Serious Materials, a California-based company, just announced an agreement with Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) to “super-insulate” over 6,500 windows as part of a $13.2 million energy efficiency retrofit program for the nearly 80 year-old Empire State Building.

Note, I wrote they will “insulate” the glass, not replace it.  According to Sustainable Materials, here’s how it works:

“The existing glass of the building’s 6,514 double-hung windows will be removed from the window frames, separated, and cleaned in the processing space. New super-insulating IGUs [Insulating Glass Units] will be produced using the old glass panes, new spacers, suspended coated film, and special gas fill [argon-krypton gas mixture]. The IGUs will be re-installed into the existing window frames.”

These efforts alone will directly reduce energy costs by over $400,000 per year, and the remarkable fact is Serious Materials is using the old glass!

The Empire State Building project is a model of what needs to happen across the nation.  Old buildings are highly inefficient, and provide the greatest opportunity to gain real energy savings.  The Empire State Building plan calls for eight separate measures in lighting, insulation, electricity controls, HVAC, and tenant training and incentives.  Once all measures are complete, the Empire State Building retrofit team predicts a 33% reduction in cooling load, and a reduction of peak energy load by 3.5 megawatts (yes that’s just the reduction).  The retrofit team also predicts a 38%reduction in total energy use and an eventual energy cost savings of $4.4 million / year.  How about that for ROI?

Click here to find out more regarding the Empire State Building’s eight measures

Click here for the press release from Serious Materials

Editor’s note: Don’t miss tonight’s Clean Tech Event at McCormick and Kuleto’s. Click here for more information