Green and Solar Permit Incentives

The City of Chicago encourages building design, construction and renovation in a manner that provides healthier environments, reduces operating costs, and conserves energy. The Department of Buildings offers three programs for projects that include green elements, the Green Permit Benefit Tier Program, the Green Permit Program, and the Solar Express Program. The Green Permit Benefit Tier Program offers qualifying projects an expedited permit process and possible reduction of permit fees. The Green Permit Program also offers projects with green elements (geothermal systems, green roofs, photovoltaic systems, rainwater harvesting systems, solar thermal panels and wind turbines) a priority review process. Included below is a Green Permit Flow Chart with detailed instructions. The Solar Express Program expedites permitting for solar panel installations.

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.

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

Permit applications that include green technologies such as green roofs, rainwater harvesting, solar panels, solar thermal panels, wind turbine and geothermal systems are REQUIRED to be submitted through a Green Permit Program Project Administrator. Links to requirements for these green elements are included below:

Process:

To participate in the Green Permit Benefit Tier Program, the applicant must submit documentation outlining all of the green building components to be included in the project. These components will be discussed at the initial Green Permit Program orientation meeting. To maximize the benefits of the Green Permit Benefit Tier Program, applicants may contact the Green Permits Project Administrator to set up a meeting once the projection of construction documents has begun. The applicant is then guided through the expedited permit process by a dedicated Green Permit Project Administrator.

Green Permit Information:

Checklists:

Solar Express Permit Program Information and Technical Guidelines

The Solar Express Permit Program is designed to incentivize solar panel installations.

  1. Additional Photovoltaic Panel Wind Loading Standards Allowed for Flat Roof Installations
  2. Department of Buildings PV permit process pathways
  3. Photovoltaic Panel Guidelines
  4. Required Submittal Information
  5. Span Tables