Sears Tower to Get Green Retrofit


The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere will undergo a $350 million “green” retrofit that its owners said on Wednesday will make the 110-story office tower a beacon for environmentally sound space.

Plans call for the 1,450-foot Sears Tower to reduce its electricity consumption by 80 percent and water usage by 40 percent. It will be renamed the Willis tower later this summer in a deal with new tenant global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings.

To achieve the savings, owner American Landmark Properties and its partners plan to:

– Replace the 1973 tower’s 16,000 tinted single-pane windows and create a “thermal break” between Chicago’s frigid winters and hot summers and the interior.

– Install gas boilers equipped with Fuel train, which generate electricity, heat and cooling.

– Revamp the tower’s 104 elevators and 15 escalators to cut their electricity usage by 40 percent.

– Conserve 24 million gallons of water with new restroom fixtures and “condensation capture.”

– “Harvest daylight” by installing systems that automatically dim lighting based on available natural light.

– Install solar panels to heat water.

– Erect wind turbines on building setbacks, if possible.

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