Luke Leung, P.E.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
224 S. Michigan Avenue
Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
(312) 360-4121
Region: VI
Honorarium: None

Luke is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Fellow; He is also a Centennial Fellow from The Pennsylvania State University Architectural Engineering Department; Board of Directors for USGBC (United State Green Building Council), Illinois; Chairman of the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) Committee on “Tall Buildings”; Chairman of the Building Pressure Committee, Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings; Sustainable Committee with Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; Part Time Professor at IIT;  Member of the Chicago Sister Cities Program with China; MBA from University of Chicago, MS and BAE from Architectural Engineering at Penn State University.

Luke Leung is the Director of the Sustainability Engineering Studio for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. He is the incoming Chair of ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; Team leader for ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, Commercial Buildings; Group Leader for LCA and Embodied Carbon, ASHRAE Decarbonization Task Force; National Renewable Energy Laboratory IN2 Incubator Industry Advisor; BOMA Toronto, Health Committee Co-Chair. His work includes Burj Khalifa, the world’s current tallest man-made structure; Multiple times “Excellence in Engineering” award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); Selected projects also include Pertamina Tower (Net Zero Supertall), General Motors Global Headquarters, XiongAn Net Zero Development, Beijing Finance Street, Embassy of Ottawa in Canada, Embassy in Beijing, Lakeside – 55 million sqft low energy development, a LEED Platinum building with the first large scale horizontal wind turbine in the city of Chicago; etc., and has served as a member of the editorial team for the CTBUH guide Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings, ASHRAE “Design Guide for Tall, Supertall, Megatall Building Systems”, among other publications.

21st Century Tall Building Design

The locations of cities, environmental changes, ever-increasing heights of tall buildings, and focus on high-performance design will create challenges for tall building design in the 21st century.  This dialogue will discuss microclimates of tall buildings. In particular, it will focus upon the impact 21st century climate and changing air contaminants have on tall buildings. Tall buildings should be designed to be resilient; researching and exploring related microclimate topics can inform our design.  Topics include: the integration of  tall buildings within the city to achieve optimal energy performances; the latest stack effect data, monitoring, and control; elevator door opening sequences and their impact on elevator shaft pressure; the integration of natural ventilation in tall buildings; how energy consumption changes with height; and cloud computing and advanced modeling techniques on tall building design.

Burj Khalifa – The Tallest Building in the World

This talk will focus on the design, construction, and post-occupancy of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  The tower’s design optimizes performance by anticipating how environmental factors change both in the desert climate and at different elevations. Special attention was paid to materials selection, how creep and shrinkage impacts water risers, etc. The tower features many innovative systems. Select systems include: a 460 psi chilled water system; an ice storage chilled water system; one of the world’s largest condensate recovery systems; stack effect monitoring and control; post-occupancy measurement of air contaminant levels; special balcony door sensors that inform occupants when air quality is ideal for opening the door; and a first-of-its-kind “lifeboat” elevator system that can provide controlled evacuation, among others.

Healthy Built Environment – Pandemic and Beyond

In 2019, United Nation World Health Organization (WHO) categorized health threats that can derail humans and pandemic was number three on the list. When COVID-19 hit us in early 2020, we saw it firsthand of what the impacts can be. This presentation will touch on the current pandemic but also look beyond the current shadow of COVID into the holistic health impacts in our future and what are the strategies to make us healthier. Total spending on health care was 5% GDP in 1960, and is about 18% today. It is projected to rise to about 25% by 2025, and rise to about 37% by 2050. These costs can be the element that derail our future economy if they are not adequately addressed.

Our built environment and our lifestyles have been decoupled with nature and its natural cycles. The key for a healthy future is to address our built and terrestrial environments. The parameters in our built environment include acoustic, light, air, water, microbial, material, thermal comfort, circadian rhythm, and human interactions. It is important to understand how the built environment impacts the 10 major human systems including the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and the reproductive system. Body functions are the physiological or psychological functions of body systems. The focus on this presentation will start with human centric health design, and move beyond to terrestrial health. Holistic health of humans also requires a healthy earth to thrive together. Using Amish communities as a study case, this lecture will also compare how our urban environment is different from the rural environment and how to develop a healthier environment with less chronic diseases similar to allergy, autism, asthma, etc.

The New Carbon Standards: Net Zero Operational, Embodied, Whole Life and Upfront Energy (Carbon)

While the past focus on energy and carbon is more about operational, the new focus will be on Whole Life Carbon. For the past 20+ years, the MEP industry was focused on operational energy reductions. Through strategies related to energy efficiency, utility source selection, and integration of renewable energy, great progress was made to reduce operational carbon. Our focus is now moving to the embodied and Whole Life Carbon associated with the materials and systems found in the built environment. Embodied carbon looks at the carbon impacts associated with extracting, manufacturing, and transporting materials to the jobsite, in addition to manufacturing and transportation, including impacts related to in-use and end of life. While life cycle analysis (LCA) accounts for impacts over the full lifecycle of a material, which includes embodied and operating carbon, or, cradle to grave. Also, more focus is on Upfront Carbon, or, cradle to gate to understand the carbon impact of different materials.

This will greatly impact our work tomorrow. This discussion will include different methodologies in counting of carbon, examples of different carbon calculations, and ways to reduce carbon emission holistically. With the new administration goal of 1.5C net zero economy by 2050, and 2035 all renewable electricity grid, we need to accelerate holistic carbon effort to an all-electric, and net zero future.