Chicago’s Loyola Green Building Proves Successful

The Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons, a green building at Loyola University in Chicago, was planned with hopes of cutting energy usage by as much 50 percent. Since the prominent building opened in January of 2008, the building has surpassed expectations, using new innovative methods for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. The four-story, 70, 000-square-foot building uses energy-efficient radiant ceiling slabs that are comprised of looping tubes that carry heated or chilled water. Daniel Bulley, executive sirector of the Green Construction Institute in Chicago told CPN, “ I think the most exciting thing about the project is the using of both radiant heating and cooling. While heating has been done for years, radiant cooling is much less common. What makes the use of the radiant heating and cooling innovative is that they used it on a glass building and made it work through brilliant integration with the solar loading based on solar studies and automatic blinds and shades.” During the chilly Chicago winters, warm water loops through the tubes and provides warmth. When the weather is hot, the water is chilled through the tubes. The system uses existing equipment to deliver the water to the building, and a green roof also collects rainwater, and drains the extra water into Lake Michigan. Other new methods have been used in the building. Automated window-opening will allow for the well known windy breezes the lake to cool the interior space. Also, the building’s facade uses two layers of glass separated by space, (known as a double-skin facade). Air circulates between the layers, and four-inch horizontal blinds are moved by the sun throughout the day, to reflect excess heat while they simultaneously light the building. Hill Mechanical Group of Franklin Park, Ill., installed the new green HVAC system which is the primary source of savings. Hill Mechanical has worked on HVAC projects for O’Hare International Airport, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Hill is a member of The Mechanical Contractors of Chicago, which has created the MCA Green Institute of Chicago. The MCA provides education and special green building skills training.