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  6.  | Fireweed Business Center Window Retrofit to Further Improve Energy Efficiency and Workplace Comfort

Fireweed Business Center Window Retrofit to Further Improve Energy Efficiency and Workplace Comfort

Jul 8, 2019Alaska Native, Construction, Energy, Industry, News

Starting this summer, the high-tech facility is installing even higher-tech

Working on the west side of the Fireweed Business Center in late June, 2019.


CIRI is again partnering with View, a Silicon Valley company that manufactures smart windows.

By Tasha Anderson

CIRI’s Fireweed Business Center opened for business in mid-2015, after two years of hard work and collaboration between CIRI, general contractor Davis Constructors & Engineers, and architect RIM Architects. The Class A office building is LEED Gold certified and has a range of state-of-the art features, including computer- and motion-controlled LED interior lights; vacuum insulated panels and light diffuser Solera panels; a pressurized hoistway shaft for the elevators (the first in Alaska); dynamic glass windows that let in an optimal amount of natural light without unwanted heat or glare; and “a variable refrigerant flow system [that] allows installation of smaller vents and pipes, creating some floors with 15 feet of overhead space. The units also save energy by transferring heat from warmer parts of the building to colder parts, instead of heating the cold areas and cooling the hot areas,” according to Davis Constructors & Engineers.

And the structure was built to last, standing tall (and maintaining its unique external geometry) even after the November 2018 earthquake that rocked Anchorage.

But why not make a good thing even better? This summer CIRI is again partnering with View, a Silicon Valley company that manufactures smart windows. Dynamic glass improves energy efficiency while creating a comfortable workspace for employees within a building.

Since installing the windows several years ago during the building’s construction, View has continued to improve the technology, and CIRI Director of Corporate Affairs Ethan Tyler says starting this summer the east, west, and south facing sides of the buildings are being fitted with the newest dynamic glass windows (the north side of the building does not have dynamic glass). According to Martin Neumann, View’s vice president of customer success, “View, at its heart, is a technology company and is built upon a DNA of innovation, and this latest generation of window technology lets in more daylight while providing enhanced visual and thermal comfort.”

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CIRI was an early adopter of the technology—the first organization in Alaska to do so—and it’s in recognition of this early partnership that View is upgrading the windows at the Fireweed Business Center at no cost to CIRI. Dynamic Glass windows have also now been installed at another Anchorage location, the Z.J. Loussac Library, “where we are bringing in two to three times more natural daylight while preserving a connection to the surrounding landscape for the library patrons,” Neumann says.

CIRI’s Anchorage headquarters are located on the seventh and eighth floors of the Fireweed Business Center; there are tenants on the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors, and the other space is still available for lease. The Alaska Native corporation is invested in making sure its own employees and those of every company in the building are able to work in a beautiful, comfortable space, a goal that View shares. “View is focused on providing the best experience in the built environment… We are excited to be installed here in Anchorage and partner with CIRI.”

“This [retrofit] continues our partnership with View, which is just the way CIRI does business. We work with stand-up partners,” Tyler says.

He anticipates that retrofit will be complete next summer.

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The track of oil and gas development in Alaska shows the footprints of bold companies and hard-working individuals who shaped the industry in the past and continue to innovate today. The May 2024 issue of Alaska Business explores that history while looking forward to new product development, the energy transition for the fishing fleet, and the ethics of AI tools in business.

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