Chicago’s Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, will replace some of its outdated windows with energy efficient panes that also generate solar power.
Built in the 1970′s, when the idea of energy conservation seemed laughable, and bigger always meant better, the Willis Tower was constructed with single-pane windows that leak around the edges and let in hot air in summer and cold in winter, lights everywhere and inefficient electric heating throughout.
The pilot project, to be deployed on the south facing windows of the Willis Tower’s 56th floor, uses a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solution that has the potential to expand to a surface area allowing over two megawatts of solar power generation.
Developed by Pythagoras Solar, these optically-enhanced solar window are the first to deliver energy efficiency, PV power generation, and transparency in a standard form factor that is easily integrated into conventional building design and construction processes.
“We are incredibly proud to be considered to contribute our part for the ‘greening’ of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the iconic Willis Tower,” said Gonen Fink, Co-founder and CEO Pythagoras Solar. “With its combined benefits, our technology is set to provide Willis Tower with a valuable tool that will help move it toward its energy efficiency goals.”
In early 2010, it was announced that owners of the Willis Tower would invest about $200 million to $300 million to upgrade its energy efficiency, including an overhaul of its 16,000 inefficient windows.
The Tower’s 1451-foot height contains space for enough power-generating windows to be comparable to a 10 acre solar power plant.
Image Credit: Flickr - functoruser