LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in the following key areas of human and environmental health:

  • sustainable site development
  • water savings
  • energy efficiency
  • materials selection
  • indoor environmental quality

A handul of buildings at O'Hare have obtained LEED Certification including:


North Airport Traffic Control Tower

O'Hare's North Airport Traffic Control Tower is the first in the U.S. to earn LEED Silver Certification. The tower utilizes ultra-low flow lavatories in the Base Building, resulting in a 21 percent water use reduction compared to the baseline value (25,800 gallons per year vs. 32,800 gallons per year). This amounts to an annual savings of 7,000 gallons.

Additionally, the project purchased Renewable Energy Credits to provide 2,040,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy over a two-year contract. The tower design team was also awarded four green airplanes under the Sustainable Airport Manual green airplane rating system. The tower includes an 8,910 square foot vegetated green roof on the Base Building and a 917 square foot vegetated roof on the Electrical Building, making it the first on-airport FAA facility in the nation to feature a vegetated roof. 

The CDA is also pursuing LEED Certification for the future South Airport Traffic Control Tower.

Enterprise Rental Car Facility

The CDA's commitment to sustainability has encouraged tenants to follow suit. A great example is the Enterprise Rental Car Facility that was completed in the summer of 2010. The facility is located on the northeast corner of O'Hare consisting of three buildings on a total of 3.5 acres.

Several initiatives helped Enterprise obtain LEED Silver Certification, making it the first airport car rental branch in the aviation industry to receive LEED Certification for new construction. In order to minimize water usage, high efficiency fixtures and waterless urinals were installed and water reclamation systems are used in the car wash stalls. Dry well systems at each of the 20 storm inlets on site are also utilized to help with stormwater management.

During construction of the tower, at least 75 percent of non-hazardous construction debris was recycled or salvaged. Special fixtures were also installed to reduce light pollution. The Enterprise Rental Car Facility features vegetated roofs on the maintenance building (3,627 square feet) and the Customer Service Center (2,847 square feet).


Signature Flight Support Facility

In August 2012 the CDA opened a larger and greener terminal for corporate jets and other general aviation aircraft. The facility replaced the existing fixed-base operator (FBO) facility, which needed to be relocated as part of O'Hare's ongoing airfield reconfiguration under the O'Hare Modernization Program.

Located towards the northeast end of O’Hare, the 9,150 square-foot private terminal earned LEED Silver Certification for sustainable features including:

  • water conserving plumbing fixtures
  • native and drought-tolerant landscaping
  • preferred parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles
  • recycled/re-used building materials from previous FBO including fencing, cameras, signage and furniture
  • a high reflectance “cool roof” to reflect solar heat
  • convenient access to public transportation
  • energy-efficient lighting and HVAC equipment
  • locally obtained construction materials
  • environmentally friendly carpets and floors.

The project also received three green airplanes under the CDA’s Sustainable Airport Manual rating system.

FedEx World Services Center

The FedEx World Services Center achieved LEED Silver Certification in 2011 by incorporating several unique sustainable features, including:

  • A 10,024-square foot vegetated roof
  • Permeable pavement for walkways
  • Reducing water use by 30 percent compared to the baseline projection
  • Diverting 75 percent of construction waste from landfills
  • Using no or low volatile organic compound (VOC)-emitting sealants, paints and coatings
  • Obtaining 20 percent of building materials from local sources
  • Ensuring that 75 percent of the indoor space had natural daylight and views outside
  • Preferred parking spaces for carpools and vans

The CDA has also installed a LEED Silver Certified Consolidated Rental Car Facility at Midway International Airport.