Sustainable Chicago, Spring 2017 - page 4

It’s tempting to assume that a landmarked building like the
Rookery has been preserved in architectural amber. But the
world-renowned structure isn’t exactly the one that Daniel
Burnham and John Root designed in the 1880s. After the
turn of the century, Frank Lloyd Wright famously applied a
gilded eggshell cladding to the lobby. In the 1930s, William
Drummond, formerly a Wright protégé, added Art Deco ele-
ments, including bronze elevators etched with birds matching
the building’s moniker. The twelfth story was largely rebuilt in
the 1990s when Burnham & Root’s original office was restored.
The latest changes to the building have been
subtler. Like many other historic office buildings in
the central business district, the Rookery has been
busy for the last several years implementing sustain-
able strategies that will allow it to stay relevant for
the next century.
One early measure was to take part in ComEd’s
retro-commissioning program. This project, which
evaluates building systems to identify opportunities
for reduced energy consumption, should be familiar
to most building owners and operators as it is free
to qualifying buildings and results in an average of
5% reduction in baseline peak demand.
As a result of the retro-commissioning, the Rook-
ery changed its economizer system to include en-
thalpy controls. “We initially had the standard free
cooling, where—when the weather permitted—we’d
bring in outside air to save on mechanical cooling
costs,” said Shawn Freeman, Able Service’s Chief
Engineer of the Rookery. Bringing in cooler outside
air can be counterproductive if that air is too humid.
With the installation of humidification sensors
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