A Model for Sustainability

O’Hare’s megaproject offers lessons in sustainable design; environmental practices


Additional features include the utilization of approximately 94 percent of concrete and asphalt material from local sources; the mandated use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel in all construction vehicles of greater than 50 horsepower; and the construction of on site concrete and asphalt plants to reduce traffic movements associated with the construction process, says Prosise.

Tenant Relocations: A Sustainable Approach
Due to the runway reconfiguration of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), some tenant facilities required relocation. During the relocation program formulation, the OMP
included “allowances” for sustainable initiatives. Tenant negotiations included an agreement on an approach to meet sustainable design.

  • FedEx Metroplex Relocation
  • FedEx’s new world service center and administration facilities will pursue LEED Silver certification and will include a 10,000-square foot green roof.
  • The FedEx sort building will have a 175,000-square foot green roof which will rank as one of the top 25 largest vegetated roof spaces in the world.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car Facility

  • Three buildings on 3.5 acres; pursuing LEED Silver certification.
  • Green roofs will be installed on two buildings.
  • Stormwater design includes installation of a dry-well system.
  • At least 75 percent of construction debris will be recycled.
  • Installation of high-efficiency fixtures and waterless urinals.

The O’Hare Modernization Program: Additional Sustainable Initiatives
The $6.6 billion O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) was announced in 2001 and is charged with reconfiguring the airport’s outdated intersecting runway system. The program includes the construction of a new runway, relocation and extension of existing runways, and a terminal and gate facility on the west side of the airport.

South Detention Basin

  • Use of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) on all pumps to minimize the costs associated with pumping ground and stormwater.
  • Use of high-efficiency motors.
  • Efficient use of on site clay soil materials as a liner system to prevent petroleum products from contaminating groundwater.
  • 2.8 million cubic yards of soil managed on site; eliminated 105,000 truck movements.
  • Demolished concrete was stored for use in the Runway 10L extension project.

South Airfield Lighting Control Vault

  • Construction of an 18,000-square foot vegetated green roof.
  • Installation of low-flow fixtures resulting in a water use reduction of 23 percent.
  • More than 75 percent of construction waste diverted from landfill disposal.
  • Use of low-emitting VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, adhesives, and sealants.

Runway 10L Extension

  • Use of recycled crushed material and asphalt grindings.
  • Use of an on site concrete batch plant.
  • Usage of 240,576 tons of material purchased regionally (manufactured locally within 20 miles of the site).
  • Use of lime kiln dust for soil stabilization.

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