Serious Replacing Glass in Empire State Building Windows

March 9, 2010

Serious Materials plans to retrofit glass in more than 6,500 windows in the Empire State Building as part of a project expected to reduce energy costs by more than $400,000 per year in the New York City landmark.  A 5,000-square-foot processing space is being built on-site at the building with glass to be removed from existing windows, re-used to make super insulating units and reinstalled during evening hours to avoid any disruption to building tenants, the company explains. 

Existing IG units from the building's windows will be separated and cleaned in the processing space. Serious will use the old glass panes, new spacers, suspended coated film, and special gas fill to produce new IG units, said to offer R-values ranging from 5 to 8, compared to the current R-2 performance levels. The new units will also reduce solar heat gain by more than 50 percent. By reusing existing glass and producing the new glass on-site, the first-of-its-kind process eliminates virtually all waste, saves energy, and reduces replacement costs, company officials note.

“When we heard that retrofitting the dual-pane windows was a key component of the cost-efficient upgrade program, we went to work and came up with a solution never before attempted," reports Kevin Surace, Serious CEO. "We expect to use this model with other major efficiency projects throughout the world with customers who want to save real money in their buildings.”

Serious was selected for the project by Johnson Controls, which is overseeing a full Empire State Building retrofit project, with a team of energy efficiency experts, including the Clinton Climate Initiative, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Rocky Mountain Institute. The window upgrade process is one of eight individual measures that are expected to reduce energy use at by building by 38 percent, save $4.4 million per year in energy costs, and save 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 15 years.

“The Empire State building represents a model to others who may look to emulate what is being done at this landmark building from an energy efficiency standpoint," says Iain Campbell, VP/GM, Global Energy & WorkPlace Solutions, Johnson Controls. "Our team has focused on providing the best energy solutions. The super-insulating windows will reduce energy use and produce savings that will payback in three years.”

“Serious Materials competed with the most prominent manufacturers and service providers for a key component of our program to make our energy savings goals a reality,” says Anthony E. Malkin of  Empire State Building Co. “Their expertise and ingenuity at competitive standards won them the job. When the total project is done, we will have happier tenants, a more comfortable environment in all seasons, and long-term energy and cost savings. Johnson Controls has guaranteed that the integrated eight measures, including windows, will provide us a payback within just three years.”