Once considered to be ahead of its time in design, the El Paso Corporation Building, a 48-year-old Houston skyscraper, is once again on the cutting edge, following a recent sustainable remodeling. Among the materials used in this project were CertainTeed Ecophon ceiling panels, which feature the high recycled content.
El Paso Corporation hired the Houston office of Gensler, the
global design and architectural firm, for the project’s LEED Silver-targeted
design. Gensler’s plans called for substantial remodeling of the base building
and a complete gutting and refurbishing of the interior, incorporating
sustainable building components throughout.
Because it was critical to choose building products with the most
sustainable attributes, Gensler specified Ecophon for the ceilings throughout
the 32-floor building.
“We chose the Ecophon panels for their high recycled content
and low VOC emissions, both important criteria to meet in a LEED project,” said
John Haba, project manager for Gensler Houston. “We were impressed by their
appearance as well. They look good in the grid.”
Ceilings and partitions contractor Clunn Acoustical Systems,
of Houston, installed about 870,000 square feet of 2-foot-by-2-foot Ecophon
panels throughout the building.
Ecophon ceiling panels are manufactured from high-density
glass wool and covered by a micro-porous surface, which offers superior sound
absorption, light reflectance and humidity resistance. They are used with a
recessed visible grid and feature a reveal edge design, creating a ceiling with
a shadow effect that accentuates each panel and partially conceals the grid.
These ceiling panels are available in larger sizes that allow the architect
more freedom with space creation.
“Our Ecophon ceiling panels offer quick and smooth
installation for contractors and a robust structure for easy handling and the
challenges of everyday environments,” said Tom Murray, architectural and
technical support manager for CertainTeed Ceilings. “With so many sustainable
attributes, all Ecophon ceiling panels are a must for LEED-focused projects,
such as the El Paso Corporation Building. We are thrilled to be featured in
Opened in 1963 as the Tenneco Building, the skyscraper originally
featured moveable steel interior walls for office flexibility long before
open-plan offices were common. With exposure to the hot Texas sun on all four
sides, the building was also designed with windows recessed 7 feet from the
frame to shield occupants from direct heat and glare and decrease the need for
extra air conditioning. Thanks to this and other early sustainable design
techniques, the building needed only minimal updates over the years until the
need was apparent for more contemporary interior design and increased
Other green design features in the remodeling of El Paso
Corporation Building project include high-efficiency plumbing fixtures,
high-efficiency lights, a new HVAC system and an interior sprinkler system. The
project began in 2008 and the majority of the tenant floors, including the
lobby, finished in May.