Ten years ago, Sotheby’s International Realty was looking to update what was a tired-looking commercial building in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. The stucco and single pane glass design, constructed in 1963, was sorely outdated. It was also far from energy efficient, making the 30,000-square-foot building an uncomfortable place to work. The south side was always too warm; the north side was too cold; and the air conditioning system could not keep up. The company wanted a fresh, modern look while reducing glare and heat caused by the California sun. At first they considered replacing all the windows, but that proved to be cost-prohibitive.
Working with the firms XTEN Architecture, Culver City, Calif., and J. Miller Canvas Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., Sotheby’s chose a facade made of panels covered with Soltis FT 371 membrane. Manufactured by Serge Ferrari, a French producer of composite materials, Soltis FT 371 is an open-weave material that filters natural light while controlling glare and shielding against solar radiation.
A decade later, not only is Sotheby’s happy with the look of the building, they are reaping the benefits of greater energy efficiency. The company estimates its energy savings at $60,000 per year; the investment was returned just two years after installation.
Energy efficiency also means greater comfort for the building’s occupants. Heating and cooling are better balanced, and window views are unobstructed. Natural light streams in while glare and heat are reduced.