earned for access to alternative commuting choices. “That speaks to our location,” Cirjakovic says.

“At One East Delaware, you don’t need to use your auto to get to entertainment and shopping. You can take the bus, take the train, you have access to L stops that are five minutes from your front door.”

Grill says it’s a great achievement for Waterton to land the first LEED Silver certification in Chicago for an existing residential rental high-rise. “Having that designation is really a confirmation that the building is a green building,” he says. “It’s kind of a stamp of approval.”

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