Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago is a multi-disciplinary, research-based facility that includes classrooms, research and teaching labs, a biodiesel production facility, an aquaponic farm, and a greenhouse. The 215,000 SF complex also includes a 357-bed undergraduate residence, café, and social and study lounges, all of which are integrated into IES programs and environmental systems to create a unique and transformative educational experience.

The LEED Gold building’s design integrates program elements and reuses byproducts and waste, creating closed loop efficiencies and resulting in a Net Zero Ready community. The building’s focal point is the greenhouse, which offers the campus an architectural landmark and an example of mission-aligned design. The greenhouse is an active urban agriculture learning laboratory that also serves as a link between the Institute’s residential, academic, and social programs. Both beautiful and hardworking, its iconic, minimalist enclosure assists natural ventilation and facilitates rain water harvesting. Other sustainable features include Chicago’s largest geothermal field, grey water systems, green roofs, and living walls. The design team worked to expose and reveal these sustainable strategies wherever possible to turn the building itself into part of the educational experience—a living/learning laboratory guiding students to develop a conservation ethic.

Architect of Record

Solomon Cordwell Buenz


Loyola University Chicago

General Contractor

Power Construction Company


  • Elara Engineering
  • Halvorson and Partners
  • Transsolar, Inc.