Seduced by the View

A Closer Look at All-Glass Buildings

From an environmental perspective, glass buildings are a major step backwards. Seduced by the View looks at the question: do tenants who live and work in all-glass buildings actually take advantage of the glass by keeping their blinds open?

We found that on average, 59% of the window area was covered by blinds or shades. And over 75% of buildings had more than half of their window area covered. Results were similar regardless of time of day, direction the window faced, and whether the building was commercial or residential.

“We looked at 55 buildings throughout New York City and found the same results across the board,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “People move into these rooms with a view, but more often than not, can’t see out the window. Tenants pay a premium for the views from all-glass buildings while society pays a price through higher energy costs, carbon emissions, and air pollution.”

Seduced by the View recommends two ways to fix these problems:

Better design.
An exterior wall with insulation on the lower two or three feet still allows for great views and plentiful natural light. Using window frame materials such as fiberglass instead of highly conductive aluminum may also help.

Better communication.
Brokers should make sure that tenants realize the full implications of an all-glass building – not just the great views, but also the downsides they may experience. That way, prospective tenants can make decisions with a clear understanding of what’s in store.

Read more on the Urban Green blog.