Impact and Efficiency All in One

August 6th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

A homeowner or building owner shopping for new windows in coastal regions often places impact resistance at the top of their window requirements. However, many desire energy efficiency as well. Rodney Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for Custom Window Systems in Ocala, Fla., tells how both needs of the customer can be met and how the company is melding the two on a current project. The project also serves as yet another example of the growth of the multi-family market, and shows that vinyl is an efficient choice in coastal applications.

The company provided hurricane impact-resistant windows and sliding patio doors for Seabourn Cove, a townhouse and apartment complex located in Boynton Beach, Fla., which is described by developers as the largest sustainable energy residential development in the country.

The complex’s 2,800 windows are Energy Star rated, vinyl, hurricane-impact windows with Cardinal LoĒ³-366 glass and argon gas which translates into in them a U-Value of .30, a solar heat gain coefficient of .21 and a visual light transmittance of .49, says Miller. Those involved in the project took great care in choosing the windows.

“The main challenge was in the initial stages of helping them [owners] choose the correct material and mix of glass coatings and technology,” says Miller.

He says the company worked very closely with the builder, Gulfstream Gardens, and its dealer and installer, Diversified Window Solutions, to get the most energy-efficient, hurricane impact-resistant doors and windows specified on this project.

“We were able to provide a window solution that combined extremely low energy values while still maintaining the high design pressure and structural performance required for southeast Florida,” he says.

Seabourn Cove has been recognized by the National Green Building Standard as the nation’s largest “green” multifamily community and Miller says great care has been taken by all involved to meet that goal, so it’s not just about the windows, though they are a large component. Miller says there are electric car chargers in every garage and a double ceiling so air conditioning never passes through a hot attic.

“The windows are part of a strategic mix of materials, sustainable design and construction techniques used in this project,” says Miller. “The windows will be a major component in an estimated 30-40 percent reduction in individual residential energy bills in this community.”

Tenants moved into the first building on July 1, and the entire project of 456 townhomes is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Miller says the apartments are being rented as soon as they are ready.

Miller says this project is unique as Boynton Beach worked out a deal with developers that helped them achieve $2 million in tax rebates. He adds, however, that his company is definitely seeing an increase in work in the multifamily segment overall.

“Building permits in Southeast Fla., have definitely gone up this year,” he says. “From what we have heard it is driven by foreclosures, and the fact that many people don’t want to own a home right now so there is an increased need for these types of projects. There were a lot of new construction multifamily starts that were dormant and are now back into the construction phase again.”

He adds that the company has worked on many multifamily projects in the past year and “our pipeline of quotes is growing.”

Miller also was pleased to see vinyl windows specified in this project and hopes this will continue in additional projects.

“Vinyl has not been accepted in Southeast Florida until recently,” he says. “A lot of people still ask for aluminum. We think this will really help the confidence in the marketplace to utilize a vinyl window in a high-velocity hurricane zone.”

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