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An Amendment to Section 2-6 (Building Construction)

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Date Introduced: 4/23/2008
Date Passed:

Beavers, Butler, Claypool, Collins, Daley, Gorman, Goslin, Maldonado, Moreno, Murphy, Peraica, Quigley, Schneider, Silvestri, Sims, Steele-Robert, Suffredin


Ordinance to require all new County building construction projects and major renovations to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.

Activity Log:

Referred to Committee on Construction.
Approved by Committee on Construction.

Full Text of Legislation:





WHEREAS, the Cook County Forest Preserves and surrounding areas are home to at least 290 known species of birds; and


WHEREAS, Cook County lies along the Mississippi Flyway, through which millions of birds of 300 different species pass every year; and


WHEREAS, birding is a hobby enjoyed by 64 million Americans and generates more than $40 billion a year in economic activity in the United States; and


WHEREAS, as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with windows every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and


WHEREAS, Field Museum scientists studying bird collisions at McCormick Place found that turning off lights reduces bird collision deaths by 83 percent; and


WHEREAS, the Chicago area is emerging as a national leader in protecting birds from collision; and


WHEREAS, the City of Chicago was the second city in the nation to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds in 2000, a partnership between individual cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds through habitat conservation and educational programs; and


WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has developed a very successful Lights Out program in recent years, encouraging the owners and managers of skyscrapers to reduce illumination during migration periods; and


WHEREAS, in 2005 the City of Chicago and the Birds and Buildings Forum hosted the first-ever national conference on bird-safe buildings; and


WHEREAS, Cook County adopted the Green Buildings Ordinance in 2002, committing itself to construct buildings which minimize environmental harm; and


WHEREAS, bird-safe design features can be incorporated into new construction and major renovation projects at no extra cost, and existing buildings may be made bird-safe through the use of simple, low cost adaptations; and


WHEREAS, bird-safe practices often go hand-in-hand with energy efficiency improvements.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that Chapter 2 Administration, Article I, Section 2-6 (Building construction) of the Cook County Code is amended as follows:


Sec. 2-6. Building construction.


(a)        In this section the term "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)" means a green building rating system promulgated by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides specific principles and practices, some mandatory but the majority discretionary, that may be applied during the design, construction, and operation phases, which enable the building to be awarded points from reaching present standards of environmental efficiency so that it may achieve LEED certification from the USGBC as a "green" building, as such rating system exists on November 7, 2002.


(b)        The County does hereby order the Department of Capital Planning and Policy to take the steps necessary to assure that all newly constructed buildings and all buildings scheduled for capital improvement are designed, built, and operated in accordance with the standards and requirements of the LEED Green Building Rating System, Version 2.0, and does further order that each new building must meet the requirements for LEED certification.


(c)       The USGBC intends to release a revised version of the LEED Green Building Rating System every three years; and Cook County shall refer to the most current version of the LEED when beginning a new building construction permit project or renovation.


(d)        With specific regard to the LEED Energy and Atmosphere category, because achieving increasing levels of energy performance above the set energy code standards is the surest way of realizing significant operational cost savings, all buildings shall set a goal to obtain a total of at least eight points in this category.


(e)        The County also orders that LEED Existing Building rating system be used during retrofit projects of its current standing structures and does further order that each retrofitted building shall meet the requirements for LEED certification for existing buildings.


(f)         New construction and major renovation projects shall incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features, including, but not limited to, those recommended by the City of Chicago’s “Bird-Safe Building Design Guide for New Construction and Renovation,” the City of Toronto’s “Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines,” and New York City Audubon’s “Bird-Safe Building Guidelines.”


(g)        The County shall make existing buildings bird-safe where practicable.


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