Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Furthers Preservation Mission Through Sustainability Measures


John Katrakis, president of J.T. Katrakis & Associates, is the engineer leading the energy study, which has been funded by SEDAC, the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center. The Center aids Illinois private and public Illinois facilities to save money through saving energy.

Katrakis said the energy recapture study involves three steps: updating the energy model so it reflects LEED guidelines, determining what the additional energy required would be and predicting energy usage needed at various conditions, and then determining measures that could enable the facility’s energy to be used more efficiently.

He said they are currently on the first phase of the study and hope to complete it by the end of May.

Katrakis said the LEED-related design and certification process took several years because the goals changed during the development of the facility. The team originally registered the project with the U.S. Green Building Council in October 2005 at the start of the design phase to pursue the Council’s LEED Version 2.1 Silver certification.

“However, during the course of construction the owner asked if Gold certification was achievable. Extra effort was made to investigate and incorporate a broad range of additional design and construction measures,” Katrakis said. “The good results from the USGBC’s final review of the design credits in August 2011 made it feasible to pursue and achieve LEED Gold certification.”

The facility received LEED-Gold Version 2.1 certification when its final construction credits were approved by the USGBC in January 2013.

Acting Executive Director Simon, who managed the construction project, said she thinks the Museum could have earned Platinum certification if they had “worked backward.”

“I would have looked at things in a more microscopic way,” she said, looking to design the facility with the aim of Platinum and focusing on making it as sustainable as possible.

The overall physical construction cost was about $28.5 million, according to Simon.

“This place was built to last forever,” Building Operations Manager Scheurich said. “It was built like a truck.”