300 N. LaSalle Map
300 N. LaSalle is a 60-story, 1.3 million square foot office tower with 3 levels of underground parking and street and river level restaurant space. The project has earned LEED Gold pre-certification under the LEED for Core and Shell program. Construction began in July 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Essentially all of the green features found in One South Dearborn, Hines' first LEED project in Chicago, are included here and need not be reiterated. One major, but not ground-breaking, addition is a green roof.
The project's location on the north bank of the Chicago River provides a nice opportunity for a waterfront amenity space, and together with (non-green) Trump Tower and Waterview Tower, notably alters the high-rise landscape along the river. However, this location also allows the project to claim green features not available to many projects, including discharging storm water directly into the river (rather than burdening the city sewer) and using river water for irrigation.
River water is also planned to be used as condenser water, which is used to reject heat from the building's chilled water air conditioning system. This presents an interesting environmental trade-off: this design provides significant energy and water savings by eliminating the need for traditional cooling towers, but also adds heat to the Chicago River. If great enough, the added heat could impact the river ecosystem.
Although several older buildings along the river use a similar design, most engineers have the understanding that new permits for this use are not available. However, this project appears likely to obtain the necessary permit from the Illinois EPA. I wonder if there is any quantitative way of comparing the apples-and-oranges trade-off between energy savings and river impact, and suspect this will be the last new building built along the river with this design. As I've mentioned previously, a great long-term solution for Chicago with lower environmental impact would be a lake-source district cooling system.
Finally, although only marginally related, it seems worth mentioning the recent announcement of the Hines CalPERS Green Development Fund. This committment by CalPERS, California's giant pension fund, shows that serious money is moving into green building. Hopefully some of this comes Chicago's way.
Other project team members include MEP engineer Alvine and Associates, LEED consultant BVM Engineering, general contractor Clark Construction, building automation consultant HMA Consulting, structural engineer Magnusson Kemencic, landscape architect Wolff Clements, and civil engineer Epstein . As this is a very large project just up the street from my day job (read: site visits are easy), watch for possible updates as construction progresses.