Curtainwall retrofit, with a Viracon glass coating, brings new life to building showing its age.
Emerald Hills Executive Plaza One (now known as Ganot Plaza) was contemporary when it was designed and built in the late 1970’s. Forty some years later, the building showed its age. Located in Hollywood, FL, decades of intense sun and tropical storms had beaten the exterior. The façade glass used an inconsistent film that performed poorly in keeping out the intense Florida sun and solar heat, and occupant comfort was a casualty. The quality of the window system was poor as well, allowing the interior’s cooled air to seep out and water to leak in. The building owners were managing a space with high cooling costs, aesthetically displeasing windows due to water damage and deteriorating glass film, and an outdated, weather-beaten exterior. This resulted in a depressed look that the owners believed was affecting their ability to attract quality tenants.
Owners Ganot Capital LLC had to decide whether to tear down and rebuild or to renovate the 63,342-sq.-ft., six-story mid-rise office building. Although worn in appearance and in need of a better-performing window system, its structure was solid. However, it was built before hurricane-resistant construction practices were standard, so the curtainwall was not designed for impact resistance. After evaluating options, project manager David Loper and his team at Ganot Capital decided that an exterior façade renovation was the most fiscally and environmentally responsible choice.
To achieve the goal of an upscale, modern look with improved performance, the building was going to need a major overhaul including a curtainwall retrofit. The consensus was to choose the glass provider that would deliver a complete package of dependable service and quality product. As Loper explained, “We interviewed several glass companies and heard good reports on Viracon (Viracon Inc., Owatonna, MN, viracon.com), regarding the quality of their products and service reputation.”
With a long history of providing glass for projects throughout Florida, the Viracon team was ready to provide technical consultation from the design phase through completion of the retrofit. Understanding the challenges of the project, the team focused on the four critical requirements for the glass solution: energy efficiency to save the building owners and tenants on HVAC costs, solar management of the intense Florida sun, the need to upgrade the overall aesthetics to attract top-tier tenants and improve lease rates, and hurricane resistance to meet current-day standards.
After assessing the relatively extreme project requirements, Viracon recommended VUE-30, a high-performance solar coating for glass, as an optimal solution. Engineered to meet the increased market demand for low-emissivity coating glass, VUE-30 helped the Ganot Plaza project exceed domestic energy-code requirements. The glass also offered the transparent appearance requested for the project. The glass is visually pleasing from the exterior of a building, and offers optimal rates of visible light transmittance (31% VLT) into the building while reducing glare and solar heat gain (18% SHGC). With the coating selected, the team designed the final insulating glass unit, with a laminated layer for hurricane resistance.
To attain the appropriate level of hurricane resistance, the company delivered the glass units to a local Florida glazier firm that used Pro-Tech 7SG, a 7-in., 4-sided, structurally glazed curtainwall system approved by Miami-Dade County and State of Florida building requirements.
The original stucco exterior was stripped and replaced with a sleek-looking curtainwall system that incorporates the benefits of insulating, laminated, and spandrel glass, giving Ganot Plaza the modern curbside appeal the owners desired. In addition, renovations to some of the interior spaces and upgrades to the roof insulation and the HVAC system were made. By choosing to renovate rather than rebuild, Ganot Capital limited the environmental impact of the upgrade while still meeting all the project goals.
Reports Loper, “No matter how bright the sun is, when you look outside it feels like you’re wearing sunglasses.”