Great Glazing: PPG’s Monroeville Business and Technology Center

The basics: The 10,150-square-foot Monroeville Business and Technology Center near Pittsburgh currently serves as the business headquarters for PPG’s specialty coatings and materials business unit. The facility opened in 1960 and featured single-pane windows, common in commercial buildings at the time, but notoriously inefficient. The renovation involved the installation of a façade retrofit system. Completed during the winter with minimal disturbance to daily activities, the project was finished in approximately two weeks with workers installing 66 total window units.

The players: Contract glazier, Steel City Glass; glass manufacturer, Vitro Architectural Glass; windows, Renovate by Berkowitz

The glass and systems: Opting for a permanent solution in the renovation was a crucial decision for the project. The retrofitted façade now includes an insulating glass unit with two lites of low-emissivity glass, added to existing windows to improve their energy and thermal efficiency.

As configured for the Monroeville Business and Technology Center, the Renovate Platinum Plus II system features Solarban solar control low-E glass and Sungate 400 passive low-E glass by Vitro Architectural Glass. Because the Renovate system is installed on the inside, the building remained enclosed. 

Prior to completing the window retrofit project, PPG conducted a two-week, internal study to calculate the improvements that could be made by installing the new system. The study observed the energy lost through two adjacent windows in an unoccupied office at the facility. One window was retrofitted with the Renovate system, while the other was left untouched with existing window film. The study showed that the Renovate system improved the window’s energy efficiency by 42 percent over the original window, and the retrofitted window’s glass surface temperature was considerably more consistent with the ambient room temperature.

“We previously used window film to improve window performance with mixed results,” says Joe Krezan, building manager, PPG. “It was difficult to maintain indoor temperatures and the building suffered from cold and hot spots.”  According to Krezan, the building is also easier to cool in summer months, and tenants are more satisfied with the building temperature. He adds, “It provides a clean look, too. Without knowing, you couldn’t tell an IGU was added to an original window."