City of Chicago - Green Building Permit Programs

July 15, 2022


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 a 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:


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.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Illinois
Incentive Type: Green Building Incentive
Web Site:
Administrator: City of Chicago
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar - Passive
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Solar Space Heat
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Daylighting
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
  • Yes; specific technologies not identified
  • Wind (Small)
  • Hydroelectric (Small)
Expedited Permitting Process: Goal is less than 30 business days. Varies by project type and sector.
Density Bonus: Not applicable


Name: Green Permit Program Benefit Tier Structure


Name: Permitting Department
Organization: City of Chicago
Phone: (312) 744-3449

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.