Government Finds a Creative Solution to Renovating Aging Buildings

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which functions as the government’s landlord has been challenged with trying to find cost-effective solutions to renovating some of its buildings that are in need of care. In Cleveland, OH, the agency has taken a creative approach to upgrading the 32-story Anthony J. Celebrezze tower, built in 1966.

In addition to serious facade repairs, this building also needed to reduce energy usage while not disrupting the 5,000 employees inside. The answer was to give the building a second skin by adding an outer wall of glass. This is the first high-rise in the world to be retrofitted with a second glass wall, though this method has been used for smaller structures in Europe for many years.

The specifics of exactly how it works are kept under wraps. Essentially, a very high performing curtainwall is installed as the building’s outer wall. It serves as a moisture/temperature barrier. When it is very humid outside, it will keep the space between the two facades dry. Additionally, the sun will heat up the air buffer between the two walls up to 120 degrees. This helps to mitigate cold winds in the winter.

While this project is a $120 million, the biggest, one of the GSA’s most expensive, it is estimated that building a new building would cost 3.5x as much.


Related- The Living Building Challenge

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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