Return to ENERGY
Find More Facilities
ENERGY STAR Labeled Buildings & Plants
Facility Profile ENERGY STAR Logo

ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

181 W. Madison Street-MBRE
181 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Map It!


Since its opening day in 1990, the 50-story 181 W. Madison building has been an attractive addition to the Chicago skyline.  Designed by Cesar Pelli, of Cesar Pelli and Associates, the building features Italian marble cladding.  It also features silver reflective double-glazed glass that provides an abundance of natural light in the building, reflects heat in the summer, and retains heat in the winter.

The building is now owned by an affiliate of the GE Pension Trust and managed by MB Real Estate Services LLC (MBRE).  MBRE has pursued a number of strategies to lower energy consumption in the building, including:

1)      Regular preventive maintenance on their chillers. 

2)      Taking advantage of their mechanical system design (Environmental Systems Design of Chicago), which allows them to utilize free cooling in the spring and fall, and to use a smaller pony chiller for light loads.

3)      Over the last eight years, the building had added variable frequency drives (VFD's) to their six 75-hp cooling tower fans, two 100-hp supply fans, and five of their thirty-eight 25-hp supply air fans.  In 2008, MBRE took advantage of a utility rebate program and completed the conversion to VFD's by adding 33 more to their 25-hp fans and one 40-hp supply fan.  The chief engineer has noticed an unanticipated benefit of adding VFD's to the cooling tower fans:  the softer starts have reduced the amount of structural maintenance required on the towers.

4)      Encouraging tenants to install T-8 fluorescent lamps into new or rehabbed tenant spaces.  Over 95% of the building is now converted to T-8 lamps.

5)      Installing occupancy light sensors, hands free faucets, soap dispensers, and urinals in all of the bathrooms. 

6)      All common area lighting has been put on the Building Automation System.

7)      HVAC start times have been set back.

8)      Night setback sensors have been installed to control after-hours heating based on indoor space temperature.

MBRE is now looking at possibly replacing the original chillers with new higher efficiency machines.




Although I consider our building and its mechanical systems to be well designed, there are always improvements to be made.  Our most recent initiative was to complete the installation of variable frequency drives on our supply air fans.  Utility rebates are certainly worth exploring: In our case, the utility rebate covered 30% of the total project cost.

-- Jerry Palmere, Chief Engineer, MB Real Estate LLC

Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by SPUS6 181 W Madison, LLC or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Building Owner:*
SPUS6 181 W Madison, LLC

Property Manager:*
MB Real Estate

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2008 (75)
2009 (76)
2010 (78)
2011 (83)
2012 (80)
2013 (75)

Facility Type: Office

Total Floorspace: 1072103 sf

Year Constructed: 1990

Contract Type: Multiple Vendor Contracts
Financing Type: Internal Capital

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant