Room for Improvement: Installers, Suppliers
Take Second Look at Retrofits
February 4, 2010
Commercial glass suppliers and installers have been taking a closer
look at ways to capitalize on opportunities in the retrofit market
while new commercial construction churns through a forecasted slump
Robin Randall, vice president of marketing for Traco in Cranberry
Township, Pa., has been watching this trend take off. We have
seen an increase in retrofit projects, in large part due to the
decline in new construction.
Others say this growing trend might not be growing fast enough
to really help buoy installers searching for work.
Renovation projects would have to significantly increase
in order to offset the losses in other commercial segments,
adds Jeff Griffiths, director of business development at SAFTI FIRST
Fire Rated Glazing Solutions. However, he acknowledges, An
increased emphasis on energy performance improvements, the need
to align older buildings with todays technological needs and
the ability to tap into equity for funding are all important factors
that could cushion the blow to the renovation market segment.
While retrofit revenues for Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises
historically have been about 25 percent, Russ Huffer, chairperson
and chief executive officer, has said this may change with the right
HERE for related story).
Already, Huffer says, he is seeing increased interest as a result
of stimulus projects. He adds, Weve also
seen interest from non-government projects, but many of these projects
are not moving ahead with the difficulty in obtaining financing.
Mark Meshulam, executive vice president of Builders Architectural
in Deerfield, Ill., agrees that the retrofit work might not be there
nowbut now is precisely the time to prepare for work in this
Right now theres been such a huge decrease in all kinds
of work that its hard to say, Meshulam says. He adds,
I believe that the fastest part of our industrys market
to return will be rehab, first in the public sector, then the private
Meshulam advises glass industry professionals to promote their
energyand costbenefits based on a three-pronged approach,
by addressing tax benefits available to help with the immediate
costs, addressing the longer-term energy savings and looking toward
existing data that documents the enhanced market value of properties
with green upgrades.
Huffer cites similar data. Often monolithic glass is being
replaced and there are huge energy savings to be achieved, as well
as increases in comfort and productivity for employees with the
improved energy efficiency and greater use of daylighting. The improvements
also increase the value of the building and can lead to increased
lease rates for building owners, he says.
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For more information, look for the February 2010 issue of USGlass.
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