Empire State Building Completes Groundbreaking Building-Wide Window Refurbishment; New Jobs Created, 96% of Original Materials Reused

Johnson Controls and Serious Materials refurbish 6,514 windows to dramatically reduce energy output

Oct 13, 2010, 14:41 ET from Empire State Building

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Empire State Building today announced the completion of a building-wide window refurbishment.  The initiative is one of eight measures implemented at the Landmark as part of an innovative energy retrofit project announced in April 2009 with President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The building's 6,514 windows were refurbished through a groundbreaking process that reused 96 percent of the existing glass and frames.  The initiative alone will directly reduce building energy costs by more than $400,000 annually.  

Johnson Controls, the organization responsible for implementing the retrofit program, contracted leading high-tech services provider Serious Materials to take on the project. In a novel process, Serious Materials reused the existing materials to create super-insulating glass units (IGUs) in a dedicated processing center located within the building. Thousands of windows at the building were seamlessly retrofitted and replaced overnight over the course of seven months, three months ahead of schedule, without any disturbance to tenants.  

The super-insulated units are four times more thermally efficient compared to older dual pane windows and are expected to reduce solar heat gain by more than 50 percent. The cost to refurbish each window is estimated at $700 compared to approximately $2,500 to replace with new, comparable windows.

"The Empire State Building began an innovative retrofit program in 2009 to bring the world's most iconic building to the forefront of energy efficiency. This process serves as a replicable model for commercial buildings globally," said Anthony E. Malkin, of owner, Empire State Building Company. He added, "The window retrofit is a key milestone in the Empire State Building project, already proving that buildings can be retrofitted efficiently and economically while providing rapid payback."

In April 2009, Malkin, along with the Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle, and the Rocky Mountain Institute announced of the use of the Empire State Building initiative to model a newly developed, replicable, global template to model quantitatively energy efficiency retrofits in the existing built environment. Upon completion of the sustainability program, the Empire State Building is expected to reduce total energy usage by more than 38 percent, energy costs by $4.4 million annually, and carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. The project overall is estimated to create more than 140 direct and indirect jobs.

Already, the Empire State Building has been recognized for this initiative being awarded a commercial building ENERGY STAR rating of 90 out of 100, as well as first place distinction by The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) in the 2009 SBIC Beyond Green Awards.

Other elements of the energy retrofit include:

  • Radiator Insulation Retrofit: Added insulation behind radiators to reduce heat loss and more efficiently heat the building perimeter.
  • Tenant Lighting, Daylighting and Plug Upgrades: Introduction of improved lighting designs, daylighting controls, and plug load occupancy sensors in common areas and tenant spaces to reduce electricity costs and cooling loads.
  • Air Handler Replacements: Replacement of air handling units with variable frequency drive fans to allow increased energy efficiency in operation while improving comfort for individual tenants.
  • Chiller Plant Retrofit: Reuse of existing chiller shells while removing and replacing "guts" to improve chiller efficiency and controllability, including the introduction of variable frequency drives.
  • Whole-Building Control System Upgrade: Upgrade of existing building control system to optimize HVAC operation as well as provide more detailed sub-metering information.
  • Ventilation Control Upgrade: Introduction of demand control ventilation in occupied spaces to improve air quality and reduce energy required to condition outside air.
  • Tenant Energy Management Systems: Introduction of individualized, web-based power usage systems for each tenant to allow more efficient management of power usage.

The window retrofit project, along with other details of the sustainability initiative, are showcased in the Empire State Building's recently unveiled $2.0 million, multi-media sustainability exhibit in its world famous Observatories' second floor visitors center. The exhibit is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information on the Empire State Building's sustainability initiative and the window retrofit, visit www.esbsustainability.com.

About the Empire State Building

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is the "World's Most Famous Office Building." With new investments in infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The skyscraper's robust broadcasting technology supports all major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market. The Empire State Building was named America's favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. The Empire State Building Observatory is one of the world's most beloved attractions and is the region's #1 tourist destination. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.esbnyc.com.

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in over 150 countries. Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

About Serious Materials

Serious Materials is the leading provider of high-tech products and services which reduce energy usage in the built environment, the largest contributor of CO2 worldwide. SeriousWindows™ and SeriousGlass™ commercial glass offer the highest R value performance of any window, reducing heating and cooling energy costs and related CO2 by up to 50% and providing rapid payback compared to dual pane windows. QuietRock® soundproofing drywall substantially reduces material use and provides high reliability lowest cost code compliant walls for hospitals, government, schools, and multifamily projects. The company is also the largest provider of advanced fiberglass pultrusion for highly insulated windows and curtain wall systems. With six manufacturing plants in North America, Serious products have been installed in over 70,000 projects and are available through thousands of local dealers for residential and commercial projects.  

About the Clinton Climate Initiative

The William J. Clinton Foundation launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change. Working with governments and businesses around the world to tailor local solutions that are economically and environmentally sustainable, CCI focuses on three strategic program areas: increasing energy efficiency in cities, catalyzing the large-scale supply of clean energy, and working to measure and value the carbon absorbed by forests.  In each of these programs, CCI uses a holistic approach to address the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the people, policies, and practices that impact them.  CCI serves as the action arm of the C40, an association of large cities around the world that have pledged to accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and of which New York is a member. To learn more about the work of the Clinton Climate Initiative and the William J. Clinton Foundation, please visit www.clintonfoundation.org.

About Jones Lang LaSalle

Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL) is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate. The firm offers integrated services delivered by expert teams worldwide to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. With 2008 global revenue of $2.7 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle serves clients in 60 countries from 750 locations worldwide, including 180 corporate offices.  The firm is an industry leader in property and corporate facility management services, with a portfolio of approximately 1.4 billion square feet worldwide. LaSalle Investment Management, the company's investment management business, is one of the world's largest and most diverse in real estate with more than $46 billion of assets under management. For further information, please visit our Web site, www.joneslanglasalle.com.

About Rocky Mountain Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins and Amory B. Lovins. What began as a small group of colleagues focusing on energy policy has since grown into a broad-based institution with approximately eighty full-time staff, an annual budget of nearly $12 million (over half of it earned through programmatic enterprise), and a global reach.

Media Contact: Edelman Public Relations

Blair Garson, 212.704.4494, blair.garson@edelman.com

SOURCE Empire State Building