Chicago O’Hare’s South Air Traffic Control Tower achieves LEED Gold

March 19, 2019

EXP is proud to announce that the Chicago O’Hare International Airport South Air Traffic Control Tower (SATCT) has achieved LEED Gold. EXP provided full architectural and engineering services from concept design through post-construction phase services for the 207-foot tall tower and 9,943 square foot base building, as well as site development and perimeter security.

Our design breaks away from the “norm” to create a striking but modest shift from the traditional shaft and bulb-top design of traditional FAA Control Towers. This design evolved as the result of an intensive iterative design process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the City of Chicago. Paramount to the success of the SATCT, was the layout of the equipment and the introduction of this solution to invert conventional tower plans by elevating “core” elements (elevator/stairs/shaft) to the perimeter, opening the center of the tower for direct access underneath the cab from the junction level rooms.

The overall design provides a simple, durable and elegant facility that has the flexibility to adapt to change as new technologies emerge to meet the needs of the FAA, while also achieving the objectives of the Chicago Department of Aviation. This collaborative process, combined with a concentration on sustainable solutions, provided the opportunity for the facility to serve the well-being of the built and natural environment.

Some of the sustainable features that contributed to LEED Gold Certification:

  • 14% predicted reduction in energy usage when compared to a baseline building
  • 40% water use reduction
  • Vegetated roof reduces heat-island effect, stormwater runoff and extends the life of the roof
  • Closed loop geothermal system for cooling and heating needs
  • No CFC-based or HCFC-based refrigerants were used in HVAC&R systems
  • Individual lighting and thermal comfort controls for 90% of occupants
  • Outdoor air delivery monitoring system
  • Measurement and Verification Plan developed by the CxA for meters and energy use
  • Air handling units provided with filters that have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting
  • Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures, flow restricting fittings and auto-sensor operated flush valves
  • Daylighting provided for at least 88% of all regularly occupied spaces, and views provided for at least 90% of all regularly occupied spaces
  • Design exceeds the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007 for ventilation
  • LED lighting

Read more about how the sky’s the limit on O’Hare’s South Air Traffic Control Tower’s project page.

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