Navy Pier Honors Earth Day with Successful Implementation of Pier-Wide Sustainability Practices
In honor of Earth Day, Navy Pier is proud to share that its Pier-wide sustainability practices are yielding positive results. Thanks to major improvements as part of the Pier’s ongoing physical and programmatic redevelopment, the iconic landmark has made successful strides towards preserving and protecting the environment through expanded greenspaces, water and energy conservation, implementation of innovative storm water management, use of recycled local materials, improved pedestrian access, and much more.
Key advancements include:
• Expansion and development of a 13-acre greenspace, now known as Polk Bros Park
• Planting of approximately 200 hundred new native and appropriately adapted trees
• Potential annual water savings of nearly 370,000 gallons due to water conservation efforts
• 1.5 tons of storm water sediment kept out of Lake Michigan per year
• 43,000 square feet of permeable pavement installed throughout the Pier
• 80 percent lighting energy reduction in Festival Hall as a result of switching to LED lights
• 60 percent reduction of overall energy consumption Pier-wide through the selection of efficient lighting, sensors, pumps, aerators and more
• Landfill diversion of 16 percent in 2016 due to concentrated recycling initiatives
As a result of these concerted efforts, Navy Pier recently achieved Gold certification under the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) rating system, the first project to earn this level of certification under SITES v2. This certification recognizes the Pier’s exemplary stewardship and unwavering commitment to preserving its surrounding environment while remaining a world-class destination with expanded programming and more engaging public spaces for locals and visitors, alike.
“We are honored to receive SITES certification from such a prestigious and highly regarded organization,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO, Navy Pier, Inc., the nonprofit charged with the management and redevelopment of Navy Pier. “Creating a model of sustainability for not only Chicago, but institutions around the world, was at the forefront of our minds as we embarked on the re-imagination of the Pier’s public space.”
While already having made great progress, Navy Pier is only just getting started with its eco-friendly practices. As part of its Centennial Vision, the popular lakefront destination has committed to a 30-year Sustainable Master Plan that will address energy, water, waste, transportation and community for the Pier’s long term vitality.
James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm, has played an integral role in Navy Pier’s transformation into a greener, more sustainable Pier. JCFO’s innovative redesign has created stronger connections between city and lake with unique spaces for guests to enjoy by de-cluttering and simplifying what was once an overly commercial space and adding forward-thinking infrastructure that further augments the Pier’s sustainability practices.
“SITES informed much of our design process, from access and circulation studies to plant and material specifications,” said James Corner, Founder and Design Director of James Corner Field Operations. “It was an important tool that kept our entire team accountable to a high standard of best practices and resulted in an unprecedented project—the transformation of Chicago’s Navy Pier into an authentic and green destination reflective of the city’s identity.”
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy elements of the redesign is the new storm water management system, which improves the quality of Navy Pier’s storm water runoff and controls its volume by capturing and filtering it through the 43,000 square feet of permeable pavement made of recycled concrete. The system also redirects and utilizes storm water for plant irrigation.
In regards to recycling, Navy Pier set rigorous specifications for materials used during construction. Nearly 30 percent of materials used were made from recycled content. Throughout the construction process, 100 percent of the structural waste and 99.94 percent of roadway and infrastructure waste was diverted from landfills. To continue the green efforts, the Pier has implemented a new waste management plan that includes solar-powered recycling receptacles throughout its campus.
Reducing energy consumption has also been a major priority for Navy Pier. In partnership with ComEd, the Pier recently overhauled the lighting in Festival Hall, removing 308 1000w high-intensity discharge fixtures and replacing them with 225 LED fixtures. Other areas and spaces throughout the Pier will soon follow suit, including the exterior façade near the Aon Grand Ballroom, Lakeview Terrace, Pier Park, loading dock and more. Additionally, Navy Pier signed on to a five-year Green-e certified renewable energy credit contract for 100 percent of its energy usage.
For more information on Navy Pier’s sustainability practices and redevelopment efforts, visit www.navypier.com.