Zurich Insurance Headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. © James Steinkamp Photography.

Zurich Insurance Headquarters



Thornton Tomasetti provided sustainable strategy consulting and energy modeling services for a 780,000-square-foot office complex for Zurich Insurance’s new North American headquarters. The 11-story building is comprised of three primary “bars” stacked and arranged to maximize views of the surrounding landscape and optimize solar orientation.

To achieve LEED Platinum certification, Thornton Tomasetti developed and analyzed several different sustainable strategies to incorporate into the overall building design. During schematic design, the team performed water balancing studies and developed multiple greywater and rainwater strategies for water reuse. Detailed daylighting studies were carried out to evaluate the effects of automated interior blinds. Exterior shading devices were analyzed in Honeybee and adjusted at each orientation to maximize performance.

The building features a narrow floor plate to allow daylight in to all the occupied zones. There is a ventilated double wall façade on the lower portion of the south-facing, three-story cafeteria. Thornton Tomasetti provided CFD modeling on the double wall to verify performance and optimize operations of the façade. The 4.5-foot-wide double wall with integrated shades improve daylighting and are designed to reduce solar gains in the summer while increasing the gains in the winter, saving an estimated 30 percent energy consumption in the adjacent space.

LEED NC Platinum
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Concepts and Tools


Our team provides development and evaluation of preliminary sustainable daylighting concepts to determine how daylight comfort parameters can be enhanced. We use various daylighting modeling programs such as Daysim, Radiance and Ecotect to determine the daylight performance of complex façade systems. In addition, our simulation team is developing parametric modeling tools that use feedback loops to optimize shading, reflectances and geometries to achieve desired daylight levels. These tools help design teams reduce dependency on artificial lighting, improve spatial quality and reduce operational costs.

Concepts and Tools

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