222 S. Riverside Plaza

Chicago, IL

222 S. Riverside, exterior at night


GBA performed engineering studies and MEP design for a large-scale redevelopment of the 34-story, 1.23 million-square-foot commercial office building on the Chicago River.


ASHRAE Region VI, Technology Award, First Place (Commercial Buildings, Existing), 2017

ASHRAE Illinois, Excellence in Engineering Award, 2016

Redevelopment Project, Analysis and Design

222 S. Riverside Plaza, located over rail tracks serving Chicago Union Station, was built in 1971 and is undergoing a large-scale redevelopment for a new owner. The work is proceeding while the building is occupied. Development projects include general mechanical upgrades; a fully rebuilt plaza (hardscape, landscape, drainage, lighting, and irrigation); renovation of the existing lobby; and addition of amenities areas.

GBA has performed both an ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit and an eQUEST energy model. Findings are informing the ongoing development projects.

Mechanical infrastructure work thus far has included:

  • Expansion/modernization of the existing Building Management System.
  • Implementation of energy-saving sequences of operation for major building equipment.
  • Controls upgrades on the existing centrifugal chillers and conversion of the chilled water distribution system to a variable-primary system.
  • Upgrades to the tenant cooling loop.
  • Variable frequency drive installation on all supply and return fans and all pumps.
  • Conversion of the interior constant volume air systems to variable volume.

Since changes began to be implemented, the building’s electricity use is down 15%. On a peak cooling day, the high-rise core AHUs operated at 85% speed, and the low-rise core AHUs operated at 53% (compared with 100% speed and constant volume in the prior design). Peak chiller operation has reduced from three chillers to two. GBA anticipates that the savings will ultimately reach 22% of total energy consumption.

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