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Thursday, January 26, 2006

69 storey China skyscaper to be self-powered by solar PV and wind energy

from Refocus Weekly

Solar and wind integrated into design for Chinese skyscraper

CHICAGO, Illinois, US, January 23, 2006 (Refocus Weekly) A U.S. architecture firm has designed a 69-story building for China that will produce more energy than it consumes.

The Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is among three finalists in an international design competition for a building in Guangzhou, a port city of 6.6 million people located 182 km from Hong Kong. The Pearl River Tower will be the corporate headquarters for a large Chinese company.

The design directs and manages prevailing winds to become ‘invisible braces’ which help to support the tower. The sculpted facade directs wind to a pair of openings on the mechanical floors, which then drive turbines to generate electricity for the building's heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

“The openings also relieve wind pressure on the face of the building,” explains project architect Gordon Gill of SOM. “Potentially-damaging negative pressure on the opposite side of the building is alleviated as well. The result is a more stable, more comfortable building.”

Energy consumption is reduced by maximizing natural day-lighting, reducing solar gain in air conditioned spaces, retaining rainwater for gray-water usage and using solar thermal collectors to heat the water supply. Stack venting, radiant slab cooling and caisson heat sinks work to chill the building, and building-integrated solar panels on the facade generate AC power.

“This is an iconic, high-performance building that is designed in harmony with its environment,” says SOM partner Adrian Smith. “It is a skyscraper for a new age.”

The winner of the design competition is expected to be announced in February.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was founded in 1936, and has designed many of the world's major buildings, including the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center in Chicago; and Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. The company has offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, London and Shanghai.

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