Empire State Building Windows Retrofitted for Energy Efficiency
Empire State Building Window Retrofit to reduce energy consumption by 38% and save $4.4 Million per year
Although most New Yorkers probably have not noticed a change in the famous Empire State Building, the familiar landmark actually completed the first phase of a major energy efficiency remodel on Thursday - a window retrofit to make all its windows more energy efficient. The famous building, which already had an Energy Star rating of 90 out of 100, is now partway through a major energy retrofit renovation that will result in a 38% reduction in energy consumption, which could save up to $4.4 Million per year in energy costs.
The first phase of this retrofit, which was announced by President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomburg in April 2009, involved retrofitting the Empire State Building's dual-pane windows into super insulated windows. In a remarkable recycling effort, Serious Materials, the company chosen for the job, was able to preserve 96% of the Empire State Building's 6,514 windows, including the original frames and 26,000 panes of glass. Workers from Serious Materials carefully separated the windows' components and rebuilt them with new spacers, a special gas fill, and a layer of coated film. These new energy efficient windows are expected to save approximately $400,000 annually by reducing the solar heat gain of the Empire State Building by over 50%.
To complete this window retrofit, Serious Materials, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, created a workshop on a floor of the Empire State Building itself. Workers from Serious Materials did the window retrofit at night so they would not disturb the building's usual occupants or the tourists. It took the team about seven months to complete the job. While the Serious Materials window retrofit was relatively expensive, costing around $700 per window, replacing the windows with brand new ones would have cost $2,500 each, making the retrofit the less expensive option in addition to the more eco-friendly one.
If other commercial buildings followed the example of the Empire State Building, the energy savings would be enormous. A report released by Pike Research in July of 2010 estimated that if all of the commercial buildings in the United States were retrofitted for energy efficiency, $41.1 billion dollars per year could be saved in energy bills.
Anthony E. Malkin, the owner of the Empire State Building Company, called the window retrofit a "key milestone" in refurbishing the building. Malkin hopes that the Empire State Building window retrofit will serve as an example to other commercial buildings around the world, showing them all how they can become more energy efficient.