The famed Empire State Building, an icon of sky-scraping American architecture, will undergo a number of green improvements. Among other things, the “greening” will include energy upgrades for all of the building’s 6,500 windows. That’s a lot of opportunity for unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. The upgrade, which includes the addition of a special insulating film, will drastically improve the energy efficiency of the windows and the entire building.
The Heat Mirror® technology developed by Southwall will combine with the existing insulating glass to improve each window’s energy efficiency fourfold. One by one, each window will be removed, the film will be placed between the panes, and then the glass will be replaced. This simple yet time-consuming project will increase the windows’ R-value from R-2 to R-8 while conserving the existing glass and preventing a lot of waste. Solar heat gain will be reduced by 50 percent.
The upgrades are expected to save $400,000 per year in energy costs. The window remanufacturing is one step in a large energy efficiency upgrade that will reduce energy use in the Empire State Building by 38 percent over the next three years, save $4.4 million per year and offset 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over 15 years. A related step is the installation of a control system that measures the amount of light coming in the window and automatically adjusts indoor artificial lighting accordingly. Other green steps include upgraded lighting and upgraded furnaces, chillers and air-handlers.
“We have two strategies that govern everything we do here,” said Paul Rode of Johnson Controls, Inc., the company overseeing the retrofit project, in an America.gov video. “Only use energy when you need to use it, and only use as much as you need to.”
Building work is already underway and should be completed by the end of 2010. Remaining work on tenant spaces is slated for completion in 2013.
Photo Credit: Financial Services Club