Plan Green; Build Clean

O’Hare International leads the way in environmental sustainabilty at airports


The vegetated roofs are also very low-maintenance and provide for less heating and cooling of the interior of the facility.

Roderick Drew, director of public affairs for the OMP, relates that laborers have already noticed how the green roof has cooled the interior of the south airfield lighting vault despite the heat-generating equipment within.

Drew says that because it’s an airport environment, gaining approval from FAA for the vegetated roof atop the north air traffic control tower was a challenge. “We had to work very closely with the USDA and other groups to identify plant species that would not be wildlife attractive,” says Drew. Native grasses and grass swales succeeded as ideal candidates for the control tower’s vegetated roof making it the first FAA facility of it’s kind in the nation.

Design work of the remainder of the program is expected for 2009, including the design of a new western terminal, three more runway projects, and another air traffic control tower.

The OMP has submitted a passenger facility charge (PFC) application for $180 million that will help fund the remainder of the project, which is expected for completion in 2014, relates Andolino.

Andolino and the OMP team plan to influence FAA’s reauthorization bill by working with AAAE and the Airports Council International (ACI) to encourage standards for sustainable airport construction. Andolino hopes to create some opportunities within the reauthorization bill which will help airports develop sustainable construction guidlines and principles.

“We really need to start adopting sustainable practices. At the end of the day, we just want people doing what’s best for the environment,” says Andolino.

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