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Expansion Joints and Pre-Compressed Sealants


 

BACKERSEAL Part of 3-yr Payback Plan for $550 Million Dollar Energy Retrofit of Iconic Empire State Building
(Retrofit 2008-2009)

New York City, NY--Setting a new benchmark for large-scale, aggressive, energy retrofits of existing structures, the Empire State Building's recent upgrade is saving up to 40% and $3.8 million annually in energy costs, has earned LEED Gold certification, and has proved the economic viability of whole-building energy efficiency retrofits in the pursuit of sustainability.

BACKERSEAL by EMSEAL played a critical role in bridging the thermal breaks between the window frames and the wall elements of the 6,514 windows. 

The project team, assisted by the Rocky Mountain Institute,  evaluated 70 ECM's (Energy Conservation Measures) by modeling them and chose only eight--among them the building windows.

Implemented together these eight measures are projected to result in a 38.4% decrease in energy consumption.

What does BACKERSEAL do?

- Provides R-value at joints

- Provides watertight
  secondary seal

- Resists air pressure
  differentials

- Remains in compression

- Provides acoustic
  dampening

- Contributes to LEED

BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL played a crutial role in the $550 million retrofit of the Empire State Building by improving R-Value at the window joints.
The sheer number of windows means they are a huge percentage of the facade of the structure.

It became quickly apparent that the windows themselves as well as the thermal breaks between the window frames and the walls of the building had to be addressed.

"By changing the building envelope insulation both through the windows and against the walls themselves, it lowers both the heat and cold loads on the building," commented Stephen Doig, PhD, Program Director, Rocky Mountain Institute.

 

Windows are a huge percentage of the facade of Empire State Building warranting retrofit using BACKERSEAL from EMSEALto improve the R-Value at the joints.

       
The existing failed sealant was a traditional backer rod and  polyurethane system that had aged, dried, stiffened and separated at the bondline as the result of adhesion in tension.

(click images to enlarge)

Failed polyurethane sealant is removed and joint gaps measured to size BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building Depth of joints is  measured to size BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building Width of  joint gaps at art deco panels is measured to size BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building
  A survey of available depths and widths was taken at various building elements. 
     
Manufactured in a custom depth to suit the shallow joint profile, the BACKERSEALwas installed behind liquid-applied silicone.

BACKERSEAL was supplied in a range of widths and replenished just in time as consumed during installation.

BACKERSEAL self-expands after insertion into the joint and remains in compression.

BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL expanded against substrates in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building
BACKERSEAL installed between window-frame and stainless steel facade adornments. Supplied precompressed to less than joint size
BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL behind liquid silicone in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building
BACKERSEALcoated with silicone liquid sealant to form hybrid seal system featuring improved
R-value, waterproofing redundancy, and an ability to resist air-pressure differentials.
     
Working from swing stages, the window sealing was progressed on multiple elevations simultaneously and tracked on wall-mounted facade elevation plans in the job office.

 

Swing stages work the facade installing BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building Swing stages work the facade installing BACKERSEAL from EMSEAL in replacement of window seals at Empire State Building
  Swing stages look tiny against the massive facade of the Empire State Building as crews work to reseal the 6,514 window perimeters using EMSEAL's BACKERSEAL behind silicone liquid sealant.

Using integrated design and whole systems thinking the cascading benefit effects of energy conservation measures becomes apparent.

Looked at in isolation, upgrading and sealing of the windows would have yielded some savings but would have a 20 year payback.

Looked at in respect to the effect that upgrading and properly sealing the windows would have on the reduction of load on the mechanical (heating and cooling) systems, the results are altogether different.

"The way we as engineers like to look at it is what we call interactive effects.  What we think about is, well, the windows will do some good, they'll save some energy, but more importantly, they'll make our systems smaller.  Our heating system is smaller, our cooling system is smaller, that optimization is much different than just 'what's the energy savings from a better window?,"  remarked, Peter Rumsey, P.E., Managing Director, Rumsey Engineers (now Integral Group).

In fact the building owner had expected that they would have to add heating and cooling capacity.  Instead they ended up with excess capacity from the existing systems because of reducing and managing the heat load better.

"There's massive innovation here, by looking at an integrated approach," commented Malkin Holdings President, Tony Malkin.

Energy savings and capital cost savings looked at in combination yield a far greater return than looking just at the energy savings from projects in isolation.

A YouTube video of the project from the Rocky Mountain Institute can be seen by clicking here.




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EMSEAL LLC. 120 Carrier Drive, Toronto, ON M9W 5R1

   

 


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