A famous frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” He was right. Chicago is a city anchored in industrial roots and approaching a population of over three million people. If any city knows the sacrifice, effort and, ultimately, the benefit of becoming an eco-friendly metropolis – it’s Chicago.
From our sustainable urban development to our beautiful parks, beaches and green spaces, Chicago is one responsible city.
Green roofs increase sustainability by reducing surface temperature and, ultimately, heating and cooling costs. With energy costs not such a priority for the freestanding, outdoor Millennium Park, this 25-acre green space covers an unsightly parking garage and provides a beautiful ecosystem in the middle of downtown Chicago.
Chicago Parks District Conservatories
Chicago is home to a pair of renowned greenhouses, which house rare and exotic plants. The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the oldest and most respected facilities of its kind. This South Side greenhouse contains more than one-thousand different species of plants, and outdoor atrium and eight flawless designed display rooms. On the North Side of Chicago is the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is smaller than the facility in Garfield Park but equally impressive.
Our cultural institutions are a role model in eco-friendly practices thanks to the Green Museums Initiative, which aims to bring sustainability to our city’s museums. In 2005, a network of institutions banded to make their buildings more sustainable, their business practices more environmentally friendly and to increase their outreach as it pertains to green education and exhibits.
For example, the Field Museum and Nacional 27 partnered to create a vehicle that runs on cooking oil and is driven throughout the city to educate school groups on the values of alternative fuels. Rite Brite has teamed with the Shedd Aquarium to teach culinary students about choosing and preparing sustainable seafood.
Museums in Chicago that are at the forefront of eco-conscious practices include:
- Adler Planetarium
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Field Museum
- Chicago History Museum
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (recipient of Overall Achievement Award for integrating environmentally-friendly principles into all operational aspects)
- Shedd Aquarium (recipient of Leadership Award for exemplary commitment to environmental innovation)
- National Museum of Mexican Art