China is in the lead of the green technology field. One show case of green building technology in the country is Pearl River Tower, 309-meter-tall sky scraper in Guangzhou, also informally, and quite fittingly, called the City of the Immortals. Pearl River Tower was an epic project that redefined sustainable building in the new millennia (SOM, 2010). The sky scraper was designed a zero-emission building (ZEB) and is one of the most ecological buildings globally. It is also one of the most exciting projects for us at Windside Production.
Pearl River Tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), a stand out amongst the most renowned architect and planning firms internationally. The design of the building has brought SOM many awards including Award of Excellence: Sustainable Design Category 2015 and the Green Good Design Award in 2014 (SOM).
Sustainable energy systems in green building
Pearl River tower is a land mark in Guangzhou. The building was designed and built for commercial and office use, to release some of the growing pressure of dense construction development in the city. The city district is prosperous but suffers from pollution due to overdevelopment. To reach zero-emission building standards, Pearl River Tower combines several different sustainable energy solutions such as solar panels, double skin curtain wall, wind power, chilled ceiling system, an under-floor ventilation air, and daylight harvesting.
Windside Production stepped into the picture when the architects and engineers of the project contacted us to provide wind turbines to produce energy for the building’s micro grid system. The tower has four wind tunnels and in each of them a 5-meter-high and 2-meter-wide vertical-axis wind turbine. The tunnels work as kind of a speed way for the wind, which compresses and accelerates in the narrowing tunnels meeting the mechanical floors, giving the turbines a nice breath of wind to work on. The wind turbines installed, provide circa 30 000 kWh of energy per year which makes up to 5 % of this magnificent building’s energy needs. The tunnels also work in favor of the ventilation system, which recycles the wind that is pulled in the tunnels and to the wind turbines.
Custom made turbines for skyscrapers
In 2011 four engineers from Windside headed to China. This was actually the second time they were going to Guangzhou, the ancient terminus of the Silk Road. They had been there the previous year to integrate two Windside wind turbines into the structure of The Canton TV-tower. The 604-meter freestanding structure functions also as an astronomical and observation tower and was built for the 2010 Asian Games. At the time it was the tallest building in the world and stands as a land mark across the road of Pearl River Tower, the destination of our engineers this time.
The area being exposed to earthquakes and typhoons, a custom-made solution to the size – and the fixings of the turbines was required and invented by our engineers. Also, skyscrapers tend to sway a little, and the turbines’ fixings had to be modified so that rotation, and power production, would not be compromised. The massive structures of the building left our engineers at awe. It is no wonder, since in Finland, where Windside and our engineers originate from, buildings are traditionally rather small and the tallest construction reaches 88,5 meters.
The turbines were lifted to the wind tunnels, with ropes along the walls. The tunnels are situated at 100 meters and 200 meters. Definitely not a job for someone scared of heights. There were approximately 2000 people working on site and the lines for the elevators were constant, as people working, went up down the statuesque building, says Risto our inventor. Frustrated with waiting in line, for what seemed like an eternity, Risto decided to take the stairs down one evening after a day’s work. However, in the morning, he returned to the elevator lines and decided to take the waiting as a nice little break. 200 meters of steps going down is a hard work out for any pair of knees.
Integration work of the four wind turbines sized 10m2 was done in two weeks. As Risto climbed to the top of Canton TV-tower and looked at the match box-sized houses and the Pearl River Tower, which also stood far below him, he felt inspired and grateful. There were wind turbines he had designed, built and set up with colleagues, integrated in two incredible buildings of this ancient city. At night the lights of the megalopolis were amazing.
Windside vertical-axis wind turbines
- Quiet Turbines and Low Vibration Turbines
- Safe for humans, animals and property
- Long life span with minimum need of maintenance
- Turbines that can produce energy from 2-3 m/s and up to 40 m/s
- Suitability for the turbulent wind environments around buildings
- Suitable for limited areas in buildingsand urban environment
You can read more about the project’s sustainable design from https://www.som.com/projects/pearl_river_tower__sustainable_design and from https://www.howitworksdaily.com/the-pearl-river-tower/
SOM, https://www.som.com, cited 10.2.2016.
Yle, 2016, Aasian kehittyvät kaupungit.
Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou, cited 20.2, 2019.