A “Green” Tour of MPC’s New Home - Metropolitan Planning Council

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A “Green” Tour of MPC’s New Home

In February, MPC moved to a beautiful and sustainable new home in Chicago’s historic Marquette Building. The new office space boasts many environmental features and a flexible conference center. Take a virtual tour of MPC’s new office and learn how we’re doing our part to help the planet.

MPC is proud to have an environmentally friendly new home in Chicago’s historic Marquette Building.  Here are some of the “green” elements of our new office. 

Uses the existing infrastructure of the city

Located in downtown Chicago, MPC’s office did not require new infrastructure, like streets or water pipes, to be built.  Instead, our office tapped into existing city infrastructure, which means our impact on natural habitats was minimal.   

Easily accessible by many forms of transportation

Next time you visit MPC, you’ve got a lot of options for traveling here. If it’s nice out and you’re coming from somewhere in the Loop, you could walk or ride your bike.  Riding the CTA?  The Monroe Blue Line station is literally at our front door, and you’ll find a Red Line, Green Line, Purple Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, and Brown Line station within four blocks.  Coming from outside Chicago?  Chicago’s Union Station is an easy ten-minute walk away.

The only mode of transportation that’s difficult to use to get to MPC?  A car.  Sorry, but MPC does not provide parking for employees or guests.  Instead, MPC encourages the use of alternative forms of transportation.  The new office is equipped with a shower and changing facilities so employees can freshen up after biking or walking to work.     

Energy efficient

MPC’s office is equipped with energy-efficient lighting systems that respond to motion and daylight.  This means we use less light and energy on sunny days, and no lights at all if no one is around to activate them.  In addition, each workstation has a small lamp –with energy efficient light bulbs, of course – which cuts down on the need to use overhead lights.   Thanks to this and our Energy Star equipment, MPC’s office uses less energy than the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers building requirements.  

Rehabbed with recycled materials

Step into our office and one of the first things you will notice is the beautiful wood columns and lobby ceiling.  This is all reclaimed wood. Some of our insulation, furniture systems, and gypsum boards also come from recycled materials.  In all, more than 20 percent of the products used in constructing the office contain recycled content.   

This commitment to cutting down on waste began before we moved into the space.  During construction, more than 75 percent of waste was diverted from landfills, including drywall, metal and cardboard.   In addition, more than 50 percent of the wood material in MPC’s office is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  The use of FSC-certified wood materials lessens deforestation and destruction of wildlife habitats, as well as promotes environmentally responsible forest management.   

Uses regional material 

When possible, MPC used regionally manufactured material for our office.  This not only reduced transportation costs and environmental impact, it also helped the local economy. 

Good indoor air quality

In designing the office, special attention was paid to improve the indoor environmental quality of our office.  Our ventilation system is state-of-the-art, which means MPC guests and employees enjoy excellent air quality. MPC limited the use of materials such as adhesives, sealants and carpets that release volatile organic compounds (VOC).  The office has a lot of beautiful windows, which means we also enjoy the daylight and stunning views. 

Encourages good habits 

In addition, MPC staff continues to make important changes everyday.  Screens and projectors are installed in the conference center to minimize the need for photocopied handouts at meetings.  Each employee has an individual recycle bin at desk side, and there are several large recycle bins throughout the office.  We have a full set of dishes and tableware that we wash and reuse.  This means we no longer use paper or plastic plates at our meetings and events, which cuts down the amount of waste we produce.  We use environmentally sensitive dishwashing products, and refillable soap dispensers in the kitchen and restrooms.     

We’re staying put

If you can’t make it to MPC right away, don’t worry; we aren’t going anywhere.  MPC has a long-term commitment to stay in our new office, which means we’re conserving resources, reducing waste, and reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing and transporting materials.   


:: Architect: Eastlake Studio ::

:: Photographs: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing ::


  1. 1. Veronica Mars from San Francisco, CA on May 12, 2009

    Beautiful work.

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