March 20, 2019

We are pleased to share that our design for O'Hare's Emergency & Standby System Replacement Generators 1-6 has received a Green Airplane Certification from the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)!

The Green Airplane Certification comes out of the CDA's forward-thinking Sustainable Airport Manual (SAM). The SAM provides architects, engineers and construction professionals, as well as vendors and suppliers, with guidelines for incorporating sustainability into all planning projects, from design and construction, to everyday operations and maintenance activities, and the actions of concessionaires and tenants at O'Hare and Midway International Airports.

The Emergency & Standby System Replacement Generators were cited for the following achievements:

  • Construction Waste Management
  • 90 percent, or 21 tons, of construction waste was diverted from landfills, primarily wood and metals
  • Recycled Content
  • 23 percent of construction materials contained recycled content
  • Local and Regional Materials
  • 53 percent of construction materials were obtained within 250 miles of the project site
  • Water Efficient Landscaping
  • Proposed landscaping selections do not require irrigation other than natural irrigation
  • Balanced Earthwork
  • 100 percent of all excavation will be reused on site. All soils will remain on airport property

Epstein is providing engineering and architectural design services required to replace and design the new power system, which includes the generators as well as electrical distribution in all of the terminals and the Hilton hotel. Essentially, this infrastructure is a backup power plant that serves various emergency and standby loads throughout the entire airport. In the event of an outrage, its what O'Hare relies on to make sure power to selected systems is maintained.

The Epstein-designed replacement is more computer driven and digitally based than the former system. It increases the existing capacity from 8-10 megawatts to 18 megawatts, enough to power several thousand homes. The system includes over 120 automatic transfer switches, located throughout the airport, to allow for the critical loads to be transferred to the backup power source in an outage. In addition, the generators, distribution, and transfer switches are all networked and monitored to provide O'Hare the means to easily run and maintain the system. As a result, O'Hare will acquire greater system functionality and efficiency during emergencies in which normal operations have been impaired.

We are extremely proud of the design and engineering solutions our team was able to develop for O'Hare, and are pleased to be recognized by the CDA!