When it comes to “green” roofs at airports, nothing in the country tops the FedEx Express cargo facility at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, recently opened the new package sorting center, which conducts operations under the largest continuous vegetated roof at an airport in the U.S.—or the size of three football fields. At just under 175,000 square feet, the roof is plainly visible from planes as they land at one of the world’s busiest airports. The recently-opened building is also the largest green roof on a freestanding building in the greater Chicago area.
Reducing air pollution
Reducing storm water runoff
Extending the average life of a roof from 15-20 years to 40-50 years
Lowering energy costs by 35 percent a year
Reducing airport noise
“The cooperative effort between FedEx and the Chicago Department of Aviation’s O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) is a prime example of how to immediately reduce the environmental impact of airports and create value for business and for the community,” said Don Colvin, vice president, Properties and Facilities at FedEx Express.
“We have integrated responsible environmental practices into our daily operations, and we continuously work toward goals that challenge us to increase efficiencies, reduce waste and emissions and provide innovative solutions for our customers.”
“The creation of the green roof space is a key component of going green across the City of Chicago, and at O’Hare and Midway International Airports,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “I want to commend FedEx for making sustainability a priority on their new replacement cargo facility at O’Hare, which features one of the largest green roofs at an airport in the world.”
FedEx and the OMP are also pursuing LEED Gold certification for the facility, extending the company’s intent announced earlier this year of LEED certification for all new US FedEx Express properties.
The FedEx Express facility is the latest success in what has been years of initiatives to make O’Hare greener, such as building LEED certified airport facilities, recycling construction materials on the airfield, utilizing clean emission vehicles and construction equipment, installing energy efficient lighting, and even providing a habitat for honeybees with the nation’s first on-airport apiary.