Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Addressing Climate Change

President Obama is set to speak today in a highly anticipated speech addressing climate change. The speech, scheduled for 1:35 PM (EST), is expected to outline an aggressive agenda for curtailing greenhouse gas emissions. In his speech, the President will announce specific goals and a time frame for achieving these, with a focus on three key areas: “preparing the country for the short- and long-term effects of climate change, cutting the amount of carbon pollution in the United Stats, and leading global efforts to combat climate change.

President Obama has called climate change “the global threat of our time,” and his strategy for mitigating our society's impact on the climate focuses on placing firm limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and finalizing limits on new power plants, which are currently pending. If successful, these will have a major impact on our emissions, as 1/3 of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions stem from electric power plants. 

In addition to these standards, Obama will introduce goals to increase the energy efficiency of appliances and buildings, as well as set higher standards for the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks. These goals will be supplemented by $8 billion in loan guarantees for “innovative energy efficiency and fossil fuel projects, including efforts to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions” from fossil fuel power plants.

HI Chicago’s Commitment to the Environment

An E.P.A. Green Power Partner, HI Chicago derives 100% of its electricity from a renewable source: wind power.  By purchasing renewable energy, HI Chicago is not only reducing its impact on the environment, but is supporting growth in the renewable energy industry. The supply of renewable energy is only half the solution, however; we must also look at demand. 

Here at HI Chicago, we have replaced all of our incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and LEDs, which can be up to 85% more energy efficient! In addition to this, we have installed light motion detectors in many of our common areas, so lights are only on when necessary. These energy efficiency initiatives have had a great impact on reducing our energy consumption, but we could still use your help! Be sure to switch off your light when leaving the room and try taking the stairs next time you're about to board the elevator!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Explore Chicago with Divvy Bikes!

On June 28th, the City of Chicago is rolling out almost 1,000 new bicycles in the first phase of its Divvy Bike Share Program. Once completed in 2014, Divvy Bikes will be the 2nd largest bike share program in the U.S., consisting of 4,000 bicycles and 400 solar-powered docking stations conveniently located throughout the city. 

The Divvy Bike Share program will complement Chicago’s extensive public transit system, and is intended for “short point-to-point trips.” The program is primarily being funded by federal grants as a means to stimulate economic growth, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Chicago. The bike share program is part of a greater bicycling initiative: Chicago Streets Cycling Plan 2020, which calls for “a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan.” By providing alternatives means of transportation, Chicago hopes to employ a more effective transportation system and foster a safer, healthier community.

The program name derives from the meaning “divide and share,” reflective of the nature of the bike share program; the program’s logo represents a “sharrow,” or double arrow, that is indicative of a shared road for bicyclists and motorists. The bicycles have adopted the distinct "Chicago Blue" color, which will draw attention to the program and its purpose.

The bicycles will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year, with annual memberships and day long passes available. Annual memberships start at $75 and allow for unlimited access to Divvy bikes. If you’re only staying for a few days, daylong passes are only $7 and give access to unlimited trips up to 30 minutes each for 24 hours. For a detailed map of bike stations, visit the Divvy website, listed below, or click here.

Bringing your own bike? We have a bicycle storage room on the first floor to keep your bikes safe during your stay. Be sure to check out Chicago's Lakefront Trail, spanning almost 20 miles along Lake Michigan!