IIT Laboratory Building Seeks LEED®-CI Certification: Technology Business Center at Illinois Institute of Technology

Monday, October 9th, 2006

3440 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60616 Map

Wexford Equities

Cannon Design

3440 S. Dearborn

3440 S. Dearborn

Of the green buildings in Chicago I’ve covered so far, this may be the most low-key about its greenness. The developer’s website has no mention that the project has earned LEED®-CS precertification, which is remarkable considering that the intent of precertification is to boost marketing credibility. Of course, the project also is a far cry from some of the higher-rated projects in town, but nonetheless should celebrate the efforts it has made.

The greenest feature of the project is clearly the reuse of the building. The costly creation of an atrium provides a more modern, open interior that meets modern tenants’ expectations. The building is also located in an Illinois historic district which prevented the primary facades from being modified – renovations restore these to their original design intent.

Some related IIT campus site improvements were lumped together with this project to boost the project’s green credentials. This includes use of native plantings, light-colored sidewalks, and improved stormwater management with underground detention (very common in Chicago). Creative site boundary definitions are often used to maximize LEED® points, as exemplified here: for development purposes the building and sitework are considered wholly separate projects, but they are grouped together for the LEED® application.

The project is not seeking any water efficiencies inside the building, which is fairly unusual because specifying low-flow plumbing fixtures is a simple solution. In this case, however, the stringent expectations for plumbing fixtures in laboratories makes this strategy less easily acheivable.

Energy consumption on this type of project is hard to pin down. Laboratories are notorious energy hogs because of the large amount of exhaust air required for chemical hoods or other special uses. However, laboratory exhaust is not provided on this project – tenants must install their own systems. One hopes that future tenants will do their best to minimize their energy requirements – in this sort of application, carefully considered tenant design and construction guidelines become especially critical to achieving an occupied building as efficient as the core and shell. The core and shell is claiming 10% energy savings (over ASHRAE 90.1-1999), which is easily achievable with basic envelope upgrades and installation of modern mechanical systems.

Project completion is expected by the end of 2006. All project design services were provided in-house by Cannon Design. Other project team members include general contractors Bulley and Andrews and Broadway Consolidated in a joint venture and commissioning agent Cotter Consulting.

3440 S. Dearborn is a 138,000 sf core and shell laboratory building and one of the first pieces of the University Technology Park at IIT. The building was formerly the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chemistry Research Building and was purchased by a private company for redevelopment. Rehabilitation work on the original 1959 structure includes installation of a new atrium, exterior wall and window renovations, and new MEP services to accommodate future tenants. The tenant spaces may be built out as simple offices or wet or dry laboratories. The project is seeking a LEED® Certified rating under LEED® for Core and Shell.

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