Willis Tower looks to go green, from the rooftops on down

Rooftop gardens part of plan to improve efficiency.

11/02/2009


 

Growing up in the southwest suburbs, Sara Beardsley had a view of the Chicago skyline from her house, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune . Today, she is transforming that skyline, but you won't find her work glorified on a $6 mug or gracing postcards.

Most of her impact is invisible as she attempts to reduce one of the largest carbon footprints in Chicago -- that of Willis Tower. Beardsley, a senior architect at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago, is managing a $200 million to $300 million project to "green" the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

The building was completed as Sears Tower in 1973, the heyday of energy ignorance, which means the skyscraper has single-pane windows that leak around the edges and let in hot air in summer and cold in winter, lights everywhere and inefficient electric heating throughout.

"Each old window is like a car driving around," Beardsley said. "And people don't think of it that way -- it's just a window. But I think maybe we need to start thinking about it that way."

Buildings account for about 70% of all Chicago emissions, according to the Chicago Climate Action Plan. If the largest 10 buildings in the Loop were targeted for greening projects, Beardsley said, it would reduce the energy needs of the Loop by more than 10%.

Read the full story.

 



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.