Window Renovation Shows SDG&E Station in a New Light

San Diego Gas & Electric needed to renovate one of its remote pumping stations, a 1950s facility for distributing natural gas. About 85 percent of the renovation involved replacement of some 1,685 square feet of existing windows that were missing, cracked or leaking.

SDG&E needed a way to minimize solar heat buildup inside and prevent flocks of birds from nesting in the structure – all while maintaining as much natural light as possible. Faced with that challenge, WTI (Weatherproofing Technologies, Inc.), a subsidiary of Tremco Incorporated that provided design build construction management services, approached Duo-Gard. The collaboration resulted in glazing updates for the main compressor building plus a smaller structure.

“We wanted to work with translucent polycarbonate because of its light-weight, shatterproof strength and high diffused daylight transmission,” says Deron Aksentowitz, WTI project manager and superintendent for its Commercial Construction Group. He added that the system also needed to meet the desert’s 100 mph wind loads.

Duo-Gard’s system for SDG&E used 40mm tongue-and-groove multiwall polycarbonate in an opal tint with 44 percent visible light transmission. The material has one-sixth the weight of glass with 200 times the impact strength.

Glazing runs ranged up to six feet high and 64 feet long. The 3500 Series System used – both glazing and aluminum framing – was field-fabricated under Duo-Gard’s stock-length Prostock Program designed for contractors. Because the natural gas onsite was very sensitive to sparks, the contractors involved faced a special challenge. “We had to build this from the exterior, including the flashing details and mountings,” says Doug Timmer, Commercial Construction Division Manager for WTI. “The penetrations had to remain intact.”

Greg Dehetre, manager and technical advisor for Duo-Gard’s Prostock Program, made a site visit to advise and support the dealer who managed the installation of the project

“It produced the results we wanted,” says Aksentowitz. “It went very smoothly, and we’re pleased with the project.”

Besides enhancing the facility’s performance, the window retrofit had another benefit: “This updated the appearance of the buildings. Visitors like it, and we’re happy with the result,” says Steve Diuco, project manager for SDG&E affiliate Sempra Utilities.