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Sears Tower in silver? The idea isn't exactly as good as gold

Post Time:Feb 25,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:164

Might Sears Tower, thebrooding black mountain of the Chicago skyline,turn a shiny silver?Don't count on it, even ifsuch an outlandishmovemight cutenergy costs atthe nation's tallest building.

Followingthis morning'sChicagoSun-Times story that the skyscrapers' ownersare looking atre-covering the tower in silver,a Sears Tower spokesman confirms that the owners want toimprovethe energy performance of the 110-story office building, but adds that"any details at this point would be speculative."

It's beenknown for monthsthat the owners have asked Chicago architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gillto devise waysto dropthe tower's energy consumption.Among the ideas floated: Putting wind turbines and solarpanels on the roof. Now comes the Sun-Times with a fancifulillustration thatimaginesthe tower with a new skinof silvery mirror glass instead of its current cladding ofblack anodized aluminum and bronze-tinted windows.

Experts in energy-saving architecturesaysucha plancould cut two ways."Changing the facade color of the Sears Tower from black to a lightercolor that absorbed less heat would reduce its air-conditioning costs," said Doug Farr, a Chicago architect who has made green design a hallmark of his practice.

On the other hand, Farrsays, "you would not want it to become mirror-like and produceglare andessentially shine lightinto neighboring buildings."

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