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Largest Passive House office building in the U.S. headed to Chicago’s West Loop

Largest Passive House office building in the U.S. headed to Chicago’s West Loop

The largest office building in the U.S. to achieve Passive House certification will go up at 310 N. Sangamon Street in Chicago. Located around the corner from Google’s new headquarters in the city’s West Loop, the building will offer 268,000 square feet of office space and 7,800 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Most Passive House buildings are single-family homes as the building style follows a rigorous set of design principles that work with building systems, insulation and windows to create an air-tight structure for higher energy efficiency. But this design, developed by Mark Goodman & Associates, Inc. and with SCB serving as the architect for the building, will take those applications and implement them in a 12-story commercial tower.

“The Fulton Market’s business landscape is fast becoming a dynamic haven for entrepreneurial and creative industries and we’re incredibly proud to lead the way in low-energy buildings that promise to become the next generation in office design of the future,” said Mark Goodman, president of Chicago-based Mark Goodman & Associates. “While Passive House construction is big in Europe, this will be the largest office building on American soil to offer this type of energy efficiency.”

Built to ambitious standards, Passive House buildings require little energy for heating or cooling with the end goal of keeping the indoor temperature consistent every day of the year, regardless of weather. And those energy savings can be significant, with Passive House designs using up to about 86 percent less heating energy and 46 percent less cooling energy than most buildings. What’s more, these buildings also have the power to enhance employees’ well-being.

“Not only are there studies that show eco-friendly office space like those found in Passive House buildings can improve health and productivity, but it’s also the day-to-day tangible benefits that workers will appreciate,” said Goodman. “Just think how many times employees find themselves complaining about the temperature in an office, fiddling with the thermostat or buying a fan or heater for their desk because they’re either freezing or boiling. There is definitely something to be said for having an office at the same steady, comfortable temperature every day, especially in Chicago where the weather is constantly changing.”

As part of the Passive House standard and best‐practice ventilation design, the building will provide filtered, tempered, 100 percent outdoor air through a dedicated ventilation system. According to Goodman, the fresher air should keep employees more alert and less sick. The interior spaces will also feature a sleek, modern design and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes and furniture that minimize the off‐gassing of typical finishes that can lower air quality and may lead to short- and long-term adverse health effects.

“PHIUS+ passive buildings like 310 N. Sangamon provide tenants and landlords alike with low utility bills, excellent comfort, healthy indoor environments and greatly reduced maintenance as well as ecological footprints,” said Katrin Klingenberg, executive director of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), which provides certification for 310 N. Sangamon.

Other features in 310 N. Sangamon are modern, loft office space dedicated to floors 3 -12 and an indoor parking garage for 47 cars on the second floor. Office tenants will have access to common spaces such as a fitness room, outdoor terrace and bike storage room. The building is located three blocks from the new CTA Morgan Station and in proximity to Google and McDonald’s Midwest headquarters.