In with the Old  
Shining a Light on Renovation  
b y K a t h e r i n e C o i g  
e’re living in an age that re-  
gurgitates the past; trends  
of today come from nearly  
every previous generation, and that  
includes some architectural ones. Not  
only do more people want to re-create  
the past, they want to preserve it. And  
one way to do that is to renovate.  
So why does the glass industry pay  
more attention to new construction  
projects and less to renovation and  
retrofitting? The results from a recent  
USGlass magazine survey (see page  
3) indicate this is exactly the case.  
According to FMI Corp., new con-  
struction has been climbing steadily  
over the last five years, albeit slowly.  
But there are plenty of existing build-  
ings with windows and glass in need  
of upgrades for a variety of reasons—  
energy efficiency,aesthetics and added  
security, just to name a few. So if the  
opportunities are there, why doesn’t  
the glass industry go and grab them?  
KTehee lpobibnygof 1N22e1wAveYnuoerokf thGe Almaesriscays in Manhattanone of the tallest  
structures in New York, towering more than 50 stories—was recently reno-  
vated to make the space bright and welcoming. The goal was to create a  
flowing transition between the interior and exterior by renovating the large,  
two-story-high glass façade of the building’s entry to bring in maximum trans-  
parency and light transmittance.  
The glass façade was an essential design aspect in the planning of the  
lobby, so size, light transmittance and color were key factors in determining  
which glass was best suited for the job. MdeAS Architects of New York chose  
Glas Trösch’s laminated safety glass Silverstar En2 for the installation due  
to its color neutrality and energy efficiency, and Eurowhite NG for the base  
glass because of the product’s low iron-oxide content, which was supplied  
by Euroglas.  
The translucent front of the main lobby encompasses an area spanning  
more than 400 square meters. The 5-by-2-meter glass panels were structur-  
ally silicone glazed on an extruded aluminum framing system. From the front,  
there is no construction material visible on the more than nine-meter-high  
façade. In combination with the highly transparent glass façade, this creates  
the impression of a floor-to-ceiling, nearly invisible curtainwall.  
Retrofitting the Industry  
According to a speech given by Jo-  
seph Puishys, CEO of Apogee Enter-  
prises, parent company of contract  
glazing firm Harmon Inc., as well as a  
number of other glass industry com-  
panies, the amount of glass in new  
construction is equal to one percent of  
the glass in existing buildings, stating,  
yet we’re all chasing that one percent.”  
Matthew Perks,owner of Perks Glass  
in Cedar, Texas, is one of the few who  
doesn’t shy away from renovation. In  
fact, more than 75 percent of his busi-  
ness comes from that sector alone.  
I’ve worked seven days a week for  
the past three to four months,” he says.  
There’s so much opportunity—we’re  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | December 2016  
Renovation vs. New Construction  
USGlass magazine surveyed more than 8,000 contract glaziers across the  
country to get their opinion on why new construction seems to get more at-  
tention than renovation in the glass industry. Respondents told us why they’re  
sticking with either preferred sector—or why they choose to dabble in both.  
If your company is primarily focused on new construction,  
why do you cater to this area?  
We like to be involved from the beginning of a project, starting  
with the initial design  
New construction is more profitable  
There are too many challenges/obstacles to renovation  
There’s not enough opportunity in renovation  
Focus on both  
so busy,and it’s only going to get busier.”  
And he may be right. As Puishys  
pointed out, the U.S. commercial sec-  
tor consists of 5 million buildings  
spanning 70 billion square feet. That  
holds a lot of untouched glazing op-  
portunity considering 60-70 percent of  
those commercial buildings were built  
before low-E glass.  
Depends on our GC  
What are the most common reasons for renovation?  
“Building owners upgrade and reno-  
vate for a variety of reasons, and that’s  
a very viable business,” Puishys added.  
He also suggests that it’s time for gla-  
ziers to be more serious regarding  
these prospects.  
Energy efficiency/performance  
System problems/failures (air/water leakage, etc.)  
Money is the Motive  
What types of products are used most frequently  
in renovation?  
Renovation jobs may not bring in as  
much money as new construction, as  
Perks noted when detailing the average  
prices he charges for replacing a lite of  
glass. But there’s more of it out there  
in a much less competitive market, as  
surveyors pointed out.  
Insulating glass  
Full window/system replacement  
Dynamic glazing  
“Everything is brought up to money,”  
says Perks. “With the bigger players,  
there’s just more money for them in cording to the construction outlook de- lion-dollar market opportunity; more  
new construction. They’re usually fo- veloped by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a than half the glass out there is mono-  
cused on certain areas,for instance,the financial and professional services firm lithic uncoated.”  
government.They find a spot and work that specializes in commercial real estate Apogee Enterprises has focused on  
with it. It’s just more money.” services and investment management. commercial retrofitting over the past  
Perks notes that his company is But all signs are pointing to a slowdown few years. Puishys stated they “quickly  
small compared to larger firms in his in construction spending as financiers, built a $20 million business” out of it,  
surrounding area. This makes it easier developers and contractors are growing and he believes one day it will represent  
for him to get the renovation jobs that wary of starting new projects since the $100 million in sales for his company.  
the others probably wouldn’t touch. “I economy’s seven-year growth is coming  
think they [big players] don’t want it— to a halt, according to the JLL outlook. Opportunity Awaits  
it’s not worth it,” he says. “Thirty jobs  
But the silver lining to the antici-  
With an extensive amount of exist-  
all under $1,000? They take the scope pated slowdown is in energy efficiency. ing buildings in need of retrofitting, as  
of that work and put it to the side.”  
“There’s a tremendous opportunity, Puishys noted, opportunity to break  
There may be a lot of money in new especially when guaranteed energy into this market is looming in nearly  
construction—a market valued at $317 savings is in the value proposition,”  
billion in the third quarter of 2016, ac- Puishys emphasized. “It’s a multi-bil-  
continued on page 84  
December 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
every town, city or state. And while lo- area,” adds Perks.“Student housing al- flagships under a new brand.” Hotels are  
cation may be a determining factor for ways needs some kind of maintenance prime renovation real estate, he adds,  
some,the institutional sector—namely work, especially now that low-E glass commenting on how often hotels change  
universities, schools and hospitals— is required.”  
offers a vast amount of retrofitting  
hands.They also often have regular reno-  
Craig Schaal, president of Schaal Glass vation schedules to update interiors.  
prospects. Schools in particular are in Erie, Pa., says most of his company’s  
great to pursue since they are normally renovation work comes from hotels. The Hang-Up  
Considering the untouched oppor-  
Most of my renovation opportu- tion,” he says.“A lot of existing hotels are tunities in renovation, why, then, are  
closed for the summer.  
“The hotel business is great for renova-  
nities come from universities in my being renovated and turned into other glazing firms, both large and small, not  
jumping into this sector? Some may  
argue it’s a lack of opportunity, but  
Schaal adds it’s more than that.  
“I disagree that there aren’t enough  
10 Leslie Ct. Whippany, NJ 07981  
opportunities to do renovation,” says  
Schaal, whose business relies on both  
sectors.“It all comes down to how you  
run your business model. But I do  
think it’s important to expand your  
capabilities—you have to do both to  
survive in a local market.”  
Phone: (862) 701-5320  
It’s not that companies are afraid  
to dabble in retrofitting. Schaal  
says it’s that some companies feel  
they’re perfectly successful in new  
“Other glass shops seem to have no in-  
terest in renovation,”adds Rhonda John-  
son,president of AAA Glass & Mirror Co.  
Inc. in Dayton, Ohio.“We get customers  
referred to us by many local glass shops,  
as they do not want to do renovation.”  
And along those lines, companies  
that work primarily in retrofitting do it  
because it suits their vision.  
“I don’t seek out new construction. It  
would keep me there for too long,and I’d  
lose all my existing contracts,”says Perks.  
But if a glazier is looking to jump  
into commercial retrofitting, Perks  
offers his best advice:“Look at compa-  
nies that do rehab and contact apart-  
ment complexes.There’s a lot of money  
to be made there.”  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | December 2016