6 ways Shanghai Tower leads the way in sustainable engineering

The $2.4-billion, Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower is China’s tallest building and second tallest in the world.

At 632 metres high (2,073 feet), the 127-storey spiral highrise combines the latest in sustainable advancement strategies with private and public spaces. Here are some of the building’s features that make it the epitome of innovative green design.

 1 – Water efficiency

The building contains state of the art water conservation practices, including water harvesting in the crown and podium terraces, which is used for landscape irrigation as well as other uses. Located lower down in the building is the greywater recycling systems, which reduce portable water demand by around 40 per cent.

Tower’s crown. PHOTO: Google.com

 2 – Power Generation

270 wind turbines are located at the very top of the building. They provide power for exterior lighting while a 2,130-kilowatt natural gas-fired cogeneration system supplies electricity and heat to the lower areas.

 3 – Double Façade

A transparent “second skin” that wraps the building creates large community atria at each of the tower’s nine zones and also acts as a insulating blanket to reduce energy use for heating and cooling.

The “second skin” PHOTO: Google.com

 4 – Intelligent energy

The building systems enable it to lower energy costs by monitoring and adjusting lighting, heating, ventilation and self-generated power. The lighting controls alone are estimated to save more than $556,000 each year.

 5 – Green living

The tower’s nine vertical zones, containing hotels, office space, retail and cultural facilities can accommodate around 30,000 people. A central circular core with a second outer “skin” creates a light-filled atria to house the tower’s 21 sky gardens, each containing numerous plants and trees.

Tower’s sky garden. PHOTO: Google.com

6 – Tower Structure

The tower’s twisting form and swirling profile enable the building to withstand Shanghai’s typhoon-forced winds. The building’s 120-degree rotation from bottom to top reduces wind loads by 24 per cent, saving $58 million in structural costs.


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