Chicago Public Library’s Chinatown Branch Wins Excellence in Engineering Award Project is Recognized for Its Innovation, Energy Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness

Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277
Patrick Molloy, Chicago Public Library, (312) 747-4050

Chicago’s Chinatown Branch Library has been awarded an Excellence in Engineering Award from the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), highlighting the innovation, energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of this unique building’s mechanical systems.

Developed by the Public Building Commission on behalf of Chicago Public Library, the library opened in August and features state-of-the-art, energy efficient radiant heat and cooling ventilation systems The building is an example of how effective planning and cost-effective design can yield excellent outcomes.

The mechanical systems were designed by dbHMS, a minority-owned business enterprise based in Chicago that provides a full range of services including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection, lighting and information technology design. The firm served as a subcontractor to the Design/Build team of Wight & Co. and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill which designed and built the new library at Archer and Wentworth Avenues in the Chinatown community.

“We are pleased to announce this award and the recognition it brings to the work that our partners do to develop innovative and environmentally sustainable projects,” said Felicia S. Davis, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission. “Together with our clients, we strive to develop energy efficient buildings that are not only comfortable for the people who use them, but are cost-effective to operate over the lifetime of the facility.”

The City of Chicago’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management owns and operates the building for the Chicago Public Library.

“Not only does the Chinatown Branch Library bring a world-class, community-specific design to this neighborhood, it operates in a cost-efficient way,” said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “We are proud of this recognition and our partners the PBC for helping us bring the community a 21st century library in an innovative way.”

The Excellence in Engineering Award is given annually by ASHRAE’s Illinois Chapter. Executive Director Davis and Commissioner Bannon joined representatives from dbHMS in accepting the award on December 8 at an awards ceremony in downtown Chicago.

About the PBC: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Felicia S. Davis serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

About Chicago Public Library: Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit

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