FedEx O’Hare Opens City’s Largest Green Roof

The FedEx Cargo Relocation Facility, is part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), now includes the largest green roof in the City of Chicago. The 3.9 acre structure is the size of three football fields or roughly 175,000 square feet.

The roof is visible from planes as they take off and land from O’Hare. Globally, this is the second largest green roof structure, behind a green roof at the Frankfort, Germany airport.

Designed and developed by Intrinsic Landscaping, Inc., the FedEx Cargo building is one of 12 green roof structures between O’Hare International and Midway Airport. Most airports are made of large areas of impermeable concrete surfaces. Green roofs cool the urban heat island effect and help with storm water management. In addition, they reduce noise, air pollution and lower energy costs.

“Green roofs act like a sponge for heat, light and water and they conserve energy by maintaining a constant temperature inside the building,” said FedEx Deputy Commissioner of Sustainability Amy Malick.

FedEx calculates that this structure will save 20 cents per square foot of green roof per year on energy costs alone and will absorb approximately two million gallons of storm water each year.

“The creation of the green roof space is a key component of going green across Chicago, and at both airports,” said Rosemaire S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “I want to commend FedEx for making sustainability a priority on their new replacement cargo facility at O’Hare.”

FedEx and the OPM are pursuing LEED Gold certification for the facility, which would extend the company’s intent, announced earlier this year, of LEED certification for all new FedEx properties.

The FedEx facility is the latest success in many initiatives to make O’Hare greener, such as building LEED certified airport facilities, recycling construction materials on the airfield, utilizing clean emission vehicles and construction equipment, installing energy efficient lighting and providing a habitat for honeybees in the airport apiary.

Photo: tcooper1960

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