Serious Energy reused all existing glass and create super-insulating glass units (IGUs) in a dedicated processing space located in the Empire State Building.
The existing glass of the building’s 6,514 double-hung windows, more than 26,000 total panes of glass, were removed from the window frames, separated, and cleaned in our processing space. New super-insulating IGUs were produced using the old glass panes, new spacers, suspended coated film, and special gas fill. These new IGUs were then re-installed and increased the thermal performance of the windows by up to four times its former thermal performance.
The current 6,514 windows have new super-insulating SeriousGlass units as a result of re-processing and reusing all existing glass panes – more than 26,000 individual panes of glass. The result increases the R-value of the older dual pane windows from R-2.0 to R-values ranging from R-5.0 to R-8.0. The super-insulating windows can also reduce solar heat gain by more than 50% compared to the older windows.
"We use the frames, remove the sashes, reuse the glass, clean it. But between the glass, you’ll have an intermediate material which is actually a low emissivity (low-E) film, so even though they call it a triple glazed window, it’s actually reusing the existing glazing and inserting a (low-E) film between the two pieces."
– Wendy Fok, an architect with Jones Lang LaSalle, who worked with RMI and the rest of the team on the energy efficiency recommendations*
Suspended Coated Film (SCF) is one of the most significant technologies critical to improving insulation and achieving higher performance across a broad spectrum of glazing characteristics. Typical triple-pane glass systems incorporate a third layer of glass that adds to the weight of the glass and limits design possibilities. Super-insulating SeriousGlass with SCF allows for the replacement and reuse of existing glass without having to worry about the impact of the weight of a third layer of glass on the building structure and frames.
SeriousGlass delivers triple edge seal technology around the edges of the glass units to provide the most reliable, strongest glass packages. The SCF layer also creates two air spaces that are filled with a combination of inert gases and air. SeriousGlass has larger air spaces than triple-pane glass in the same glass pocket for significantly higher thermal performance.
*(Source: Lessons Learned, Empire State Building Volume 6)