EQ Office, a U.S. office portfolio company wholly owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds, recently announced that Willis Tower in Chicago is now the largest building in the U.S. to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) Platinum designation. It earned the certification under LEED’s latest v4.1 rating system, which is the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) strongest rating system to date. Willis Tower had earned LEED Gold in 2018.
"Willis Tower is in the middle of an exciting evolution, transitioning from an office building into a neighborhood that delivers the best experiences of life and work in Chicago," said David Moore, senior VP and portfolio director of EQ. "Our tenants and their employees are passionate about working in offices where sustainability is a priority, and we're proud that our commitment to sustainability, which extends throughout our portfolio, has earned Willis Tower the prestigious LEED Platinum certification."
In partnership with Wisconsin-based Rivion, EQ implemented several enhancements to help Willis Tower achieve the milestone, which included revamping its HVAC system to help reduce energy consumption by up to 20%; reducing heating water energy consumption by replacing electric hot-water generators with natural gas hot-water boilers; upgrading the lighting control system and installing energy-efficient LED lights; and installing low-flow, high efficiency sink faucets, toilets and urinals to cut water consumption by up to 30%, or 11 million gallons annually.
In addition, Willis Tower is undergoing a more than $500 million renovation to further improve sustainability efforts while adding value to the building, including retail, dining, entertainment, tenant-exclusive amenities and an outdoor garden and deck.
"Transforming our buildings and communities to be more sustainable happens one project at a time, and Willis Tower has been a leader in showing how green design, construction and operations are not only good for the environment, but for tenants as well," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC.