Case Studies

Steel Ceilings Inc.

Saving 25 percent on energy

Group employee-owned Ohio-based Steel Ceilings Inc. (SCI) was founded in 1948. “We took ownership in 2001 and changed direction at that point,” states Grant Snowden, president of SCI.

Snowden explains that the company initially started out with fairly simple products of 2-foot by 2-foot and 2-foot by 1-foot panels and within the last decade moved into custom metal. SCI manufactures metal ceilings and walls for both architectural and security projects.

In 2009 SCI merged with its sister company, Airtite Radiant, and got into the radiant business. Airtite Radiant specializes in both perimeter and full ceiling radiant heating and cooling, either supplementing or replacing the standard HVAC air-driven systems. “From our merger we pushed forward and now do a lot more total ceilings, where we do the ceilings of the whole building for heating and cooling,” explains Snowden.

Impressive projects

SCI has taken on incredible projects like the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt federal building in Portland, Ore. The 16-story building was completely stripped and rebuilt and was the company’s largest project. SCI has also worked on universities, such as Oregon State University, North Carolina University and Princeton. Furthermore, the company has worked on state and federal buildings, military buildings, as well as performing a lot of other commercial work.

Incorporating radiant work into SCI’s projects has helped in growing the company’s business. “There was a laboratory where guys had to bring in gases and liquids so they needed more ceiling space to bring in piping,” Snowden states. “They realized that if they went from traditional HVAC, with the huge air ducts, down to radiant, which uses smaller ducts for mostly ventilation, then they would save a lot of space allowing them to put in additional piping.”

Energy-efficient

Using radiant ceilings can save a building up to 25 percent on energy consumption, as well as saving on maintenance costs. “We had one architect perform a survey on 28 customers who had radiant and traditional HVAC and they unanimously reported that the radiant used less maintenance than traditional HVAC,” reports Snowden. “Radiant ceilings are growing in popularity, but getting the word out and educating people about the product has proved a little difficult. The government and private enterprise advise people to save energy and we have these bigger systems that could a save a lot of energy. It’s all about trying to get the message out.”Steel Ceilings Inc.

Snowden explains that the reviews the company gets are always about the customer’s great energy savings, as well as the ease of operation, the low maintenance and the improved occupant comfort level the system creates compared to a traditional HVAC system.

As the largest manufacturer of radiant ceilings in the United States, Snowden believes that the company’s strengths are in its experience, technology and working very well with its stakeholders. SCI puts in a lot of time with the owners, architects, engineers, general contractors and ceiling subcontractors. “We try and connect up with everybody and go through the project,” Snowden clarifies. “We like to work with people early on and it creates a smooth project.”

SCI also ensures that it provides good solid ideology and applied technology to the products, ensuring efficiency in both work and output.

Greenbuild 2014

The 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (Greenbuild) was held in New Orleans, La. The conference was a three-day event featuring guest speakers, networking opportunities, showcases, LEED-certified workshops and a tour of green buildings in New Orleans. SCI was, again, an exhibitor; the company has been exhibiting at the conference for years.

“What excites us is speaking with the attendees about the future and where the market is going,” details Snowden. “We look forward to speaking with people who are progressive in their outlook of where the building industry is going and what we should be looking at.” Snowden states that SCI has eliminated most of the conferences it’s attended over the years, but Greenbuild remains constant.

SCI is focused on conserving energy in all of its projects and radiant ceilings have done exactly that. With numerous universities and federal buildings requesting radiant ceilings, Snowden remains hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before the positive reviews spread across the market. Attending Greenbuild each year provides the perfect opportunity for SCI to encourage others about green practices and speak with the attendees about what to hope for in the future regarding the building industry. Energy conservation is extremely important and saving 25 percent in a single project, as well as lowering maintenance costs makes Steel Ceilings Inc. the right choice for many commercial projects.

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