Sustainably Speaking

Craft beer and the Green Exchange

This summer, I volunteered at a Craft Beer Festival in Chicago. Before the event took place, I Googled it to see what beer companies would be there. I needed to do my research to know what I was getting myself into! I happened to come across Ale Syndicate, which is the craft beer company my neighbor owns. So I decided to do some research on his company and found out he is building a brewery in the Green Exchange, the nation’s largest green business community, which is made up of more than 20 businesses, right here in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.  

The Green Exchange is located in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

Just recently, the Green Exchange became LEED Platinum Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Green Exchange is also a recipient of the 2013 Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project for evolving their historical building into a revitalized, successful business center.

“It is such a high honor to be recognized by the USGBC and to become LEED certified,” said David Baum, co-developer of the building and president of Baum Development. “We are creating a collaboration — a platform that allows individuals and businesses to ‘exchange their green ideas’ and learn from one another in a positive way.” 

The open event space is available to tenants and the public for special events.

The 272,000-sq.ft. building features a large open foyer, an 8,000-sq.ft. organic sky garden with an on-site restaurant and open event space with an abundance of natural sunlight, all of which are available to tenants and the public for special events. Other features include a green roof, an organic garden, a chicken coop, a 41,329 gallon rain cistern to capture water and reused it for irrigation; a high-efficiency heating and cooling system that will reduce building energy use by 22%; high-efficiency filters and air quality sensors that monitor and control indoor air quality; energy efficient windows that will help keep the temperature comfortable all year long; an escalator that incorporates occupancy sensors and varying speeds, using 30% less energy than a traditional escalator; and a recycling system with site sorting on all five floors.

The Green Exchange is a great example for all of us to see: a green business community, in a green building, serving a green customer base. And just recently the Green Exchange hosted the Thai-U.S. Creative Partnership Delegation on Green Technology/Green Architecture sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand. The delegation went on a tour of the building to see the community. The delegation is planning to use the same model for a concept overseas.

“There are several things we are interested in learning from Green Exchange, amongst others the Green Exchange’s business model and the eco trend now,” said Patrawan Vechasart, Deputy Director General of Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand who heads the delegation. “Being such a successful green establishment in the U.S., we are curious to know the keys to their business success and to learn the possibility of seeing a similar facility being established in Thailand in the near future.”

“We are honored that these delegates have chosen Green Exchange as a role model,” said Baum. “We want to help businesses advance in the green market, and are proud that we have created this platform that allows individuals and businesses to learn from one another in a positive way.”

Green Exchange’s eco-friendly tenants include GreenChoice Bank, Coyote Logistics, Greenhouse Loft, WeFarm America, Rainforest Learning Center and Pivotal Production. NewGrange Development, a design-build, general contracting and construction company with a focus on sustainable development is also housed in the Green Exchange. And don’t forget the newest tenant — my neighbor’s brewery — Ale Syndicate. The brewery will house a 30 barrel system and a tap room. 

Who would have guessed that volunteering at a Craft Beer Festival would lead me to blogging about the Green Exchange? Once Ale Syndicate opens up I will check out the brewery, and the Green Exchange, and give you all a full report. Until then, cheers!    


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