FedEx Sprouts Sprawling Green Roof at O'Hare Airport

FedEx Sprouts Sprawling Green Roof at O'Hare Airport

FedEx Express, the cargo airline of FedEx Corp., has completed its latest contribution to the green roof initiative at Chicago's airports -- a vegetated roofscape that covers almost four acres.

The nearly 175,000-square-foot green roof, which could easily accommodate three football fields, is one of three FedEx Express has installed at its facilities at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and one of 12 planted by the airport system and its tenants (PDF) at the city's three airports.

The green roof atop FedEx Express's main sorting building (pictured left) is the largest of the company's vegetated roofs at O'Hare. The other two carpet 3,170 square feet of the roof for the FedEx Express vehicle maintenance center and 10,024 square feet of the firm's world services center.

The sorting building's vegetated roof also is the largest of the dozen green roofs at Chicago's airports and will out-size two others that are planned. The company claims its newest green roof is bigger than at any others at U.S. airports.

Green roofs help cool the buildings in the summer and keep them warm in the winter. They generally help reduce energy costs by as much as 35 percent a year and can triple the lifespan of a roof. The roofs also capture and use stormwater, reducing runoff; and they help buffer noise. In addition, the roofs dissipate the "heat island" effect created by a concentration black- and dark-topped surfaces, like traditional roofs and parking lots. With their great expanses of tarmac, airports are a prime examples of heat islands.

FedEx Express's participation in green roofing is one of the firm's efforts to reduce its environmental impact and is part of the FedEx Corp.'s green program. Other major efforts by FedEx Express include its green building program. Earlier this year, the cargo airline's global headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, and a facility in Las Vegas earned LEED-Gold certification. A year ago, it added solar power to its hub in Germany.

The company's green goals include:

• Reducing aircraft emissions 20 percent by 2020 on an emissions-per-available-ton-mile basis, compared to a 2005 baseline.

• Increasing vehicle efficiency by 20 percent by 2020, also based on 2005 levels

• Sourcing 30 percent of jet fuel from alternative fuels by 2030

• Increasing general of renewable energy on site and procurement of renewable energy credits

The firm's green roof efforts and others at Chicago's airports are expected to be highlighted at the Airports Going Green Conference next week.

Image courtesy of FedEx Express via Business Wire