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Company Rehires Unemployed Workers for Energy Efficient Window Project

August 20, 2010 - 12:57pm

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"Our labor force has fluctuated up and down this year due to the economy," said Pacific Glass President Bernie Thueringer. 

Thueringer and domestic frame and glass suppliers Efco Corp and Old Castle Glass have seen new business from a Recovery Act funded energy efficiency project in Kitsap County, Washington.

"We were excited about this project because we were able to bring five of our guys who were on unemployment back to work," said Thueringer of Pacific Glass.

From numerous remodeling and expansions, the exterior of the 75-year-old Kitsap County Courthouse in Washington has been an energy loser. Pacific Glass, the project's general contractor, had to staff up to handle the job of replacing 95 mismatched windows. The $478,536 project, funded through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, will help the County save $25,000 annually.

Glaziers at Pacific Glass are skilled in the full realm of window installation duties.  To retrofit the windows, they performed onsite demolition of the old windows and glass.  Once that was done, they fabricated the 24-foot stock aluminum lengths to fit the various window openings and tucked the energy efficient glass in place before caulking it with sealant. 

And they did it on nights and weekends so the building's occupants -- workers in the sheriff's office and judges' chambers -- wouldn't be disturbed by their anchoring, hammering and drilling.

Savings and visual appeal

"We expect the new windows will reduce drafts and help with temperature regulation," said Autumn Salamack, Kitsap's resource conservation manager.  "We had a lot of heating and cooling issues with folks needing to use fans or space heaters." (Read about Salamack's job here.)

The new, double-glazed, low-emissivity (Low-E), gas-filled windows will reduce the county's energy costs and make the building more comfortable for occupants by lessening solar glare and heat loss and gain, says Ron Thomas, AIA, of Thomas Architecture Studio. 

Thus insulated, the occupants only feel the outdoors inside when they crack open the newly operable windows to let in the fresh air of a mild summer. 

"For the first time in a long time, the courthouse has a coordinated exterior," said Thomas, who helped the county balance its programmatic needs with its budget. "From a purely aesthetic perspective, it's a great improvement."

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