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

ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

Map It!


Located in the heart of Chicago, the Richard J. Daley Center is a 31-story, 1.5 million-square-foot government building. It is home to local government offices, Cook County Law Library, an original Pablo Picasso sculpture, and one of the nation's largest courthouse systems. Built in 1965, the Daley Center was Chicago's first major public building to be constructed in a modern architectural style, dissimilar to the classical style seen throughout the city. Designed by architect Jacques Brownson of C.F. Murphy Associates, the International Style architectural style is based on the revolutionary steel and glass skyscrapers of world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Originally known as the Chicago Civic Center, the building was renamed the Richard J. Daley Center in 1976 in honor of the late mayor who died in office that year. In 2002, the Daley Center was designated as a landmark by the City of Chicago.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago (owners of the Daley Center on behalf of Cook County and the City of Chicago) and MB Real Estate (management firm for the building) have long recognized the value of energy conservation measures. Since 1994, we have tracked the Daley Center's energy and water usage and implemented measures to achieve significant reductions in water, electricity, and gas consumption.

The Daley Center provides significant challenges as it was designed for assembly use with 33-percent fresh air intake. The 12-foot, floor-to-ceiling height throughout the building and 30-foot floor-to-ceiling height in several courtrooms increase the volume of air that needs to be conditioned. More than 27,000 people come through the Daley Center every day, putting heavy demand on its cooling system. With 375 semi-private and 70 public restrooms, water demand is also high.

Induction System Modification
Our most recent innovation involves a modification to the building's induction system operation. Since the building's opening, the perimeter fan systems operated along with the perimeter induction pumps in heating mode 24 hours a day when outdoor air temperatures were below 38oF. To conserve energy, we developed a no-cost energy conservation measure. We began shutting down the three perimeter supply fans and three perimeter return fans from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. during the week, and only operated the fans from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays, turning them off on Sundays.

To temper the air at the perimeter to offset the heat loss when the building was unoccupied, we initiated BAS programming to automatically raise the heating water temperature so the perimeter induction units would act as radiators rather than fan coils. Although this created a slight offset in temperature, it was easily regained at start up.

This retrofit was a no-cost energy conservation measure. By changing run times and reprogramming the induction pumps, the Daley Center saved over an estimated 5,405,000 kWh and $540,000 in 2009.

Boiler/Cooling System Modification
Since 1997, we've implemented numerous modifications to the Daley Center's boiler system to help reduce the amount of therms used by 33 percent. These modifications include:
-- Replacing cooling and steam coils, steam traps, and filter banks on major air handling units.
-- Installing high-performance, low-leak dampers with new actuators on major air handling units.
-- Retrofitting four boilers with low NOX burners and O2 trim control.
-- Re-tubing boilers #1 and #4.
-- Reducing boiler plant operating pressure to 60 psi.
-- Shutting off boilers during summer evenings and weekends.
-- Installing variable speed drives on boiler feed water pumps and major supply and return fans.
-- Retrofitting four existing chillers to R134A refrigerant, including compressor modification.
-- Replacing evaporator and condenser tube bundles for four existing chillers.
-- Installing new pumps and variable speed drives on chilled, make-up, and condenser water pumps.
-- Replacing infill and baffles on cooling towers and installing variable speed drives on fans.
-- Replacing city water-cooled air conditioning units.
-- Upgrading York direct digital control (DDC) chiller controls, variable air volument (VAV) box DDC controls, and Siemens building automation system.
-- Shutting off chiller during low-load summer evenings.

Lighting Modification
Although the Daley Center has many areas operating with efficient lighting, we discovered additional opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs with the lighting systems, including:
-- Converting to T-8 lamps/electronic ballasts throughout the building (except 2nd floor).
-- Installing lighting control systems for public corridors and lobby lighting.
-- Shutting off lobby lighting during sunny days.
-- Installing additional sub-meters for the electrical system to better understand building usage patterns.

Since 1994, these lighting modifications have reduced electrical consumption in the building by 54 percent (approximately 26,000,000 kWh).

Water Conservation Measures
Since 1994, we have been active in reducing water consumption at the Daley Center despite being challenged with maintenance and consumption of more than 670 lavatories, 120 urinals, and 680 water closets. We implemented a variety of conservation measures, including:
-- Changing all high-consumption flush diaphragms to reduced-flow diaphragms.
-- Switching urinals on the lower level of the building from timer-operated to motion sensor flush valves.
-- Installing high-water level alarms on the building automation system to monitor cooling tower and make-up water system overflow conditions.
-- Converting non-balanced makeup valves to balanced-control valves on cooling tower and make-up water system; previous OEM valves tended to malfunction due to high system pressures.
-- Converted 40 city water-cooled package units totaling 700 tons to a dedicated cooling tower system.

By implementing these water conservation measures, we reduced the Daley Center's annual water consumption by more than 116 million gallons since 1994, a 71-percent reduction.

Next Generation Improvements
To further our energy conservation efforts, we began developing a guaranteed energy performance contract in 2008. After the completion of an investment-grade energy audit, nine additional energy conservation measures will be implemented in 2010. These measures include:
-- Conducting additional lighting retrofits with new T-8 technology lamps and reflectors on custom lighting fixtures.
-- Retrofitting original water fixtures with low-flow toilets, urinals, and faucets.
-- Optimizing the building's energy management system.
-- Converting existing chilled water constant-volume primary system to a variable-volume system.
-- Adding new boiler controls on two boilers.
-- Converting two existing air handling units to variable-volume operation.
-- Installing chilled water coil isolation valves.
-- Retrofitting two chillers with new synchronous motors, starters, compressors, control panels, and cooling tower controls.

We are proud that our current energy-saving and cost-effective solutions have not only benefitted the Daley Center, but also the people and environment in the Chicago community.




"The Daley Center is a public facility, serving various different government entities and thousands of citizens daily. As such, the efforts toward sustainable design and operational effectiveness have an exceptional impact. The savings--in terms of energy costs reduced and natural resources preserved--are substantial and will be realized throughout the lifecycle of this building."

-- Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director, Public Building Commission of Chicago

Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by Public Building Commission of Chicago 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:*
Public Building Commission of Chicago

Property Manager:*
MB Real Estate Services, LLC

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2009 (75)
2011 (76)
2012 (82)
2013 (82)
2014 (80)
2016 (83)
2017 (87)
2018 (90)

Facility Type: Courthouse

Total Floorspace: 1541766 sf

Year Constructed: 1965

Contract Type: None

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant