I was completely floored (and excited) to read this article about how the Sears Tower in Chicago (recently renamed the Willis Tower) is to undergo a $350M green retrofit that will give it a green roof and it’s own wind turbines. This will reduce the energy consumed by the tower by 80% and its water consumption will drop by 24 million gallons.
As this blog notes:
the U.S Department of State estimates that buildings account for an estimated 36 percent of overall energy use, 65 percent of electricity consumption, 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and 12 percent of water use in America. Green improvements to Sears Tower are aimed at reducing electricity use by 80% in just four years, equating to 68 million kilowatt hours or 150,000 barrels of oil per year. The architects firm responsible for the retro-design, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, has also designed a 50 storey highly sustainable tower to accompany Sears Tower on its south side which will draw power from the improved efficiency measures and work as a net-zero energy development.
So this renovation – which is to start immediately (note the shovel readiness of it) this project will:
- create a more efficient and thus profitable building (benefiting Chicago businesses and the tax base)
- reduce US consumption of oil by 150,000 barrels a year (reducing cash outflows and helping America’s balance of trade)
- will immediately create 3600 jobs yo complete the work (in the construction industry, which has been hard hit by the financial crises)
- help train and provide practical experience to, construction workers, contractors, design firms & others in creating green buildings (position them for the next economy)
This is a stimulus plan that works. Recently I argued we need a stimulus plan that is low of carbs and fat on data… this is just another example of the types of shovel ready projects that leave a legacy. Canada’s plan to date? Pave some roads and build some bridges all so that we can burn more gas moving cars around.