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Chicago's Willis Tower Achieves LEED Platinum

Friday, January 17, 2020

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The owner of Chicago’s Willis Tower high-rise recently announced that the building has become the largest building in the United States to reach LEED Platinum.

Equity Office announced that the 110-story, 1,451-foot-tall building recently achieved the status in the late stages of a $500 million renovation.

Some History

The renovation was announced in early 2017 with the plan to set a “bold new standard for office environments and urban centers around the world.”

Photos courtesy of Real Estate Blackstone

The owner of Chicago’s Willis Tower high-rise recently announced that the building has become the largest building in the United States to reach LEED Platinum.

The 4.56 million-square-foot office building, which used to be the Sears Tower, opened in 1974, designed by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. 

The building construction used enough concrete to make an eight-lane, five-mile-long highway, according to project details. Sears sold and moved out of the building in 1988 and it was renamed the Willis Tower, after Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, in 2009.

In 2013, the Willis Tower was displaced by One World Trade Center in New York City as the country’s tallest building.

The initial plans included reconfiguring approximately 460,000 square feet of existing space. Approximately 150,000 square feet will be for exclusive tenant use, including a fitness center, expansive lounges and event space and concierge services.

A new, three-story glass structure will be situated atop the existing stone plaza. Inside will feature more than 300,000 square feet of new retail, dining and entertainment space, including a new 30,000-square-foot outdoor deck

The glass facade will allow for “unobstructed views” of all 110 floors, details relate.

Another focus of the renovation was to enhance the Tower’s 103rd floor Skydeck Chicago experience, which draws 1.7 million visitors per year.

The Updates

The renovation added 300,000 square feet of new dining, retail and entertainment space; 125,000 square feet of tenant exclusive amenities and a 30,000 square-foot outdoor deck and garden.

The renovation added 300,000 square feet of new dining, retail and entertainment space; 125,000 square feet of tenant exclusive amenities and a 30,000 square-foot outdoor deck and garden.

The tower had already achieved LEED Gold in 2018 with the following:

  • Installation of high-efficiency lighting systems with improved controls to reduce energy consumption, including the building's newly renovated LED antenna lighting system;
  • Improvements to the building's HVAC exhaust and return fan dampers, which along with the new building automation management system, will enable the operating team to better control temperatures in the building and reduce energy usage;
  • Introduction of all new air media, fan gearboxes and fan blades, along with the installation of new variable frequency drives to all four of the building's cooling towers. The modernization will supply the chillers with lower temperature condensing water, resulting in an approximate 20% savings on the electric energy consumed by the cooling towers;
  • Installation of low-flow high-efficiency units on more than 450 sinks, 650 toilets and urinals, saving approximately 11 million gallons of water consumption annually and reducing the building's water usage by 30%; and
  • Replacement of all the building's automatic transfer switches, enhancing the integrity of its electrical infrastructure.

The expansion is set to be complete in the third quarter of this year.

   

Tagged categories: Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; LEED; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Renovation; United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

Comment from Margo Commette, (1/17/2020, 8:04 AM)

Was spray foam insulation used to achieve LEED Platinum status?


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