Bill Sullivan was happy running his law practice and real estate business out of his 1101 Lake St. office, where he's been since 1992. But when the opportunity to buy a property for his offices came up, and when that space would increase his visibility, he took it.
Now Sullivan is making the most of another opportunity?#34;to be as environmentally friendly as he can be while building out his new space at 107 N. Marion St., the former Marion Street Mall home to the Sandra Ross Salon.
"I think Oak Parkers would be interested in that and that it's important to lead by example," Sullivan said.
Leading by example led Sullivan to seek LEED certification for the project. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, established a national standard for "green," or environmentally friendly, building projects. The U.S. Green Building Council oversees the certification process.
Sullivan hopes to complete the build-out by Oct. 1.
The certification works by giving points for environmentally friendly elements of construction, including ultra efficient heating and cooling appliances, use of recycled materials (Sullivan will install a maple floor from a building set for destruction), and "low emitting" materials inside the building to improve indoor air quality.
"When people spend so much time working indoors these days, we want to make sure it's as non-toxic as possible," Sullivan said.
Another way to earn points is by encouraging employees to use public transportation or bicycles to get to and from work.
Sullivan said getting LEED certification will mean 25 percent to 30 percent higher costs for the build-out.
"I'm OK with that because we want to do it the right way," he said. Sullivan declined to give the cost of the project, but said the overage would be in the tens of thousands of dollars for making the space green.
Sullivan said Oak Park-based environmental nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead has been helpful in learning about and seeking LEED certification. Erica Cuneen is an agent with Wm. B. Sullivan Realty & Co., and a member of the Seven Generations Ahead board of directors.
Sullivan was elected as the Oak Park representative to the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools board in April. The board oversees investments for schools in Oak Park, Cicero and Berwyn.
More information on LEED building standards can be found at www.usgbc.org.