The Sears Tower in Chicago is to undergo a “green” change that will cost a cool $350 million. The plan is to make the 110-story office tower,the tallest building in the United States as well as in the Western Hemisphere at a height of 1,450 feet, “a beacon for environmentally sound space.”
American Landmark Properties, which owns Sears Tower, expects to cut the building’s electricity consumption by 80% and water consumption by 40%. Sears Tower, built in 1973, will be renamed Willis Tower later in the summer of 2009.
The 9-point “green” plan for Sears Tower includes the following measures:
- Replacing the tower’s 16,000 tinted single-pane windows and creating a ‘thermal break’ between Chicago’s chilly winters and hot summers and the interior.
- Installing gas boilers equipped with fuel cells, which generate electricity, heat and cooling.
- Revamping the tower’s 104 elevators and 15 escalators to reduce their usage of electricity by 40%.
- Conserving 24 million gallons of water with new restroom fixtures and ‘condensation capture.’
- ‘Harvesting daylight’ by installing systems that automatically dim lighting based on available natural light.
- Installing solar panels to heat water.
- Erecting wind-turbines, if possible.
- Planting green roofs in order to reduce storm runoff and the urban heat island effect.
- Replacing granite plazas and walls surrounding Sears Tower with trees, terraced park space, glass storefronts, and an interactive digital display.