Commercial, Energy Efficiency  -  December 21, 2018

Willis Tower reaches for energy upgrade

The 110-story Willis Tower in Chicago is undergoing a series of energy improvements covering HVAC, lighting, cooling towers, and elevators, which is expected to cut energy consumption and costs by 10% to 15%, providing significant savings the 4.5 million-square-foot building.

These upgrades are part of a $500 million makeover for the building, formerly known as the Sears Tower, according to a report by Commercial Property Executive. About 300,000 square feet of new retail, dining, and entertainment space will be added. The project will be completed in 2020.

“We retrofitted the HVAC, added motion sensors, put lighting control panels in tenant areas and switched to LED fixtures,” said Gary Michon, Willis Tower’s general manager. “This also included a complete upgrade of the building automation system to better control temperature, HVAC sequencing, and energy monitoring.” 

EQ Office, which owns the building, is also upgrading chillers and cooling towers. The report explained, “By lowering the water temperature of the water supplied to the property’s four 3,000-ton cooling towers, the modernization will reduce the towers’ energy consumption by about 20%.” Other energy-saving measures include the installation of high-efficiency lighting systems, notably the building’s newly renovated LED antenna lighting system.


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