City of Chicago - Green Building Permit Programs

Program City of Chicago - Green Building Permit Programs
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State Illinois
Administrator Chicago Center for Green Technology
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting
Sectors Residential

The Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) Green Permit Program provides developers and owners with an incentive to build green by streamlining the permit process timeline for projects which are designed to maximize indoor air quality and conserve energy and resources.

The DOB offers two Green Permit Programs for projects that include green elements: the Green Permit Benefit Tier Program and the Green Elements Permit Program. The Green Permit Benefit Tier Program offers qualifying projects an expedited permit process and possible reduction of permit fees. The Green Elements Permit Program also offers projects with green elements (geothermal systems, green roofs, solar photovoltaic systems, rainwater harvesting systems, solar thermal panels and wind turbines) a priority review process.

Green Benefit Tier Permit Process

Projects meeting the following criteria are eligible for the Green Benefit Tier Permit Process:

  • Commercial projects must earn certification within the LEED or Green Globes rating systems.
  • Residential projects must earn certification under LEED for Homes or Green Globes rating systems.

All projects must implement green strategies or green technologies to receive incentives. See the above website for more details on the menu of options available.

Green Elements Permit Process

Projects consisting solely of green roof, renewable energy equipment, rainwater harvesting, or geothermal installations are required to submit a permit application to the Green Permit Program Project Administrator for proecessing. 


Projects accepted into the Green Permit Program can receive permits in fewer than 30 business days. The number of green building elements included in the project plans and project complexity determines the length of the timeline. In addition, projects which meet the most stringent sustainability guidelines may also qualify for a partial waiver of consultant code review fees, up to $25,000.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants must involve DOB early in the design process. DOB will help to guide the applicant through the process to ensure the shortest permitting process time.

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