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How Warm-Edge Spacer Helps Preserve Architectural Integrity and Boosts Performance

Commercial and architectural window retrofit projects are often undertaken with the intent of boosting thermal performance. In applications like historical buildings, proper care must be taken to preserve the structure’s integrity, requiring the right combination of expertise and proven components for the job. Here’s how one specialty window company made it happen for a historic high school in Nashville, with help from Quanex:

Hume-Fogg Magnet High School was the first operating public school in Nashville, originally constructed in 1855. Featuring striking Gothic Revival architecture, the school frequently ranks as one of the top high schools in Tennessee and the United States and strives to create an inspiring and welcoming learning environment for its students.

In pursuit of that mission, the school undertook a major window retrofit for the entire structure in late 2018, using fully custom casement windows from Sun Windows & Doors, a Kentucky-based company in Owensboro. A third-generation family-owned business, Sun specializes in built-to-order windows and doors that meet the exact needs and requirements of builders, designers, and architects across the United States. For Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, one of those requirements was outstanding thermal performance to help boost operational efficiency and enhance occupancy comfort for students.
Sun delivered on those demands with low-E coated insulating glass packages made with Duralite® warm-edge spacers from Quanex Building Products.

“Our customers are always asking us about improved thermal performance, and Hume-Fogg was no different,” said Frank Anderson, president, Sun Windows & Doors. “The Duralite spacer from Quanex helps us answer those questions—it enables our windows to achieve outstanding thermal performance and gives us a unique edge over some of our competition.”

Anderson notes that Sun has always been focused on energy efficiency in its products. “We were the first American window company that began manufacturing with Duralite,” he said. “The product brought great efficiency and performance to our units, and we’ve continued to have great success with the product ever since.”

Anderson cites Quanex’s expertise and service as key reasons for Sun’s continuous use of Duralite in all its windows. “Quanex has always offered their expertise in the development of our products and helped us ensure proper utilization of Duralite,” he said. “They also assisted the setup of our first fully robotic insulating glass line, and they perform quarterly audits to help us ensure we’re making the highest-quality IG unit we possibly can. Having that extra set of eyes to make sure our people and processes are fully compliant is very valuable for us.”

Over the past decade, Sun has become a true boutique custom window manufacturer and has steadily gained increased business in the commercial space. Historical projects like Hume-Fogg, where architectural integrity and design are critical, have become a specialty.

“We went back to the structure’s initial blueprints to establish the original style of windows used in the building. Maintaining the historical accuracy was important, and that guided the window solutions we recommended to meet all the project’s requirements,” said Mike Davis, commercial sales manager, Sun Windows & Doors. “We delivered a mix of custom fixed and operable casement windows, with glass that offered lots of visible light transmission and minimized reflection. Quanex’s Duralite enabled the fixed units to achieve a U factor of .30, and the operable units to hit .34.”

The project also required efficient completion due to Hume-Fogg’s high-traffic location and so as not to disrupt education during the school year. In the end, with the addition of paint and asbestos abatement work, the project took 90 business days from start to finish. It was a true team effort between Sun, architect Kline Swinney Associates, builder Messer Construction, and window dealer Dale Incorporated, working together toward a shared goal.

Today, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School enjoys state-of-the-art windows delivering outstanding energy efficiency. It was made possible through Sun Windows & Doors’ unwavering commitment to providing quality custom solutions, and Duralite warm-edge spacer technology from Quanex Building Products.

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