Renovation of Philadelphia high-rise demonstrates potential of new federal “Better Buildings Initiative”

Date: 12 December 2011
Pedricktown, N.J., December 7, 2011 – Last Friday, President Obama unveiled the Better Building Initiative (BBI), a public-private partnership that will invest $4 billion toward making federal and commercial office buildings more energy-efficient.400 Market Street, an 11-story Philadelphia office tower built in 1972, is already serving as a model for how owners of hundreds of older, mid- and high-rise buildings throughout the Northeast and Midwest can reap the benefits of the program.

The 200,000 square-foot building, home to Philadelphia’s high-powered KWY-AM radio station, was recently outfitted with a new HVAC system and a state-of-the-art window retrofitting system called RENOVATE by Berkowitz. According to energy modeling studies conducted with the U.S. Department of Energy’s most sophisticated energy modeling software, a typical 10- to 15-story office building like 400 Market Street could realize significant energy savings.

Developed by J.E. Berkowitz, a glass fabricator based in Pedricktown, N.J., the RENOVATE system works by converting existing single-pane windows into energy-saving, triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs) at a cost that is up to 50 percent less than ripping out and replacing old windows with new ones.

Arthur Berkowitz, president of J.E. Berkowitz, said the RENOVATE system is ideally suited to help building owners cost-effectively meet the ambitious energy-saving goals of the Better Building Initiative.

“Commercial buildings in the United States consume 40 percent of the energy we use as a nation,” he explained. “There are hundreds of buildings throughout the country like 400 Market Street that would benefit immensely from installing energy-efficient glass. Because it uses existing windows, the RENOVATE system can help them do so without the major investment associated with traditional reglazing projects.

David Winstead, former public buildings commissioner with the U.S. General Services Administration, agrees. “The RENOVATE system is an ideal solution for aging buildings with single-pane windows,” he said. “Although the federal government is seeking to become leaders in energy efficiency, budget constraints are making that more and more difficult, which is a problem many private-sector companies and building owners can relate to. RENOVATE offers the potential for significant energy savings at a much lower cost than traditional window retrofitting systems.”

The RENOVATE system also has the benefit of being much faster and less disruptive to install. Berkowitz said the retrofit project for 400 Market Street took about 50 working days, which is two to three times faster than it would have been for a traditional “rip-out-and-replace” project for a similarly sized building. In addition, because the retrofitting was completed indoors, tenants were able to remain in their offices throughout the project. That is not possible with traditional window retrofitting solutions. The BBI, which was first announced in January 2011, was developed to increase the energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Under the BBI, 60 private companies, municipal leaders and labor organizers have agreed on a plan to invest $2 billion of private capital to improve commercial, industrial, and manufacturing property. President Obama authorized the government to move forward with another $2 billion in energy-efficiency upgrades to federal buildings, which will be paid for by the long-term savings that the upgrades will provide.

For more information about how the RENOVATE system is helping 400 Market Street save thousands of dollars in energy, labor and related costs, call (800) 257-7827 or visit

About JEB JE Berkowitz, LP is a leading architectural glass fabricator. Founded in 1920, the ISO 9001 certified company serves customers for the domestic and overseas architectural markets. Products include Tempered Glass, Insulating Glass, Spandrel Glass, Silk-Screened Glass, Glass Doors and Entrances, Laminated Glass, and Point Supported Canopy and Wall Systems. The family-owned glass business is located in Pedricktown,, N.J., with over 200,000 square feet of plant space and 250 employees. For more information, visit

600450 Renovation of Philadelphia high-rise demonstrates potential of new federal “Better Buildings Initiative”

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