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Façade Retrofit Puts An Efficient New Face on Old Buildings


What do we do with the large number of aging commercial buildings that have been built over the last half-century? These buildings often look dated, and they can be extremely inefficient; occupant comfort can be a problem, as can operating costs; and all these factors make it difficult to keep tenants. Demolishing these buildings is a waste (see “Retrofits (Usually) Greener Than New Construction, Study Says”), but bringing them up to date comes at a significant cost to owners and disruption to tenants. The ERC 50 Modernization Façade from Schüco, may help change this. This façade is a modular rainscreen system that incorporates windows and can be installed quickly without significantly disturbing occupants, while potentially delivering high levels of thermal insulation.

The ERC 50 Modernization Façade includes an aluminum load-bearing framework that is secured to the building structure using specially designed brackets. Installed on the building exterior at the ceiling level on each floor, these brackets can be adjusted in any direction to account for walls that are uneven or no longer plumb. The aluminum grid/frame is anchored to the brackets, and Schüco’s windows are installed and sealed against the building (the original windows are left intact until the entire exterior façade is finished). Mineral wool insulation is then secured to the building, and the thin panels are mechanically attached to the frame using EPDM gaskets—and without the use of caulk, making it possible for the panels to be easily replaced if damaged. After the façade is in place, the original windows are removed, and the interior is trimmed out.

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