Chicago Tribune Freedom Center

HVAC System Upgrade

HVAC System Upgrade


Inappropriate air distribution, poor temperature and humidity control, and negative pressurization in the pressroom were adversely impacting printing operations in the Tribune's 700,000-square-foot printing plant. An HVAC system upgrade engineered by G/BA eliminated these problems and saved a significant amount of energy.


Source Award
1991 Society-Level Technology Award, ASHRAE (second place)
1990 Energy Innovation Award, United States Department of Energy
1990 Energy Awards Program, Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources
1990 Technology Award, ASHRAE Region VI (first place)
1989 Excellence in Engineering Award, ASHRAE Illinois Chapter


  • Two 40,000-cfm hospital-grade custom air handling units
  • Recirculation of 60,000 cfm from the dust collection system to the pressroom make-up air handling unit, saving roughtly $140,000 a year in heating costs
  • Conversion of six air handlers, with flow of over 650,000 cfm, to variable volume, saving more than $175,000 a year and correcting pressurication problems
  • Conversion of temperature and pressurization controls to DDC
  • The project paid for itself in nine months with energy savings