/ Buildings / Willis Tower Receives LEED Certification for Sustainability Achievements

Willis Tower Receives LEED Certification for Sustainability Achievements

Parul Dubey on November 9, 2018 - in Buildings, News

CHICAGO – Willis Tower, owned and managed by EQ Office, the portfolio company wholly owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds, is proud to announce that it has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold from the U.S. Green Building Council. Willis Tower achieved an initial LEED v2009 certification as well as the recertification tasks using the latest update to the rating system, LEED v4.1, which emphasizes performance and tracks progress through the Arc platform. 


Willis Tower is currently undergoing a more than half a billion dollar renovation, the biggest restorative transformation in the building’s 43-year history, adding 300,000 square feet of new retail, dining and entertainment space, including Catalog, a five-story immersive neighborhood experience, as well as 125,000 square feet of tenant exclusive amenities and a 30,000 square-foot outdoor deck and garden to the building.


“Willis Tower is a major destination in the heart of Chicago, and for more than 15,000 people, it’s also their workplace,” said David Moore, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Director, EQ Office. “As we redevelop this iconic Tower, we’re making a conscious effort to find ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce our environmental footprint. Earning the LEED Gold certification is a credit to our entire team for their hard work.”


Throughout the renovation, Willis Tower has made a number of upgrades to reduce its environmental footprint including:

  • 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 percent 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 percent.
  • Replacement of all the building’s automatic transfer switches, enhancing the integrity of its electrical infrastructure.


Willis Tower worked with Rivion, a Wisconsin-based energy consulting firm, to plan and implement these energy saving initiatives, which are just the beginning of Willis Tower’s growing efforts to reduce its environmental footprint.


“Willis Tower has long been one of the most iconic skyscrapers of the Chicago skyline, so it is fitting for it to be a sustainability leader as well by achieving LEED Gold,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “The success of LEED is due to the partnership and support of those committed to advancing green building and sustainability. We look forward to bringing sustainability leaders from all over the world to see Willis Tower during this month’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo.”


LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, benchmarking the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 2.2 million square feet of space certifies every day, and there are more than 94,000 projects participating in LEED in more than 167 countries and territories. LEED provides an independent, third-party framework that project teams can apply to create healthy, highly-efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. The latest update to the rating system, LEED v4.1, was introduced in 2017 with a data-driven path to certification and recertification for buildings and interior spaces powered by Arc. Arc is a state-of-the-art digital performance platform that benchmarks, tracks and monitors sustainability through a performance score. Buildings, cities and communities can track progress across energy, waste, water, transportation and human experience. The platform is currently tracking 1.5 billion square feet of space globally.


Willis Tower will also host the 2018 USGBC Leadership Awards reception on Nov. 14. The reception takes place during Greenbuild, the world’s largest green building conference and expo, which comes to Chicago on Nov. 14-16. To learn more about Willis Tower, including the renovation and available tenant space, visit www.willistower.com.


About EQ Office
We are EQ Office. While other real estate owners talk about square footage and floor plans, we focus on the experience; how space feels, activates and performs. At EQ, we partner with business leaders to find, design and manage balanced workspaces with the intention of helping to inspire talent. We’re proud to work hand-in-hand with customers of all sizes from Fortune 100 companies to emerging startups to bring humanity back to the work place. Our diverse team of over 200 professionals is responsible for creating inspired office environments in cities across the country including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. What began as Equity Office Properties 42 years ago, now reflects a new intelligence needed to address shifting workplace needs, as EQ Office. As a U.S. office portfolio company wholly owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds, we have the resources to lead the changes happening in work space. Explore your space for greatness at www.eqoffice.com.


About Willis Tower
Located at 233 S. Wacker Drive in the heart of downtown Chicago, Willis Tower is an urban destination and state-of-the art workplace that welcomes prominent businesses ranging from law firms to large airline corporations to insurance companies. Standing 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall, Willis Tower has the region’s most breathtaking views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Willis Tower’s Skydeck attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year with its inviting hospitality and memorable experiences, all under one roof. In early 2017, Blackstone and Equity Office announced plans for the biggest restorative transformation project in the building’s 43-year history. The $500 million renovation project now underway will add more than 300,000 square feet of new retail, dining and entertainment space at the base of the tower, 150,000 square feet of new tenant amenity spaces, and a 30,000 square-foot outdoor deck and garden. Willis Tower was recently named to the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois’ 200 Great Places list. For more information, visit www.WillisTower.com and connect on Facebook and Instagram.

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offeringsan international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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