Canadian Consulting Engineer

China tower to have wind turbines embedded

January 22, 2007
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Chicago engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) won an international competition last year to des...

The Chicago engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) won an international competition last year to design the 71-storey Pearl River Tower skyscraper for the China National Tobacco Corporation in Guangzhou, China. <br>
“This building, I believe, will be the most efficient office building in the world,” said Roger Frechette, speaking to Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine. Frechette is SOM’s director of mechanical/electrical/plumbing and sustainable engineering.
The initial design was for the building to be a net zero energy building, but changes had to be made to eliminate some features such as basement microturbines.<br>
Nonetheless, it is hoped that the Pearl River Tower will have a reduction in energy consumption of almost 65 to 70 per cent.<br>
Among the more dramatic features that will help it achieve these savings are the plan to have more than 3,200 square meters of photovoltaics across the top and on the east and west sides of the building.<br>
The office tower will also be equipped with eight wind turbines to generate its own electricity. The tower’s facades are sculpted at the mechanical floors to guide wind into the turbines, four on each side. “The fact that this is a tall building means we have access to higher wind speeds,” said Frechette. “We’ve shaped the building in a very specific and precise way to create a pressure differential.”<br>
Using the building as an accelerator, the turbines are expected to increase the wind’s velocity by two to 2.5 times in order to generate power. The turbines may also help reduce the forces on the building’s structure. <br>
On the interior, the building will have radiant ceiling panels, which reduces the recirculation of air. Fresh outdoor air is used under the floor by a displacement ventilation system.<br>
Part of the rationale for the radiant system is to produce good indoor air quality. “In China it’s particularly important,” said Frechette. “In the last decade, respiratory disease has increased by nearly 50 per cent, so they are very concerned and cautious about air quality within their buildings.”<br>
The building will also have an internally ventilated double-wall. It is scheduled to be open in 2009.<br>


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