2009 Award Winner: OMP

Extensive Industrial / Commercial

Chicago O'Hare Airport Green RoofSeen by millions of travelers, this green roof at Chicago’s O’Hare airport is part of a mega-sustainability project.

Project: O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP)
Building 607, New South Vault, Chicago, Illinois
Award Recipient: Barrett Company
(Waterproofing & Greenroof-Roofscape® supplier, Technical Consultant for Green Roof)
Owner: City of Chicago
Engineers/Architects: McDonough Associates, Inc.
Waterproofing Installation, Project Management: Pine Waterproofing, Inc.
Landscape: Terry Guen Design Associates
Edge Restraint Supplier: Thomas Cooper
Installation Contractor: Robert Ebl Inc.

Well into Phase One of the O’Hare [Airport} Modernization Program (OMP) in Chicago, Illinois, executive director Rosemarie Andolino’s “megaproject of national significance” has taken the environment into account on every aspect of the project’s design and construction. From the conception of O’Hare’s Sustainable Design Manual (SDM), to efficient construction practices and vegetated “green” roofs, the O’Hare strategy is that any area of construction where sustainability is not considered is an opportunity lost. The OMP can easily be described as one of the largest construction projects in the country occurring at one of the world’s busiest airports. Charged with reconfiguring O’Hare airport’s outdated intersecting runway system, the estimated USD $8 billion OMP broke ground in September of 2005, and has made considerable progress since. The SDM was based on the Chicago Standard and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system. The manual contains comprehensive green design and construction standards and was included in contracts and distributed to all designers working on the project.

Ohare Green Roof

The 17,800-square-foot roof on Building 607, the New South Vault Building, has a growing medium depth of six inches and is planted with native grasses to minimize maintenance requirements. The plants are expected to require only about an inch of water a week in the summer. Workers at the facility have already begun to report a cooling effect when working within the facility compare to conventional roofed buildings.

Our judges commented positively on the interest in native plants and the focus, in the project, of reducing the urban heat island effect the site. However, the judges were most impressed by the particular difficulties and benefits involved in getting a green roof built in an airport environment. The designers found it to be quite a challenge to coordinate the concerns and requirements of the different agencies and stakeholder groups involved. The new green roofs at O’Hare airport will be seen by literally millions of travelers every year.

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