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February 9, 2012

Metropolis Strategies Publishes Green Cluster Study

A new report from Metropolis Strategies provides some ideas for nurturing industry clusters in our region, one of GO TO 2040'srecommendations to support economic innovation. Prepared by RW Ventures and Innovation Network for Communities, "The Chicago Region's "Green" Economic Opportunities" reportidentifies several opportunities for economic innovation in the region's burgeoning green sectors. It describes how entrepreneurs, investors, existing businesses, and other stakeholders can seize on economic opportunities to nurture several local green industries.

Half of the report is a "drill-down" analysis focused on Chicago's energy-efficient lighting sector, which includes backlighting of appliances such as computers, automotive lighting, and general lighting of homes, businesses, and communities. Energy efficient lighting will grow in the coming years because of the nation's forthcoming transition to more efficient light bulbs (spurred by federal regulations), increasing energy costs, and consumers' demand for more efficiency. The report explores how the region's energy efficient lighting sector could grow rapidly because of its already high concentration of lighting industries and existing assets in research, design, and commercial and energy efficient building development. It also describes some steps for targeted coordination and collaboration across businesses and industries that could allow the region to create a leading hub for innovation in the energy efficient lighting.

Several other green sectors are also profiled: biofuels/biomass, green chemicals, organic farms and food production, recycled content products, smart grid, solar thermal energy, vehicle electrification, water purification and treatment, wind energy, and green building including building energy management and energy efficient lighting. Environmentally responsible and sustainable businesses operations like these are identified in GO TO 2040as integral parts of the region's success in the future. Each sector offers unique opportunities for growth and development that are linked to the region's existing networks of research and development, production and support industries, infrastructure, and human capital. CMAP will continue to monitor these developments because industries such as smart grid technologies, wind energy and the development of the energy efficient lighting will also help the region's businesses and residents manage and conserve energy and water resources.