Urban Innovations

At a Glance


Real Estate

Project Types

Data Analysis, Engagement and Behavior Change




Chicago, IL

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Annual kWh Savings:

1,000,000 kWh

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Annual CO2 Reductions:

1,500 metric tons


Jacob Huber worked on a sustainable brand strategy for Urban Innovations and identified energy-saving opportunities.


Urban Innovations, a real estate development firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, brought on Jacob Huber to examine internal and external branding of its sustainability efforts. Urban Innovations’ commercial property division had been very proactive with sustainability efforts, but no targets had been set or unified efforts made to communicate this to internal or external stakeholders. Huber undertook a fact-finding mission to determine which sorts of sustainability efforts were in place, how to best communicate those efforts, which sorts of arguments resonated with key decision makers and how to best move forward.


Huber began his project by using surveys and interviews to examine stakeholder perspectives on sustainability and elucidate the current sustainability narrative at the company. This effort yielded a number of insights that should prove valuable not only to communicate the way that Urban Innovations approaches sustainability, but also to help guide future actions. The key message was that Urban Innovations needed to communicate its sustainability efforts to stakeholders more intensively and with a unified voice. A small, two-page sustainability report was created as a discussion piece to align messaging and was disseminated to stakeholders upon agreement of the leadership team.

Huber undertook a variety of other efforts to support sustainability efforts and energy efficiency on the commercial side of Urban Innovations. He also benchmarked a number of the company’s affordable housing properties to evaluate the potential for energy savings on a macro level. Huber identified potential annual savings of $152,000, greater than 1 million kilowatt hours and 100,000 therms of natural gas. He then drafted a green tenant standards document with inspiration from the commercial tenant survey to give tenants access to a simple resource of sustainability solutions. Recycling and composting signage was redesigned to increase engagement, and green procurement was investigated and proposed for Urban Innovations’ main office.

Potential Impact

Making strong efforts to become more sustainable, disseminating best practices across departments and communicating a clear stance on this issue should not only generate operational savings and benefit the environment, but also make Urban Innovations’ employees proud of where they work and differentiate its offering in a world where sustainability is an ever-growing concern.


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