Sustainability Guides Newest Addition to Mason Renovation

March 12, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

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Kathleen Moore
Civil and Environmental Engineering

When faculty, students, and staff return to the Mason Building this summer, they won't have to worry about moisture damage if they lay a book down near one of the more than 300 windows that line the 90,000 square-foot structure.

That's because the Mason Building is getting an $800,000 window makeover, thanks to a recent decision by the Institute and the State of Georgia to fund the much-needed improvement.

"In the old building, when you left a paper or a book near the windows, you could see they would be warped after a rain storm," said Associate CEE Chair Dr. Glenn Rix, the faculty liaison to the renovation project, which is due to finish up by mid-summer.

"And if the rain was getting in, you know that the heating and the air conditioning was getting out. That costs us money."

Senior Facilities Manager Andy Udell echoed Rix's comments.

"With new windows I won't have to constantly worry about water damage and mold," he said. "Every three months, in the old building, I was having to tear down the dry wall in someone's office to get rid of mold."

The installation of the energy-efficient, double-pane windows was not a part of the original $10.5 million renovation plan, Rix said. But it just might be the smartest investment of all.

"Any homeowner will tell you that double-pane windows are an energy saver," said Rix. "The new windows will allow us to save money by controlling our heating and cooling losses. And we won't have to worry about damage to the inside walls due to leaks."

Rix said that the year-long renovation project has had its share of surprises — the failure of the building's roof, for instance — but that, in all, it has proven to be far cheaper than building a new home for the CEE.

"All told, we're closing in on a renovation that will be around $12 million. If we were to rebuild the Mason, it would have cost us in the neighborhood of $50 or $60 million to get the kind of result we're getting with this renovation," he said. "I don't think we would have been able to accomplish that. I don't think that we'd want to do that. This is Georgia Tech, after all. We love a good challenge."

Find out more about the Mason Building Renovation Project.

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