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New Willis Tower Antenna Lighting to Recolor Chicago Skyline

Parul Dubey on July 26, 2018 - in Buildings

How many people does it take to change the antenna light colors at Willis Tower? Now, thanks to a high-tech upgrade, the answer is officially one. Previously, when Willis Tower changed the antenna light color, a crew had to wait for ideal weather conditions (low winds, no rain/snow), travel to the top of the tower and manually place color pallets over every single light. The process took up to four hours.

With its recently installed new lighting tech, Willis Tower is now able to do simple antenna color changes in about four seconds, as well as display more intricate color animations.

Photo Courtesy EQ Office

Here are a few additional highlights regarding the new technology:

  • Unlimited color combinations: The old technology meant Willis Tower antennas could display about twelve colors. With the new tech, the range of colors is endless (even colors the human eye can’t detect), and each antenna can be lit with several color rings. Colors can also animate up and down each antenna.
  • Energy savings: The new lights are LED and are expected to save the building more than 70% in antenna-lighting energy costs.

o   The new LED lights emit 337,248 lumens, which is the equivalent of 337 car headlights (new car LED headlights average 1,000 lumens) on top of Willis Tower.

  • Lighting requests: Willis Tower receives 30 requests on average per year to change the antenna light colors. This number will likely increase, due to the ease of updating colors.
  • Manpower savings: Now one person can make color changes using a computer or cellphone. Previously, two electricians had to travel to the 109th and 110th floors to make the color change manually. They then had to manually change the color back to the standard white.
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