RENOVATE by Berkowitz Window Retrofit System

Green Never Looked So Glassy

2015 USGlass Green Design Awards from on Vimeo.

“This was tough work this year.” That was the sentiment from judges when it came to entries in USGlass magazine’s 2015 Green Design Awards. Projects covered the architectural gamut, from high- to low-rises, commercial and non-commercial; cold climates to hot climates, even new construction and renovation.

The criteria were simple: Show us projects completed in the past 12-18 months that feature glass and glazing as a key element of the building’s energy-efficient design. Submissions this year did not disappoint.
To determine the winners in this year’s competition, judges considered the following points:

• Energy: Does the building improve efficiency and reduce consumption?

• Materials: Does the building use sustainable materials and eliminate waste?

• Assurance: Does the project’s design comply with environmental regulations (consider any ratings such as LEED, etc.)?

• Innovation: Did the project incorporate unique/innovative design practices, products, etc. through its glazing/façade?

• Location and transportation: One bonus point was given if materials were sourced within 500 miles of the project location. (For the purpose of this competition we did not focus on the actual extraction, etc., but that the glazing materials were brought in within 500 miles.)

While the competition this year was close, three projects stood out. Each is unique and sets a high standard for future designs and performance.

Note: The information was provided by nominees. It has not been independently verified by USGlass magazine or its staff.

First Place:
The Tower at PNC Plaza, Pittsburgh

Date of completion:
October 1, 2015


Contract glazier:
Permasteelisa Group

Building envelope/curtainwall consultant:
Heintges & Associates

Glass suppliers:
PPG Industries (manufacturer); J.E. Berkowitz Glass (fabricator)

Glass/Glazing Materials Used?
Outer wall: Laminated glass featuring two lites of 5⁄16-inch Starphire ultra-clear glass with a SentryGlas interlayer by Kuraray. Inner wall: Insulating glass units featuring 3⁄8-inch Starphire glass and ¼-inch Sungate 400 passive low-E glass.

Glazing square footage:
More than 400,000 square feet.

Energy performance benefits provided by the glazing:

Combined with Starphire glass in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit, Sungate glass has visible light transmittance of 80 percent, along with solar heat gain coefficient of 0.68 and a winter nighttime U-value of 0.28. Sungate glass is engineered to maximize the environmental performance of buildings in northern climates by harvesting solar heat in the winter to diminish furnace loads and by emitting high levels of daylight year round to reduce lighting costs.

Sustainable attributes of the glazing systems:

The two-layer façade for the project is equipped with a motorized outer layer and a manually operable inner layer of louvers that draw fresh air across building floors, where it warms, rises through two shafts in the building’s core and exhausts through the roof. Narrow floor plates and highly transparent Starphire and Sungate glasses enable light to penetrate 92 percent of work spaces throughout the building.

Location of glass source:

The glass was manufactured in Carlisle, Pa., about 190 miles from Pittsburgh, and the IGUs were fabricated in Pedricktown, N.J., about 317 miles from Pittsburgh. To manufacture the façade, Permasteelisa Group opened a facility in Crafton, Pa., about 6 miles from Pittsburgh, where about 50 percent of the façade was sourced. The remaining portions were sourced from Permasteelisa Group’s facility in Windsor, Conn., which is about 478 miles from Pittsburgh.

Environmental/sustainable assurance (i.e. LEED or other rating, HPD, EPD, etc.):

The tower is expected to earn LEED Platinum certification.

What are the unique/innovative design practices, products, etc.?

The project’s unique dual-layer façade incorporates pop-out windows on the outer façade, as well as vents on the inner façade on the north and south sides, to allow natural air to travel through workspaces and up two air shafts to passively maintain the building’s temperature for 42 percent of the time each year.

Second Place:
Sandridge Energy HQ
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Date of completion:
September 30, 2015

Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates

Contract glazier:
American Glass, Tulsa, Okla.

Glass suppliers:
AGC Glass Co. and PPG
(manufacturers); J.E. Berkowitz LP (fabricator)

Glass/Glazing Materials Used?
J.E. Berkowitz – 3Seal Spacer; 7⁄8-inch IGU OB: 3⁄16-inch SB60 TMP #2 Air: ½-inch Black 3Seal Spacer with Argon IB: Comfort Select 73 TMP #4.

Glazing square footage: 65,538 square feet.

Energy performance benefits provided by the glazing:

Estimated energy cost(s) saving based on eQUEST modeling is 25 percent (+/-).

Sustainable attributes of the glazing systems:

Re-purposed an existing building; saving land by upgrading buildings already built; improving performance and increasing comfort for tenants; Cradle-to-Cradle certified glass; minimal landfill considerations.

Environmental/sustainable assurance (i.e. LEED or other rating, HPD, EPD, etc.):

Energy & Atmosphere Intent: Reduce environmental and economic impacts from excessive energy use (EA Prerequisite 2). Intent: To achieve increasing levels of energy performance for your building (EA Credit 1). Materials & Resources Intent: Maintain Interior Nonstructural Elements (MR Credit 1.2). Indoor Environmental Quality Intent: To provide a comfortable thermal environment that promotes occupant productivity and well-being (IEQ Credit 7.1). Innovation in Design Intent: To provide design teams and projects the opportunity to achieve exceptional performance above the requirements set by the LEED (ID Credit 1).

What are the unique/innovative design practices, products, etc.?

The Renovate system is a window retrofit technology that converts existing single-pane windows into energy-efficient, triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs). Intended for 30- to 60-year-old commercial buildings, the system maintains a building’s exterior by hermetically sealing a factory-made IGU to the interior surface of the existing window. The new IGU offers more than 20 percent in annual energy savings, while providing improved indoor comfort and reduced street noise. Significantly less disruptive than a complete “rip-out-and-replace” project and dramatically more energy efficient than window film, the Renovate system provides a cost-effective alternative for retrofitting windows. Other benefits include improved thermal performance; considerably less cost and construction waste than a traditional rip-out; outside noise reduction and better interior acoustics (STC from 30 to 37); little to no disruption of tenants; increased security; certified installer network; contributes to LEED requirements (a minimum of 4 points).

Source: USGlass Magazine

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