Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in Chicago

A list of Chicago’s highest-ranking LEED-certified projects through September 2020, based on USGBC data.

Last year, for the third year in a row, Chicago was the nation’s leader in energy-efficient office buildings according to the 2019 National Green Building Adoption Index published by CBRE Group Inc., Maastricht University and the University of Guelph. The report showed that 71.1 percent of commercial office space was green-certified in the metro, followed by San Francisco and Atlanta.

After we reviewed Illinois’ top LEED certified buildings in 2019, the majority of which were in Chicago, we sorted a list with the highest-scoring office projects through the first three quarters of the year, again using data from the U.S. Green Building Council. Throughout the metro, from January to September, there were some 40 projects across educational, residential, health care and office that received Gold- and Silver-level certifications.

Rank Project Name Street Points Achieved Certification Level Certification Date
1 180 North LaSalle 180 North LaSalle 79 Gold 8/31/2020
2 Knoll- Fulton Market 811 W. Fulton Market 74 Gold 6/22/2020
3 600 West Chicago 600 W. Chicago Ave. 69 Gold 4/28/2020
4 Twelve01West 1201 W. Lake St. 65 Gold 2/3/2020
5 311 S. Wacker 311 S. Wacker Drive 63 Gold 1/10/2020
6 Old Main Post Office 404 W. Harrison St. 62 Gold 3/4/2020
7 Equity Residential Chicago Office 2 N. Riverside Plaza 62 Gold 7/29/2020
8 LaSalle Chicago Expansion 333 W. Wacker Drive 51 Silver 8/25/2020
9 Leopardo Companies Chicago Office 210 N. Carpenter St. 50 Silver 8/20/2020
10 Mastercard 1 North State Street 1 N. State St. 50 Silver 2/10/2020

1. 180 North LaSalle

The 38-story Class A office building received the Gold certification with the highest scorecard—79 points received in August. Additionally, 180 North LaSalle has been Energy Star-certified since 2012. Built in 1971, the roughly 860,000-square-foot property was designed by Harry Weese. One year later, 180 North LaSalle was named Chicago’s best new building by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, the multitenant building includes ground-floor retail space. Located at the southwest corner of LaSalle and Lake streets, across from the Thompson Center and just a few blocks from Chicago’s Theater and State Street shopping districts, the property provides convenient access to various government buildings and Chicago’s Financial District.


READ ALSO: Top 5 LEED Platinum-Certified Buildings in the US


2. Knoll-Fulton Market

811 Fulton Market
811 Fulton Market

Located at 811 W. Fulton Market, the 70,000-square-foot Class A office building received LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors Gold certification with a scorecard of 74 points. Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. acquired the seven-story property for $50.3 million from Shapack Partners in September 2019. Tenants leasing the property include BlackEdge Capital, Wing, Chicago Beyond and Wintrust Financial.

In 2018, 811 W. Fulton Market was awarded LEED 2009 Core and Shell Silver certification with 52 points on the scorecard. In the same year, Knoll Inc. closed a long-term lease to occupy the entire sixth and seventh floors and part of the fifth floor, totaling 24,000 square feet of showroom and office space. The company achieved LEED Gold certification from USGBC for commercial interiors for sustainability achievement and leadership.

3. 600 West Chicago 

600 West Chicago
600 West Chicago

The 1,650,000-square-foot office building is located at 600 W. Chicago Ave. in the Goose Island neighborhood. The property was awarded LEED v4.1 O+M: Existing Buildings Gold certification in April with a 69-point scorecard; 12 points were earned for location and transportation, 12 for water efficiency, 23 for energy and atmosphere, five for material and resources, and 16 for indoor environmental quality.

Built in 2001, the eight-story building is owned and managed by Sterling Bay and includes 65,000 square feet of retail space. There are two LEED-certified office buildings in the neighborhood. The company acquired the asset in February 2018 in a $510 million portfolio sale, which included 600 W. Chicago Ave., 298 residential units at 900 N. Kingsbury St. and 241 residential units at 758 N. Larrabee St. 

4. Twelve01West

Twelve01West
Twelve01West

McCaffery Interests’ 146,762-square-foot Class A office building at 1201 W. Lake St. is the center of the office triangle established by 1kFulton, Fulton West and the McDonald’s headquarters on Randolph Street. Completed in 2019, the seven-story property was awarded LEED 2009 Core and Shell Gold certification with a scorecard of 65 points at the beginning of the year.

Twelve01West consists of 135,000 square feet of office space and 11,762 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The property has earned the sustainability-focused designation, in part due to extensive green roofs, light-colored roofing materials, reduced water usage and all-LED lighting. Additionally, at least 75 percent of all construction waste materials were diverted from area landfills. Retail and office tenants include The Coca-Cola Co., ServiceNow, Heritage Bicycles & Coffee, Bissell and McCaffery Interests.

5. 311 S. Wacker

Chicago’s Wacker Drive continues to attract attention with its LEED-certified portfolio buildings. The 65-story office building at 311 S. Wacker Drive was awarded LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance Gold certification with 63 points on the scorecard. Built in 1990, 311 S. Wacker is the seventh-tallest building in Chicago and the 24th tallest in the U.S. Zeller Realty Group’s asset first received LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance Silver certification with 51 points in 2015.

The company acquired the property in 2014 for $302.4 million from Fremont Group. To achieve LEED Silver certification, Zeller implemented a sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental air quality program to upgrade the property. Last year, the 311 South Wacker project also won the Mayor’s Leadership Circle Award for 20 percent or Greater Energy Reduction.

6. Old Main Post Office

Old Main Post Office
Old Main Post Office

The 2.5 million-square-foot building at 404 W. Harrison St., received LEED 2009 Core and Shell Gold certification with 62 points on the scorecard. The 601W Cos. acquired the asset in 2016 for $130 million and, since then, roughly $800 million have been invested in the overhaul, including a new green roof and 2,200 new windows. As of last fall, the Old Main Post Office was 81 percent leased to 19 tenants, including Walgreens, Uber, Ferrara Candy and Cboe.

7. Equity Residential Chicago Office

Two North Riverside Plaza
Two North Riverside Plaza

Equity Residential’s Chicago office at 2 N. Riverside was awarded LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors Gold certification with a 62-point scorecard. Built in 1929, the more than 546,000-square-foot office building consists of first-floor retail, second-floor office and retail, and floors three to 27 consist of office space. EQ Office’s 27-story building has achieved LEED Gold and WiredScore Platinum certification.

8. LaSalle Chicago Expansion

333 W. Wacker Drive
333 W. Wacker Drive

Located at 333 W. Wacker Drive, the 867,821-square-foot Class A office building has been a LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance Gold-certified property since 2016. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, 333 W. Wacker Drive was developed in 1983.

LaSalle relocated its headquarters to PNC Bank’s 38-story tower in 2015 and occupies 27,000 square feet. Earlier this year, the company was awarded LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors Silver certification with 51 points on the scorecard. The company partnered with Interior Architects to design a modern workspace with the latest technology and with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Additionally, LaSalle has also earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 Energy Star Charter Tenant Space Award. 

9. Leopardo Companies Chicago Office

Leopardo Cos.’ office was LEED v4 Silver for Commercial Interiors Silver-certified with 50 points on the scorecard for its space at the 200,000-square-foot office tower at 210 N. Carpenter. This certification comes after the space also achieved WELL Gold certification, making it one of the city’s first dual LEED- and WELL-certified offices. The 12-story space was constructed using low-emitting materials, biophilic design features–including live plantings equaling more than one percent of the floor area–and circadian lighting.

With an emphasis on waste management during construction, the company recycled metals, paints and paint cans, and funneled a portion of its waste through a facility certified by the Recycling Certification Institute. An indoor air quality plan was put in place that included the use of low-emitting materials and air quality testing. Energy efficiency was achieved using Energy Star appliances and IT equipment, green power and carbon offsets, as well as LED lighting throughout.

10. Mastercard 1 North State Street

Shorenstein’s 533,000-square-foot Class A office was awarded LEED Gold certification. According to Yardi Matrix data, the company acquired the asset in 2016 for $79.8 million from Fortress Investment Group. Shorenstein’s Green Building Construction Standards require all construction and tenant improvement projects to meet the LEED Interiors criteria for indoor environmental quality, energy, water efficiency, sustainable materials procurement and waste management.

On the property’s green scorecard is a green roof; green cleaning program; recycling program that includes paper, glass, aluminum, plastic and cardboard; electronic waste recycling program; green construction standards including low-VOC products; and demolition waste recycling. Mastercard received LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors Silver certification with 50 points in February.