Smarter Business: Case Studies

Window processing site

photo: Serious Energy

Challenge

Inefficient and improperly sealed windows in older buildings can add a costly premium to energy bills -- as much as 30 percent higher than can be achieved with triple-paned, high-efficiency windows. This wasted energy from air conditioning and heating also results in needlessly higher emissions of heat-trapping pollutants.

In 2009, the Empire State Building possessed a total of 6,514 double-paned windows with no energy-efficiency features Malkin Holdings, the owner of the Empire State Building (ESB), is in the process of making the landmark building a model for large-scale, cost-effective building retrofits, with a goal of reducing building-wide energy consumption by a projected 38 percent by 2012. Upgrading the ESB’s older windows to super-efficient new windows accounts for a full 5 percent of this energy reduction. The costs of replacing the windows with brand new window units, however, would have added approximately $20 million to the retrofit price tag as well as increased construction waste, packaging waste, and transportation pollutant emissions. So Malkin Holdings partnered with two firms to come up with a cost-efficient and material-efficient alternative.


Strategy

Malkin Holding's partners Johnson Controls and Jones Lang Lasalle, which were in charge of the development and implementation of this project, devised a unique solution: rebuild the windows onsite, reusing the existing glass, sash and trim and adding a barrier of low-emissivity (low-E) film to improve insulating R-values from their current level of 2.0 to up to 7.0 at a cost of only $4.5 million, $15.5 million less than the projected cost of new windows.

To avoid transportation costs and emissions associated with moving the 6,514 window units to an offsite location, Serious Energy and Kilroy Metal Products were contracted to rebuild the windows at an on-site processing area. All aspects of the upgrade could then be handled inside the ESB, with the most disruptive steps -- such as removing windows from their frames – occurring after hours.

A workspace on the fifth floor was selected because it offered easy access for contractors and equipment brought in from street level and had fewer nearby tenants. To reduce noise even more, Serious Energy added soundproof drywall around the work area.

Triple-paned windows provide much higher insulating value, but instead of adding a third pane of glass which would boost materials use and weight on the building envelope, contractors inserted a suspended low-emissivity film between the two reused panes.

After kilning the window units to shrink the film in place and ensure its total transparency, workers injected an inert mix of krypton/argon gases to provide more insulation. The window units were then put back in the original sashes and mounted in the frames from which they were taken.

Because the North side receives no direct sunlight, the glass on this side of building was insulated to R-5 to allow some warmth during the summer. The ESB’s South, East and West sides, however, were insulated to R-7 to tamp down the heat from direct sunlight throughout the summer. Work was completed during the period from April to September 2010.

On-site processing of ESB's 6,514 windows provided cost savings of more than $15 million over the purchase and installation of similarly efficient new windows with less disruption to tenants and much less waste and energy consumption. Through reductions in use of air conditioning and heating, the windows should provide CO2 emissions savings of 105,000 metric tons in the next 15 years.

Furthermore, the temporary processing space established within the ESB demonstrates the economic benefits and waste/emissions reductions that may be achieved by housing elements of retrofit operations onsite.

Care must be taken, however, to avoid disrupting tenants and degrading the quality of the business environment during business hours. It’s essential to communicate with tenants to ensure they are aware of increased activity in the building and address any concerns, notes Dana Schneider, Sustainability Services Market Lead at Jones Lang Lasalle.


Results

On-site processing of ESB's 6,514 windows provided cost savings of more than $15 million over the purchase and installation of similarly efficient new windows with less disruption to tenants and much less waste and energy consumption. Through reductions in use of air conditioning and heating, the windows should provide CO2 emissions savings of 105,000 metric tons in the next 15 years.

Furthermore, the temporary processing space established within the ESB demonstrates the economic benefits and waste/emissions reductions that may be achieved by housing elements of retrofit operations onsite.

Care must be taken, however, to avoid disrupting tenants and degrading the quality of the business environment during business hours. It’s essential to communicate with tenants to ensure they are aware of increased activity in the building and address any concerns, notes Dana Schneider, Sustainability Services Market Lead at Jones Lang Lasalle.


About

Malkin Holdings
Malkin Holdings is an affiliate of Malkin Properties, which owns and manages over 14 million square feet of office, retail, residential and warehouse/distribution property in 15 states. As well as real estate management, Malkin Properties also operates marketing and acquisition branches.

Serious Energy
Serious Energy provides energy software services and advanced building products to improve the energy performance and comfort of commercial and residential spaces. With six manufacturing plants and a software development team, the company’s products have been installed in over 70,000 projects worldwide.

Johnson Controls Inc.
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader providing products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; automotive batteries; and interior systems for automobiles. With 1,300 locations worldwide and 142, 000 employees, Johnson Control achieved global sales of $34.3 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.

Jones Lang Lasalle
Jones Lang LaSalle is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate services and investment management. The company has more than 40,300 employees in 60 countries and reported a net income of $154 million in 2010.

Kilroy Metal Products

Kilroy Metal Products retrofits windows in offices and apartment buildings in the New York metrpolitan area


Resources

Johnson Controls

Kilroy Metal Products

Jones Lang Lasalle

Malkin Properties

Serious Energy ESB site

last revised 6/20/2011

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