About the Renovation

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) moved into an eighty-year-old former textile factory in 1987, leaving its home in downtown Chicago for a transit-friendly neighborhood on Chicago’s near Northwest Side. We renovated the upper two floors of the building in a then energy-efficient manner, in accordance with our organizational philosophy of promoting urban sustainability. The building became the first non-toxic one in Illinois and CNT earned an award for having the most energy-efficient building in the state.

We began our second renovation in 2000, when we found that we had outgrown the furnished upper two floors of the building. With this renovation we chose to design to the highest standards of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating Systemô Version 2.0. LEED’s integrated approach to building design and renovation has confirmed and expanded upon many of CNT’s design principals and policies. In December 2005, LEED officially certified the building as “Platinum,” making it one of the country’s most high performing buildings; LEED had previously certified only twelve other buildings as Platinum.

While green buildings are not a new idea, most of the certification applications received by the U.S. Green Building Council, the agency that runs the LEED program, are for new construction or expensive showcase buildings. One of the highlights of CNT’s green renovation project is that it addresses the reality that ninety percent of buildings that will be standing in 2020 are already built. If green building techniques are to have a significant impact, they must be made affordable and applicable to existing buildings and enable them to achieve the highest LEED certification levels.

A second highlight of CNT’s building is that it shows that green rehabbing can be done in an aesthetically pleasing manner using readily available products. The creative use of space, light, color, textures and contrast has transformed an old industrial shell into an attractive—as well as healthy—place to work. The third and final highlight of this project is its success in substantially increasing the occupancy in the building in a dense urban area without adding building mass or height, developing open areas or increasing reliance on public services and utilities. This was done through a combination of resource-conserving design, installation of systems to reduce peak demand for utilities and enhanced use of renewable energy sources.

Project Team


Bob Lieberman, CEO

Project Manager:

Sharon Feigon


Jonathan Boyer
Farr Associates
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604

HVAC Engineer:

Lew Hamilton
EME Consulting Engineers
250 S. Wacker Drive, 1050
Chicago, IL 60606


Phoenix Builders
1801 Winnetka Circle
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Commissioning Agent, Environmental Advisor and LEED Accredited Professional:

John Katrakis, PE
J.T. Katrakis & Associates
418 North Avenue
Barrington, IL 60010