Smart Windows to Cut Energy Use-Google Inc., New York, Usa

By January 12 , 2018

Google wanted to improve the aesthetic value and the energy efficiency of its offices in New York at the 111 Eighth Avenue, one of the largest buildings in town. During the renovation, they needed a window that would incorporate the essential sustainable and energy efficient characteristics, while simultaneously being sturdy and extremely durable. The innovative R&D department of ALUMIL, developed a tailor made version of the excellent casement window SUPREME S91, which is specially designed for passive houses. A customized solution of this particular window was chosen by Google Inc. In total, 3,500 windows were fabricated for the successful renovation of Google’s fenestration at its central offices in New York.

The product was specially designed in order to meet the high requirements of passive houses (certified by the German Passive House Institute). It is ideal for heavy duty, insulated casement windows with high security level. The system is characterized for its excellent performance in terms of thermal insulation, water tightness and noise reduction as well as for its flexibility and ease of fabrication.

Passive buildings are the future of the construction industry, as the need for low-energy buildings is increasing, not only for the sake of energy efficiency, but also because of the importance of minimizing pollution. Based on studies, building energy consumption represents approximately 40% of the total energy consumed worldwide.


A prototype window by ALUMIL & Detailing of the prototype window – SUPREME S91 of ALUMIL

It all started in March 2012 when it was informed about the specifications of a major project for the American tech giant Google Inc. The windows for the project, according to the specifications, required a coefficient of thermal transmittance Uw = 0.57 W/m2K, i.e. very high-insulation windows. Through its advanced window, the company proposed even higher thermal insulation with a thermal transmission coefficient of Uw = 0.55 W/m2K.

Soon a prototype window was presented (October 2012). ALUMIL was quick to make a proposal at the requested thermal insulation (even slightly lower than the needed specifications). However, since no other company was able to make a proposal according to these demanding specifications, the architectural office realized that it should lower the insulation requirements and increase the UW value to 1,14 W/m2K in order to take more offers.

In January 2013, the company presented its second proposal according to the new specifications. The construction of the prototype window was arranged immediately, including additionally exterior blinds with aerodynamic design and internal shading curtains of high-functionality. The window was installed at the agreed time for evaluation.

Noteworthy is the fact that Google requested a detailed report on the window’s energy footprint, based on the production methods, the footprint of energy consumed on transportation (per kg of produced material), the percentage of recycled materials used and the energy resources used by its plants (the plant mainly uses natural gas, but also solar energy).

Finally, after some adjustments regarding cross sections by the architects of the project, the window reached its final shape. In order to confirm the final design, all the required performance tests took place in the company’s testing chamber and later on in the U.S., with strict tests regarding airtightness, water tightness, wind load resistance and design load.

The product demonstrating high speed and flexibility, in combination with high-quality production based on “green processes” with top European standards, obviously earned Google’s trust from the beginning. Consequently, by achieving the wanted performance level, ALUMIL’s proposal was accepted and selected as a supplier for Google’s office windows in New York.

QUICK FACTS

Project: 111 Eighth Avenue
Location: New York, U.S.A.
Client: GOOGLE S.A.
Architects: HLW
Other Consultants: GMS
Materials used for facade & fenestration: Advanced aluminium architectural systems
Commencement Date: 2014
Completion Date: 2016

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