Case Studies

Schüco USA

Providing diverse systems for windows, doors and facades

Schüco USA (Schüco) is the North American division of Schüco, a global provider of aluminum systems for high performance building envelopes. With its domestic headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, Schüco has been in the United States for 15 years.

Attila Arian leads the operation, working alongside 25 experienced and dedicated employees, including sales, service technicians, quality assurance, designer engineers, as well as administrative office staff. While the business began in the U.S. as a window manufacturer, the operation has recently returned to its roots: the sales of aluminum systems for high performance building envelopes, including windows, doors and curtain walls to glazing fabricators.

A major drive behind Schüco’s success in North America stems from the fact that the company can provide systems that meet, and sometimes even exceed, current energy codes in the United States and Canada.

A strong product line

Schüco works with a network of fabricators throughout North America to design, fabricate and install unique and yet energy efficient and sustainable building envelope systems. The company’s product line caters to architects and consultants who specify these products for new buildings and renovation projects.

“Our whole philosophy is to make our European products available to domestic fabricators in a way that makes them competitive against their European competition,” Arian explains. “For example, we work directly with our fabricators to enable them to provide a European-style system domestically. Our customers receive the support that they need to properly fabricate our systems, including technical support, specialized processing machinery, materials and unique software package that links the estimating and pre-construction activity with the actual fabrication; this unique approach is available to a wider network of qualified North American fabricators.”

Arian likes to use the comparison of Schüco’s market to the smartphone industry. “When you looked at that industry five years ago, no one could imagine that there would be another model that people used other than Blackberry,” he continues. “Now, Blackberry does not even control a majority of the market. Those in the glazing industry that ignore the direction that the market is heading may end up as the Blackberry in today’s construction market. Our company is not only showing a path forward that has worked in Europe, it is creating opportunities for domestic fabricators. We aim to work with our partners in the industry in order to improve the quality of buildings.”

The business’ target market includes both commercial and the high-end residential sector. As a sustainable system provider, the company has seen major market growth, especially with commercial buildings as owners hustle to improve energy efficiency. While new construction makes up a strong percentage of revenue, Schüco offers an entire product line catered to the retrofit market. The product line has growing demand with both commercial and residential applications.

Sustainability

The Schüco team recognizes that sustainable construction is taking on a new and powerful role in the construction market. In response, the business aims to promote a product line that brings people, spaces and the environment into harmony. In designing these products, Schüco promotes the health and well-being of end-users as a priority. The end product results in buildings that have a positive influence on the users through visual, thermal, acoustic, ergonomic and hygienic qualities, while meeting the economic requirements of owners, architects and contractors for durability and profitability.

The team also takes into account the life cycle of a building, considering materials sourcing and recyclability in the design process. Schüco values fabrication partners that share the company’s vision for energy efficiency. Arian and his team have worked hard to develop strong relationships in North America with these important partners.

The company has participated in the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (Greenbuild) for three years, including the 2014 conference in New Orleans. Arian sees great value in Schüco’s involvement and praises the organization’s ability to bring innovative companies together.

“The efforts in the United States were spearheaded by the architects and now it has shifted onto homeowners, contractors and developers,” Arian explains. “We absolutely believe in the sustainability movement, so for us, Greenbuild is the place where we want to be. We believe the mission is to improve the quality of buildings in North America and we know that with the Schüco system, this goal can be achieved.”

Putting these systems to work

The Schüco line of products has been gaining steam in the North American market, especially as contractors and developers embrace more sustainable products and techniques. Many of the company’s fabrication partners install these systems on their own, other subcontract installation out and some sell to installers. Between these diverse strategic partners, Schüco systems have been installed in a range of high visibility projects.

Goldfinch Brothers utilized Schüco products on construction of the Bullet Center in Seattle, which has been recognized as the best-rated commercial building in the country. The building meets Net-Zero standards, with Schüco products playing an important role in the project’s success. “The product line we included was our AWS 102 parallel push-out operable,” Arian details. “This system is tied into the building automation system. This is good for natural ventilation of the building and end-users can manage energy use by switching the system on and off.”

Other recent projects including Schüco products are the New York Hospital in Queens, New York. Through a recent renovation and other initiatives, the hospital has reduced carbon emissions by 38 percent. Schüco products were also included in recent construction at SAP Headquarters in Newton Square in Philadelphia, as well as Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania. In 2008, one of Schüco’s partners installed the brand’s windows, facade and shading system on the Yale Sculpture Building in New Haven, Connecticut.

Looking ahead

Over the coming years, the Schüco team plans to continue expansion through building lasting partnerships with fabricators and working hand in hand with architects and consultants. “When we look at the projection of upcoming LEED-certified projects, it looks like there will be a strong demand for our products and services,” Arian says. “People will be hearing more and more about us. We are very dedicated to having a place in the North American market and are committed to expanding our activities.”

The crew is not slowing down anytime soon. Even through the recent economic downturn, the company has seen gains. Despite the recession and an ever-increasing price-driven decision- making process, the demand has increased for the company’s strong product line. “People are recognizing that being more sustainable and efficient is not only cool, but it saves money in the long run,” Arian says proudly. This concept is gaining steam, opening up new opportunities for Schüco USA.

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