First LEED® Gold Certified Police Building in US: Orland Park Police Station

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
15100 S. Ravinia

15100 S. Ravinia

15100 South Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park, 60462, Map

SRBL Architects

Construction Manager
George Sollitt Company

Landscaping Architect
Hitchcock Design Group

Commissioning Agent

LEED/Sustainable Design Consultant
Helen Kessler

By Mike Russo

In April of 2004, the Orland Park Police department made the decision to build a new facility to house its 100+ employees and officers. The senior officials decided to build a building with a focus on using sustainable materials and improving indoor environmental quality. The site chosen for the new building was an old one-story warehouse building with huge concrete wall planks lining the exterior.

Police Chief Timothy J. McCarthy, known famously for receiving a bullet to the chest during the attempted assassination of former President Ronald Reagan, was most adamant about the air quality. One of the best ways to eliminate breathing in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when you choose an existing structure is to make sure none are still left when you start construction. With this in mind, SRBL Architects and the city did a full building flush of the HVAC system to eliminate VOCs. This helped eliminate “dead spots” in the ductwork and other deposits of debris. Also, instead of using one big fan to circulate air inside the HVAC system, the building used a large line of smaller fans that both improve efficiency of the system and reduce electrical consumption as well as reducing operating expenses.

A second priority for the construction was to incorporate day lighting. The thick concrete panels of the old warehouse were ripped away and replaced with windows, creating an open, very light-driven, contemporary structure like sitting in a terminal at O’Hare Airport. The building was also equipped with an overhang protecting the glass walls from emitting too much light in the wrong areas. The orientation of the building takes advantage of morning sunlight. In particular, the in-house exercise facility is flooded with morning light. Unfortunately, due to an unfavorable ruling by the USGBC, the building was not awarded LEED® points for day lighting. SRBL Architect Jake Davis, while disappointed in the missing points, was still upbeat about the project. “I don’t really consider it a loss. We feel that considering this is the first Gold Certified Police building in the country, and that there were no renewable technology added to the building, we did very well.”

Asked why the city did not elect to incorporate more green technologies, Davis said the city did not see the benefits as offsetting the costs of the more power producing technologies, like wind or solar.
Despite the absence of green power, Orland Park’s police station should serve as a practical example to how higher efficiencies can be achieved in renovated buildings.

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