Client News 7/1/09

Orlando’s greenest building — Reliable Plaza — relies on Harmon’s Florida “Green Team”

Harmon, Inc.’s “Green Team” is helping Florida building owners achieve the benefits of daylighting, energy-efficiency and other environmental goals for their properties and their tenants. Exemplifying this, Harmon’s contract glazing and glass services specialists recently applied their knowledge and skills to support Reliable Plaza — Orlando Utility Commissions’ (OUC’s) new customer and administrative center — in becoming one of the city’s greenest buildings.

Reliable Plaza opened in November 2008 and has since hosted such notable visitors as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Central Florida chapter president of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Christina Webb. Last year, the building received the Orange County Design Excellence Award from the Orange County Urban Design Commission. In March 2009, it was honored with a “Best of the Best” award from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties’ Central Florida chapter.

This 10-story facility at 100 West Anderson Street was designed by Baker Barrios Architects Inc. With an estimated construction value of $40 million, the project was built by Skanska USA Building Inc., in joint venture with JCB Construction, to meet the Gold-level requirements for USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Rating System™. It is expected to be the first building in Orlando to achieve this rating, and the first building in Florida to which Harmon, a USGBC member, has contributed to earning a LEED certification.

Working closely with the architectural and construction firms plus TLC Engineering, Harmon’s Contract glazing staff focused on providing an energy-efficient exterior that withstands Florida’s demanding environmental conditions. Dave Brasch, Harmon’s general manager for the Orlando office, explains, “The façade is clad with 60,000 square feet of our proprietary unitized curtainwall system in three designs: There are areas that are fully captured; areas that are two-sided, vertical structural glazed; and areas that are four-sided structural glazed.”

Brasch notes that Harmon’s unitized system for OUC “is a thermally improved system coupled with clear, low-E high-performance glass for shading and U-value, which is very important to achieving the LEED criteria. The spandrel glass is quarter-inch ceramic frit. The vision glass is one-inch Oldcastle Glass® solar-control SunGlass™, which was labeled ‘proprietary spec’ by the architect and they would accept no substitutions.” Providing further solar control, Harmon also provided and installed horizontal and vertical sun shades.

From the exterior through Reliable Plaza’s interior offices, Harmon’s glazing specialists worked with Commercial Design Services Inc. of Altamonte Springs, Fla. to carry through the green design intentions, high-performance considerations and long-term durability of low-maintenance materials. Harmon’s Glass Services‘ crews installed 640 pieces of clear, laminated glass, also supplied by Oldcastle, for office partitions. “The clear glass allows natural light to be utilized, while reducing energy from heat and HVAC systems,” says Harmon’s sales representative, Tanna Cuff.

“Together, these efficiencies not only can reduce energy consumption, but also reduce the associated green house gas emissions,” explains Michele Eggenberger, national account sales manager for Harmon’s Glass Services division and leader of the company’s “Green Team.”

“Windows, doors and other glass features play a key role in contributing to a fully functional building system that offers daylight and views, which have been connected to higher employee satisfaction, retention and productivity,” adds Eggenberger. “Our staff works with building owners and managers seeking to optimize their properties for energy efficiency and long, low-maintenance lifecycles with products and practices that respect their environment and their tenants. For some owners and managers, this includes seeking LEED or other green building certifications. For others, this means ensuring that tenants enjoy the most comfortable, highest performing, best looking workplaces. For OUC’s Reliable Plaza, it meant all of the above.”

“When the Department of Transportation needed the OUC garage for the expressway expansion, we were faced with the challenge of replacing a facility that had been OUC’s home for 40 years,” OUC Board President Katie Porta said. “We saw the need for a new building as an opportunity — an opportunity to improve convenience for our customers and set the standard for future energy and water efficient buildings in Central Florida.”

According to OUC, it uses 28% less energy and 40% less water than a similar facility built to standard building codes. Reliable Plaza also has earned a Florida Water Star certification, which is a voluntary program for new and existing construction that encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes.

In addition to its high-performance glazing systems, Reliable Plaza’s green features include:

  • A rooftop array of 144 solar photovoltaic panels that generate up to 32 kw hours of electricity
  • Four solar thermal panels to produce hot water
  • High-efficiency glass and daylight sensitive lighting
  • Highly reflective roofing and covered parking to reduce heat absorption
  • Raised flooring for more efficient cooling and heating
  • A 30,000-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for on-site irrigation
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping
  • Low-flow plumbing and water fixtures
  • Bicycle racks and preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles

Public transit also is used by many of the more than 12,000 customers and 300 employees that arrive Reliable Plaza each month. The second largest municipal utility in Florida, OUC provides electric and water services to more than 254,000 customers in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola, Fla.

Orlando Utility Commissions’ Reliable Plaza

About Harmon, Inc.
Harmon, Inc. services the entire lifecycle of the building’s glazed exterior — from new construction to repair and replacement to renovation. The company’s dedicated, experienced team works in partnership with owners, architects, consultants, contractors and suppliers to provide a full range of glass services that shape the nation’s urban landscape. The company provides these services as part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., a publicly held, international corporation (Nasdaq: APOG). For more information on Harmon, Inc., please call 763-287-4900.


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