CHICAGO, IL.- The Art Institute of Chicago
announced that the Modern Wing , the museum's 264,000-square-foot addition that opened May 16, 2009, has been awarded LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The certification recognizes the Art Institute's commitment to sustainability and best practices in design and construction.
"We are honored to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council," said James Cuno, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute. "Sustainable building in museum design is an extremely challenging prospect, given the unique mission that museums have to preserve and display one-of-a-kind works of art in very specific conditions. We were very fortunate to have worked with the architect, Renzo Piano, to successfully balance the twin priorities of building a sustainable museum and creating the safest conditions for works of art. And we are also very grateful to the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and Exelon Corporation, the Green Architecture Partners of the Modern Wing."
The LEED Silver certification was based on a number of green design and construction issues, including: the double-skin envelope or façade of the building, which creates a climate-controlled cavity that efficiently regulates temperatures and humidity levels in the galleries; a hybrid VAV ventilation system; the building's reduced use of water; the innovative light filtration system that incorporates Piano's signature "flying carpet" and that makes it possible to use safe natural light to illuminate the galleries; construction waste management; the building's system for collecting and storing recyclables; green housekeeping practices such as the installation of industrial cooling fans
; and low-emitting materials.
The Art Institute of Chicago was an early leader in the field of energy conservation, having installed, nearly twenty years ago, what was then the largest solar array in the Midwest on the roof of its Daniel L. and Ada F. Rice Building. Thus sustainability was an important component of the Modern Wing since the earliest stages of its design. Approximately $19 million of the total project cost of $294 million was devoted to the creation and implementation of energy efficient and renewable features.