Owners of the building in Chicago, and the tallest construction in the western hemisphere, have announced plans they say will result in ‘unparalleled’ energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions.

An estimated $350m, with a number of private and public financing and funding options currently being explored, will be spent on the improvements.

Plans include reducing the base building electricity use by up to 80%, which includes a combination of energy savings and co-generation measures.

Improvements to the efficiency of the tower include new glazing, water saving and improvements to 104 high speed elevators and 15 escalators to achieve 40% reduction in their energy consumption.

John Huston of American Landmark Properties, the partnership that owns Sears Tower, said: “Sears Tower, an iconic structure that defines the city’s skyline, will undergo a groundbreaking transformation that creates economic growth with positive impact on our environment, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

“As the stewards of this icon, we take seriously our responsibility to make it relevant and successful, and the changes made and benefits realized through the bold sustainable initiatives at the tower serve as an example that a sustainable future is more than a concept, it is within our reach.”

Lighting for the building will also be upgraded through advanced lighting control systems and daylight harvesting.

An advanced lighting control system that automatically dims lights based on the amount of sunlight entering through the windows.

The building will also become a beacon for Renewable energy like wind and solar, and technologies like green roofs that will be tested.

Wind turbines will be tested to take advantage of the tower’s height and unique set-back roof areas.

Green roofs that can sustain high- altitude conditions, and that will be among the tallest in the world, will be tested to reduce storm water runoff, improve insulation, help mitigate the urban heat island effect, and provide pleasant vistas for tenants overlooking the areas.

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie