Room For  
Improvement  
Companies Find Opportunities and  
Growth in Renovation Projects  
by Ellen Rogers  
Transparency was an important part of the  
design for the $145 million expansion  
project of the Sterling and Francis Clark Art  
Institute in Williamstown, Mass. The project  
features a new glass, stone and concrete  
visitor center created with curtainwall systems  
from Wausau Window and Wall Systems.  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
www.usglassmag.com  
hen it comes to the ups and 2008,when the market was near its peak.  
downs of commercial con- “As the construction market slows on market trends,”says Heather Lutzker,  
struction, renovation proj- down and there is less money available director of business development for  
ects can provide constant opportunity, for new construction projects, building GMI.She points out a number of differ-  
particularly for the glass industry. Ac- owners will look more to renovating ex- ences in new vs. renovation work.  
“That number can differ depending  
W
cording to the American Institute of Ar- isting buildings to improve energy per-  
chitects (AIA) 2014 Firm Survey, formance and occupant comfort,” says occupied space in a renovation applica-  
construction of new facilities is the Brian Schulz, commercial product tion, whether a multi-family building,  
“Most of the time you are working in  
most cyclical,meaning that it is the por- manager for Guardian Industries Corp. hospital,school/university,office build-  
tion of the market that grows the fastest He says the renovation percentage ing etc.,” she says.“Occupied space is a  
when economic growth is accelerating could be even higher given this type of different animal in that the coordination  
and falls the most during economic work can fall into a “design to build” efforts in order to achieve minimal dis-  
downturns.” Renovations, on the other category, and never go out to bid. ruption to a tenant-occupied space can  
hand,“are much more stable across the As more and more building owners be challenging.We call this‘white glove’  
construction cycle, and as a result, the make renovations and improvements,this installation. As an installer, you have to  
renovation share tends to be low when provides many opportunities for glass consider that you are in a tenant-occu-  
the construction market is strong and companies to offer solutions in areas such pied space, and certain protections are  
high when the market is weak.”  
The 2013 survey shows that architec-  
as aesthetics and energy performance.  
warranted on the interior as we install  
our windows from the inside. You also  
ture firms reported 44 percent of their DrFiovriGnMgIFCoonrtcraecstors Inc., located in must consider the age and condition of  
gross billings for construction-related  
the building itself,as once you demolish  
services came from renovation work. Bristol,Pa.,the company’s business falls out an existing window to install a new  
This figure is practically the same as in at about a 60/40 ratio,with the majority one, you are never sure what type of  
2
the bottom of the construction cycle,but  
above the 35 percent share of 2005 and  
011,when spending was reported near of the work in new construction.  
conditions are beneath the old system  
or what you may or may  
not uncover.”  
“Some areas of central Canada, such as  
Manitoba, are almost all renovation because  
Canada’s primary power source is providing  
rebates to upgrade glazing and windows,  
focusing on schools. In general, the Midwest  
is seeing about 75 percent new construction  
versus 25 percent renovation.”  
Scott Bucher,a project  
manager with Bucher  
Glass in Fairbanks,  
Alaska, says his firm’s  
work is split around 80-  
percent new/20-percent  
In the Northwest, our rough estimate is  
that renovation work is probably less than 10  
percent. We see the renovation opportunity  
increasing in the next three to five years, but  
doubt we’ll reach percentages common in  
the east and northeast because this building  
stock is not as old. There are a number of  
significant renovation projects being explored  
now in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. All  
are being driven by new construction that has  
surrounded the existing buildings. As new  
buildings open, it puts pressure on owners to  
upgrade their existing facilities to compete in  
the lease/rent market.”  
—Raymond V. Roy, Midwest regional technical  
advisor, Guardian Industries Corp.  
continued on page 42  
“In the Middle Atlantic and Northeast,  
we would estimate about 20 percent  
renovation versus 80 percent new  
construction. In the Deep South and  
Southeast, we would expect renovations  
to be lower due to fewer opportunities.”  
—Tuan Tran, northeast regional technical  
advisor, Guardian Industries Corp.  
Bill Coady, CSI, CCPR, architectural design  
manager-northwest region, Guardian  
Industries Corp.  
Where’s the  
Renovation  
Work?  
www.usglassmag.com  
April 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
41  
Room For  
Improvement  
continued from page 41  
In cold climates such as Alaska,  
projects are increasingly being  
updated with triple glazing for  
higher energy performance. The  
University of Alaska-Fairbanks  
Wood Center Dining Hall features  
Guardian’s SuperNeutral 68 in a  
triple IGU.  
renovation. When comparing the two, plete building envelope systems has been glazing to double (or triple) insulating  
he says renovations can be a little predicted to take off for many years, but glass, these tall, hung sashes get quite  
more challenging.  
seems to have exploded in the past three heavy,” says Fronek.“The need to reduce  
“If renovation is [on a much older years,” he says. “There are many com- air infiltration, noise and drafts makes it  
building], the drawings we have might mercial and institutional buildings dat- logical for sliding weather-stripping to fit  
not [show] what’s really there,” he says. ing from the 1970s and 1980s that are in tighter in new windows.The combination  
The renovations have potential for need of a facelift, and we’ve seen a clear of large sash size,heavier insulating glass  
more surprises to come up as you get trend toward the use of unitized cur- and tight air seals may make replacement  
into the work.” tainwall and window wall systems for re- double-hung windows difficult to oper-  
A lot of the renovations his company cladding these structures.” ate, even with modern balance technol-  
does are on government projects. Fronek explains that many critical ogy. Lift assistance varies from 30 to 70  
Some of the work is on the military seals are necessary, even in systems percent depending on balance type. But  
bases where there are old buildings and that are designed to drain wind-driven longevity of these heavy-use hardware  
they want to upgrade them to become rain penetration from the system back components can be an issue; too soon re-  
compliant with DOD blast require- to the exterior.  
ments, but also get better thermal per- “Unitized factory-assembled and  
quiring yet another replacement.”  
He adds that projected windows offer  
formance,” he says.“Then on the others, glazed systems are being selected to ac- an easy-to-operate alternative, as they  
there are buildings] from back in the complish as many of these critical seals project inward or outward from the  
960s with old curtainwall, etc. [and as possible in controlled factory condi- plane of the wall.  
owners want to bring them up to higher tions, and minimize dependence on in-  
[
1
thermal performance].”  
Steve Fronek, vice president, techni- labor,” he says, adding that when reno-  
creasingly scarce and expensive field PrWohdeuthcertfSoreelneecrgtyiopnerformance or  
cal services for Wausau Window and vation is limited to window replace- aesthetics, a range of products are avail-  
Wall Systems in Wausau,Wis., sees two ment, design teams continue to expand able that are ideal for renovation projects.  
particular trends in renovation: unit- their considerations of simulated dou-  
ized curtainwall for complete re- ble-hung windows.  
“Architects,building owners and facil-  
ity managers are seeing that high-per-  
cladding and simulated double-hungs  
for window replacement.  
“For many replacement window proj- formance low-E glass in double- or  
ects, the units are tall, double- or triple-  
continued on page 44  
The re-cladding and update of com- hung sash. When upgraded from single  
42  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
www.usglassmag.com  
Room For  
Improvement  
continued from page 42  
triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGU) many historic buildings were designed with local adoption and modifications.  
can significantly improve the energy ef- to take inherent advantage of occupant  
ficiency of older buildings,” says Schulz. ventilation via operable windows and teams that establish requirements for  
Replacement of older,single-pane win- natural daylight harvest,now considered new construction projects also head up  
“Since many of the same design  
dows improves energy performance and sustainable design practices. Many his- major renovations, their expectations  
can update the aesthetics of the façade. toric buildings feature high ceilings, for energy efficiency and sustainability  
This can be of great value for building atria, light wells and high thermal mass carry over. They are looking for low U-  
owners and facility managers who are wall construction. These weren’t green factors and solar heat gain, high visible  
looking for ways to improve the appear- options in the days before high-effi- transmittance, and improved conden-  
ance and energy performance of exist- ciency lighting and air conditioning; sation resistance.”  
ing structures.It’s perfect timing for this they were simple necessities.”  
economical solution, considering how Lutzker adds that in many cases own- ects, you’re reaching a certain audience.  
many government buildings are cur- ers and architects want to bring buildings “The building owner and/or facility  
rently being mandated to make energy- up to code while also allowing for opti- manager are key stakeholders in retro-  
Schulzpointsout,thatwithretrofitproj-  
efficiency improvements.”  
Lutzker says options in glass and glaz-  
mal aesthetic value and performance.  
“When you are going to market for a struction, architects typically look to  
fit projects,” he says. “For new con-  
ing have accelerated in recent years. window replacement, there really must design for façade appearance first, in  
“Today we see many glass coating tech- be a compelling reason as most people conjunction with energy savings. For  
nologies utilizing different types of low- (in a multi-family application) are most retrofits, energy savings is often the  
E coatings and films to achieve better UV concerned with disruption and dealing most critical requirement so that the re-  
performance, double- and triple-glazed with the undertaking that goes along turn on investment can be maximized.”  
IGUs, interior glazed systems, window with replacing commercial windows,  
He adds that as more stringent en-  
shades and fins,”she says, adding that in not to mention the expense,” she says. ergy codes are adopted by the states, it  
some markets the use of dynamic glaz- “Another big factor in replacement is is leading to more high-performance  
ing products such as electrochromic and energy savings. When you think of a low-E glass in retrofits in almost all re-  
even photovoltaic glazing is increasing.  
commercial window,some might imag- gions, along with increased use of triple  
But you still have to be aware of ine aluminum‘commercial’ as an insti- glazing,warm-edge spacers and hybrid  
costs.  
tutional like system. Over the years, systems, as well as new technologies to  
“Whatever type of glazing system manufacturers have improved products improve the solar heat gain coefficient  
you are looking at must make sense for and offerings to achieve maximum per- and/or light-to-solar-gain ratio.  
all parties involved,” she says. formance by [updating] thermal tech- Bucher says in recent years they’ve  
Fronek says when it comes to aes- nologies. You now have double- and been installing a lot more triple-glazed  
thetics historically accurate products triple-glazed systems and can still offer units compared to doubles.  
are often required. He points out that a sleek design.”  
“In Alaska,everything is pretty much  
this type of window has helped qualify Bucher says a lot of the renovation becoming all triple-glazed,” he says.  
more than 30,000 buildings for historic work in his area is focused on improv-  
renovation tax credits,and is a require- ing thermal performance, due to the StAasytihnegcoPnsrtorudctuiocntiinvdeustry cycles  
ment for more than 400 historic gov- lower-performing older curtainwalls.  
ernment buildings managed by the “We’ve even developed our own cur- through its highs and lows,the glass in-  
General Services Administration.  
The level to which historic buildings for the Alaska climate,” he says.  
must be preserved depends on regula-  
tainwall systems designed specifically dustry can find opportunities, whether  
in new or renovation work. Architec-  
tural trends will evolve, leading to aes-  
tions, desired tax credits and grants, EyWehiolenneEwngelazrigngyproducts will likely thetic upgrades,and as energy demands  
and the nature of the building.  
also increase, this, too, will drive ad-  
“If historical preservation is done come with high-performance features, vances for glass and glazing. s  
with a high degree of accuracy on pri- Fronek says energy efficiency is not al-  
vate-sector buildings on the National ways the sole reason for replacement.  
Register of Historic Places, up to a 20  
“Payback times and return on in-  
percent tax credit is available,” says vestment can be marginal com-  
Fronek.“The program is jointly admin- pared to more low-hanging fruit,  
istered by the National Park Service,the such as lighting, control system or  
Internal Revenue Service and [the local] equipment upgrades,” he says, ex-  
E l l e n R o g e r s is the  
editor of  
USGlass magazine.  
Follow her on Twitter  
@USGlass and like USGlass  
on Facebook to receive  
updates.  
state historical preservation office.”  
plaining that code requirements for  
He adds,“I am often surprised at how renovation projects vary widely  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
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