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Comparing Window Retrofits for Commercial Buildings

April 17, 2018

In a commercial building setting, a comfortable indoor environment is key to tenant satisfaction. Anything short of indoor comfort will compromise tenant satisfaction, while damaging tenant retention. This is where window retrofits for commercial buildings have proven to be successful in a number of ways – from enhanced comfort, to energy conservation, to sound dampening.

Window Retrofitting

When it comes to window retrofits for commercial buildings, MAGNETITE’s window-insulation system is the ideal retrofit for virtually any window. The patented system can be customized for any window size or shape. The finished installation provides an airtight seal, additional thermal insulation, excellent soundproofing, and vastly improved indoor comfort (accredited by CSA™).

3M™ Window Films

3M™ Window Films are another viable option for window retrofits for commercial buildings. The results are immediate and dramatic - improved seasonal comfort, reduced glare from sunlight, and huge annual energy savings. The return on investment is also impressive, with the savings on energy consumption allowing for a payback period of less than five years (film and installation).

Window Replacement

While sometimes necessary, window replacement in a commercial building can be a major undertaking and quite cost-intensive. Whatever the reason for replacement, new energy-efficient window systems can deliver substantial savings (energy savings and maintenance savings). When commercial window replacement poses a sizable cost investment for a building owner, retrofitting with MAGNETITE windows can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in project costs (all depending on the number of windows being replaced). In a commercial setting, whether in a residential building or office building, the dollar savings can be quite significant and determining. Done right, window replacement can be a cost-effective option, with a reasonable payback period.

Comparing window film, window replacement, and window retrofits

Commercial Window Films

In considering window retrofits for commercial buildings, owners and property managers are often responding to tenant complaints about overheating (especially on higher floors). Even with energy efficient window blinds and air conditioning, indoor comfort issues can continue. Here, the challenge is to address overheated office spaces without engaging in major construction.

For many building owners, external window modifications are simply not a viable option – they are impractical and costly, without focusing on prevailing problems and issues. As an alternative, 3M™ Window Films have proven to be effective in providing a more comfortable office climate. There is less solar heat, more protection against UV rays, and no loss of the natural sunlight.

3M™ Window Films are optically clear - they are hardly visible, they block sunlight reflection, and they offer superior heat rejection. To accommodate various building specifications, these high-performance window films are available in different capacities to suit specific requirements. The installation process is quick, the conversion is non-disruptive, and the results are immediate.

Commercial Window Retrofits

In any building, windows are the primary source of heat infiltration and exfiltration. Summer and winter, energy waste is quite substantial, adding additional and unnecessary operational costs. With window retrofitting, existing windows can be upgraded cost-effectively, providing excellent short-term and long-term benefits. This is where MAGNETITE window retrofits offer a solution.

MAGNETITE window systems are ideal as window retrofits for commercial buildings. This is a unique approach to the “double glazing” concept, addressing a number of problems at once:  improving indoor occupant comfort; reducing outdoor sound and noise; blocking out harmful UV rays; and enhancing building energy efficiency. Bottom line, there are big annual cost savings.

With MAGNETITE commercial window retrofits, the return-on-investment makes business sense. Long term benefits and cost savings provide a realistic payback period on the initial project cost. Practically every type of window can be upgraded, regardless of the size, shape, and architectural design. Installations aren’t disruptive and the finished install doesn’t change exterior aesthetics.

MAGNETITE window systems are quality manufactured (100% virgin acrylic) and guaranteed not to discolour over time. The window panels are backed by a 10-year manufacturer warranty. While MAGNETITE panels remain completely out of sight, the enhanced thermal insulation and sound proofing make a demonstrable difference for building occupants throughout the year.

Commercial Window Replacement

One of the more substantial window retrofits for commercial buildings is complete window replacement. Clearly, energy efficiency is a major benefit, as high performance window systems can dramatically enhance air tightness while improving thermal insulation. Beyond the added comfort to building occupants, new windows measurably reduce annual energy consumption.

High performance window systems prevent the outdoor weather from negatively affecting the indoor heating and cooling system. New windows reduce air infiltration and therefore reduce the demand load on HVAC systems. This in itself will serve to reduce energy consumption (winter and summer) and provide building owners with very substantial energy savings annually.

Today’s new window technology also blocks out excessive ultraviolet rays – a benefit to both occupants and infrastructure. As well, advanced design elements make for easier maintenance and increased sustainability. By any measure, new windows are an expensive undertaking, and although they might boost aesthetics, the charm of the original windows may be sacrificed.

Energy efficiency and window retrofits for commercial buildings

Residential and commercial buildings account for about 30 - 40% of all energy consumption in the United States and Canada. It therefore makes sense that energy efficiency becomes a top priority for building owners and building designers. When it comes to aging properties, window retrofits for commercial buildings should be an integral part of any improvement and/or upgrade plan.

Too often, commercial buildings focus on everything other than windows when addressing energy efficiency. While well intentioned, this is not always the most cost effective route. In fact, inefficient window systems can negatively affect heating loads (cold climates) and cooling loads (warm climates) more severely than any other building dynamic, and the annual cost is high.

With energy efficiency, industry professionals agree that making improvements to a building’s exterior envelope is the first thing to address. Inefficient window systems, regardless of type, do not provide optimum performance, and can do substantial harm. However, the cost of complete window replacement, especially in larger buildings, can be prohibitive and are therefore evaded.

Considering the various options for window retrofits for commercial buildings, the benefits of upgrading and updating through retrofitting make good business sense – it’s simply a win-win for building owner and tenant. A comfortable, energy efficient building results in better tenant retention, more manageable operational costs, and a commitment to government objectives.

Great Northern Insulation provides window retrofits for commercial buildings

Leading the way in energy efficiency improvements, Great Northern Insulation provides options for window retrofits for commercial buildings. For a start, the professionals at GNI provide a project calculation to substantiate the business case for upgrades. At the same time, GNI will define the return-on-investment, therefore quantifying the window upgrades and/or retrofits.

Today, window retrofits deliver a host of worthwhile benefits for the long term - from occupant comfort, to building durability, to energy efficiency. Residential or commercial, these benefits go a long way to ensure tenant retention, while reducing overhead and operational costs. And with energy costs representing an ever-present challenge, window retrofits can turn things around.

As building science experts, the team at Great Northern Insulation has the practical experience and expertise to deliver results. From inspection, to assessment, to recommendations, our people will expedite a commercial window retrofit with quantifiable results in a short period of time. Find out more by calling 1.800.265.1914 or visit the company website at https://www.gni.ca .

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