Chicago’s Green Pioneers Recognized

March 17, 2011

Chicago strives to be an environmentally friendly city, and one local magazine is honoring our greenest.

Chicago Magazine has announced the recipients of its fifth annual Green Awards, an honor bestowed upon Chicagoans who are environmental pioneers.

Nathan Kipnis

Green architect Nathan Kipnis

Among the winners is architect Nathan Kipnis, who incorporates sustainable principles into his designs.

Some of his forward-thinking features in his homes include:

*Two roofs that mimic a funnel and collect rainwater to nurture a roof garden below

*Solar thermal panels that harness energy from the sun

*High-efficiency appliances

*Radiant flooring

*Low- to no-emission finishes

For the past few years, Kipnis has also been trying to create the first Midwest offshore wind farm. The architect has been working pro bono with Citizens’ Greener Evanston on the project, which he believes could passively power every home in Evanston and then some.

Kipnis and the five other Green Awards recipients were chosen from more than 150 nominees suggested by readers, magazine staff and community leaders.

They will be honored at a reception at the Shedd Aquarium on March 30 and featured in the April issue of Chicago Magazine, which hits newsstands today.

“We are delighted to recognize such an illustrious group for our fifth annual Green Awards,” said Richard Babcock, editor of Chicago magazine. “This year’s winners are truly changing Chicago and beyond for the better. They have big ideas, and are making an even bigger impact.”

The other 2011 Green Award Honorees:

guaranteed green stamp*Dan Rosenthal and Ina Pinkney: He’s a 40-year veteran of the Chicago restaurant business and she owns Ina’s in the West Loop, and together they created the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, which helps make green products, appliances, equipment and services purchases affordable for local restaurants and suppliers.

Last year, the group started Guaranteed Green, which recognizes restaurants that have been certified as environmentally responsible through the Green Restaurant Association or Green Seal. Today there are 23 Guaranteed Green establishments; Rosenthal and Pinkney are hoping that number will double by the end of the year.

*Matthew Stewart: This city worker is leading Chicago’s effort to minimize the carbon footprint of its municipal fleet.

Last year, with federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Stewart purchased more than 300 new police SUVs that run on ethanol and retrofitted 200 garbage trucks and salt spreaders with a supplemental engine and heating device that will help reduce fuel usage.

This year, Stewart is looking to boost the number of alternative-fuel cars, trucks and heavy pieces of equipment in the fleet, by either buying new or retrofitting the old with clean exhaust control systems and idle-shutdown timers.

Eco-friendly fashion designer Lara Miller

Eco-friendly fashion designer Lara Miller

*Lara Miller: A School of the Art Institute graduate, this internationally recognized fashion designer creates sustainable clothing. Lara Miller garbs have been worn by famous stars including Sarah Jessica Parker, Maggie Gyllenhaall, Angelina Jolie and Marion Cotillard.

Miller traces the origins of her raw material and employs a Chicago knitter to handcraft every garment in her Wrigleyville studio. Her architecturally inventive cardigans and dresses can be reversed or re-wrapped to create multiple looks with one item.

The lifelong Chicagoan also serves as executive director of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, a program endorsed by Mayor Daley that fosters emerging local talent and provides them with resources to keep them in Chicago.

*Kimberly Wasserman: This activist is a pioneering member of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, a growing coalition of individuals and organizations committed to creating a sustainable and clean-energy future for metropolitan Chicago.

The alliance joined together to push for the closing of a pair of outdated coal plants that are having a detrimental effect on our health. The coalition has also introduced an ordinance that calls for an emissions reduction at the coal plants.

Congratulations to all the recipients. Keep on greening it up!

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