Serious Materials to upgrade windows in Empire State Building

Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, has selected Serious Materials, Sunnyvale, Calif., to super-insulate more than 6,500 windows for the Empire State Building’s energy efficiency retrofit project, according to a March 3 release.

Serious Materials will provide its SeriousGlass technology through a sustainable production process that will directly reduce energy costs by more than $400,000 per year. In a first-of-its-kind process, Serious Materials will reuse all existing glass and create super-insulating glass units in a dedicated processing space located in the Empire State Building. The new IGUs then will be re-installed and will increase the thermal performance of the windows by up to four times their current thermal performance, improving the R-value of the older dual pane IGUs from R2 to R-values ranging from R-5 to R-8. The super-insulating new windows will also reduce solar heat gain by more than 50 percent compared to the older windows, according to the release.

Johnson Controls is overseeing the full Empire State Building retrofit project, with 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 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.

As part of Serious Materials’ solution, a 5,000-square-foot processing space will be built onsite in the Empire State Building and will serve as the production line for super-insulating SeriousGlass glass units. The existing glass of the building’s 6,514 double-hung windows will be removed from the window frames, separated, and cleaned in the processing space. New super-insulating IGUs will be produced using the old glass panes, new spacers, suspended coated film, and special gas fill. The IGUs will be re-installed into the existing window frames.

Removal and re-installation of glass will occur during evening hours to avoid any disruption to building tenants and occupants. Serious Materials also will install the company’s QuietRock soundproof drywall in the processing space to protect neighboring tenants from noise during construction.

By re-using existing glass and producing the new glass on-site, the process eliminates virtually all waste, saves energy, and reduces replacement costs.

“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," said Iain Campbell, vice president and general manager, Global Energy & WorkPlace Solutions, Johnson Controls, in the release. "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,” said Anthony E. Malkin of building owner, Empire State Building Co., in the release “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 8 measures, including windows, will provide us a payback within just 3 years.”

“Customers are the focus of everything we do at Serious Materials,” said Kevin Surace, CEO Serious Materials, in the release. “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. 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.”

Visit www.SeriousMaterials.com/ESB for more information about how SeriousGlass contributes to the whole-building energy efficiency retrofit of the Empire State Building.