The Greener, The Better

Airports show initiative in getting ahead of the environmental sustainability curve


“We were considering a green roof but we decided to go with the highly reflective ‘cool’ roof,” he says. The cool roof area will be a total of 375,605 square feet, on top of which will be a planned solar installation.

Cool roofs are made with material that reflect the sun’s rays, drastically reducing a facility’s roof surface temperature. According to Peacock, solar systems being considered for the modernization project include solar louvers, a system which costs nearly $1 million, but with tax credits and rebates can be reduced to less than half of that.

The modernization program is expected to be complete in 2014 at a cost of some $515 million, not including an automated people mover.

O’Hare Shows Airports How To ‘Get Green’

The ‘Getting to Green with New Construction Projects’ session at this year’s annual AAAE convention in Philadelphia featured a presentation by City of Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner Rosemarie Andolino. The O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) team is seen as leading the effort to standardize best practices and lessons learned regarding environmental sustainability at airports. By sharing their own success, and by soliciting information from like-minded environmentally conscious airport operators, the OMP teams look to create sustainable design guidelines for use across the industry.

“We are committed to employing the most progressive and most innovative sustainable design measures in the industry,” says Andolino.

“We unveiled our OMP sustainable design (SD) manual in 2003; since then, we have been invited to share our information with other cities and airports across the nation and around the world who have sought our assistance in how they too can incorporate sustainable design initiatives, especially in flatwork [airfield construction].”

The SD manual is distributed to all of the OMP’s design and construction contractors, as well as any team member working on the program, so that it can be implemented from day one.

Andolino says the best way to not allow sustainability to cost more money is to incorporate it from the beginning. “We have developed a rating system along with the manual as a way to measure our successes,” she says. “The rating system is very similar to the LEED rating system, and it recognizes our designers and contractors for their accomplishments.”

“In my new role as aviation commissioner, I see an opportunity to build on our airport’s existing green initiatives for operations and maintenance. I look forward to learning from other airports and incorporating further sustainability measures into our program, including more LED lighting and energy-efficient equipment, expanding our recycling and water conservation efforts, and creating a green concession program. These efforts will support long-term cost savings for the city as well as for the airlines.

“We are currently assembling a select group of industry experts to update our sustainable design manual, which will incorporate best practices and lessons learned during phase one of the OMP. The new manual will also include advances in technology as well as relevant updates from the next generation of LEED standards.

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