updated version: China’s green skyscraper: The Pearl River Tower
China tries to greenwash its image of being the major polluter on the planet. Eco-architecture is part of that effort. Combined with China’s fondness for mammoth projects, a new flagship project is born: The Pearl River Tower will probably be one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the world. Wind turbines and solar collectors should generate as much energy as the 303 meter, 69 story tower will consume. Thus, Guangzhou’s new highlight is to become China’s first zero-energy skyscraper. Next to generating electricity, the building’s air conditioning and ventilation systems will be designed so that they work efficiency and conserve energy. Natural light should save the use of artificial light. The tower also features rainwater collectors. The wind turbines will be placed in openings where the wind is guided through by the building’s sculptural form and this also helps to reduce the wind load on the tower. The two openings divide the building into three sections. Light blue glass will cover the entire front.
Despite the ambitious plan and the push towards sustainability, experts doubt that the tower could become the world’s leading skyscraper in terms of energy conservation and efficiency. Air pollution will reduce the energy output of the solar panels and the sub-tropical climate of the region requires a lot of cooling.
The Chicago-based architectural and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed the building and will observe the construction of the skyscraper which is due for completion in 2009. The main occupant of the building will be Guangdong Tobacco, but many other tenants are expected to line up for getting into this leading commercial and manufacturing region at the Pearl River Delta.