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World's Largest Retail Building Goes Green

About a week ago, EcoGeek realized the efficiency improvements in America's buildings could save more energy than is used by all planes, trains, cars, and trucks in America. This vast energy savings won't come easily, but it must come. A commenter pointed out that it's important to best viagra focus on cars and canada cialis prescription trucks because they have shorter life spans, and thus efficiency improvements can be realized faster.

But buildings can also be retrofitted to be greener, and with great effect. In fact, since only 2% of buildings in America were built in the last few years, retrofitting is going to have to be a huge part of this. And it's pretty inspiring to see that we're starting with the largest retail building in the world, the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

The Merch Mart is HUGE, more than 4 million square feet. During the day, 20,000 people inhabit this single structure. It has its own zip code (60654).

When it was built, it was the cialis alternitives largest building in the world.

But, due to the leadership of its owners, and the City of Chicago, the Merchandise Mart has a new spot in the Guinness the largest Green Building in the world. It now uses 35% less water and 10% less energy than before the upgrades. And, for a building this size, the upgrades were significant:

  • Most of the 4,000 windows were replaced.
  • Water waste was tracked, to determine which of the 2,000 toilets needed to be replaced with more efficient ones
  • Leaks in the air conditioning were tracked down and fixed, saving over $4,000 a year.
  • Many of the buildings spaces were metered individually, to determine high energy use areas, and bill tenants accordingly.
  • A supply shop for tenants was opened in the basement, making everything from low-vapor paints to high-efficiency bulbs available, inexpensively, to all tenants.
  • Lighter carpets make rooms brighter, meaning less electricity is viagra professional no prescription needed
  • A Bulb-Eater in the basement eats fluorescent bulbs, contains their toxins, and produces waste bins that are recycled properly.

For more information on this absolutely fantastic retrofit of generic viagra mastercard the World's Largest Retail Building, check out this article in Business Week. And for some high-res pictures of the Chicago Merchandise Market, keep reading.


Pictures by J. Crocker, Serhii Chrucky and Jeremy Atherton.

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Comments (10)Add Comment
This is awesome!
written by Nerdfighter Megan Parchem, March 26, 2008
More places need to take this example. Now if only we could ban plastic bags, ort charge like 25 cents for em or moree to deter people from using them.
Flush less toilets?
written by Aaron, March 26, 2008
I'm wondering if they had flush less toilets installed? We have those here at school and they're more efficient. They do take some getting used to, though.
What's up with the bags?
written by josh, March 26, 2008
This article has nothing to do with plastic bags. Additionally, recent studies have shown that plastic killing us all is based on flawed science is just a "bandwagon" people have jumped onto. The paper bags actually cause more harm. Besides, they make excellent free trash bags, bags for recyclables, and the rest can be recycled at Wal-Mart and dozens of other stores. They're the same type of plastic as milk jugs.
Plastic Bags
written by Micah, March 26, 2008
While they are the cheap 20 mg levitra same type of plastic, the City of Chicago will not recycle them. You have to turn them in to grocery stores for recycling.
Plastic Bags
written by Roy, March 26, 2008
yeah, my city won't even recycle milk jugs...

wait, how did we get onto bags again? Oh, and josh, do you have links to any of those articles? I'd love to fast cialis see!
What an awesome example!
written by Violet, March 26, 2008
This is a great example of how even huge buildings can become more eco-friendly with a couple of simple upgrades. I encourage all business owners (large or small) to check out You can plug in your info and track your energy usage as well as compare it to others in the same industry. Its an easy way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. Way to go Chicago Merchandise Market!
Payback period
written by Kent Ragen, March 27, 2008
Buildings are a huge source of pollution and levitra now online energy usage, so these efforts are necessary. But I'm always struck by the amount of cialis blood thinner investment (e.g. 4000 new windows) and curious about a) does the savings in "footprint" take this initial "additional footprint investmen" into account and b) what's the payback period, or how many years of "more efficient operations" are required to offset this initial investment?
written by Magnulus, March 27, 2008
I was wondering about the payback myself, and I would imagine it takes at least ten years or so to pay itself back in money they save, at least. But the thing is that glass can be relatively easily recycled, and I know from experience that 100-year-old windows don't exactly do anyone any favours in heating and that sort of thing.

I don't think there's a problem in terms of the footprint of the retrofitting itself as houses are meant to last for quite some time, and especially when you've got a house or building that's already lasted a long time and is still in good condition.

Another plus-side to this is that once this place starts to produce positive numbers, I think a lot of other managements will probably pick it up themselves. Any chance to save loads of money is gladly taken.

Now, how about some wind turbines and solar panels on that roof, eh? ^_^
written by josh, March 28, 2008
I originally saw an article on yahoo, but I just used google. I haven't seen the actual studies, just articles online. Here is pretty reputable one:

I Can Do Better
written by jim, July 20, 2008
Install waterless toilets. You can pee in them. For the other thing, take it with you. Hey, we pick up after dogs in our parks. Install rooftop gardens to recycle greywater for reuse. Install rain catch cisterns on rooftops. Install solar panels. Walk up and down stairs. Elevators are really not necessary. Want to lose 20 pounds? Walk up to the 89th floor everyday. Install slides to return to non prescription viagra the ground floor, faster than an elevator. So, we reduce our trips to the cardiologist and get to the lobby quicker. I have more ideas...

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