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Cary Senior Living I Cary, Illinois

New senior housing complex offers high efficiency, affordable comfort with REHAU GENEO window system


Cary Senior Living, a $18M, 62-unit senior housing complex in Cary, Ill., boasts an impressive façade and all the conveniences and amenities of a well-designed, modern residential building. But there is more to this three-story structure than first meets the eye.

The project is the latest success story for PIRHL (Partnership for Income Restricted Housing Leadership), a Cleveland-based real estate developer and general contractor focused on high-quality, sustainable affordable housing. At Cary Senior Living, however, PIRHL wanted to take its objectives a step further.

“With residents being aged 62 and older, and earning incomes at or below 60% of the area’s median income, the units had to offer a level of comfort and quality of life that is both sustainable and affordable,” said MaryEllen Melcher, director of development project management at PIRHL. “The products we chose, including the GENEO window system, had to be able to help us achieve that end result.”  


The REHAU GENEO window system, designated as a Certified Passive House Component by the Passive House Institute in Germany, qualified Alpen High Performance Products to compete for the Cary Senior Living project.

“We appreciated the unique approach the design team used to select windows for this project: Rather than specifying one product, they stated performance requirements and invited more than 40 approved passive house manufacturers to bid,” said Alison Ray, commercial sales manager at Alpen High Performance Products. “The combination of REHAU GENEO window system, our super-insulating Alpenglass and being a US-based manufacturer gave Alpen a competitive edge over European-import windows, traditionally thought to be the only option for passive house.”

The facility was designed to achieve optimal energy efficiencies and is a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certified building. Buildings designed to NGBS standards provide seniors with more comfortable living space and lower heating and cooling bills. The inherent stable temperatures of NGBS buildings also provide an added level of resiliency in the face of power outages and extreme climate events.

“Windows are sometimes overlooked as a key element in new construction, but when targeting stringent energy efficiency goals, they can make all the difference,” said Paul Hageman, PIRHL construction project manager. “The REHAU GENEO window system’s impressive performance capabilities and the flexibility to accommodate multiple overall glass thicknesses were the chief advantages we saw in the system.”

The GENEO system achieves top performance ratings for structural, acoustical, forced-entry resistance and thermal insulation: up to AW-PG70, up to STC 45/OITC 37, FER Grade 20 and a simulated U-value down to 0.13. The system is composed of a proprietary high-tech RAU-FIPRO™ fiber-composite material that adds strength without the use of steel, saving time, money and improving ease of installation.

Another major advantage of the GENEO system is the option to add nail fins, which, according to Hageman, was a contributing factor to the completion deadline being easily met. 

“Tax credit projects aren’t like a typical building project; timing is everything. If we miss our completion deadline, we risk losing the tax credit,” Hageman said. “And because these are triple-pane windows, installation can be a little trickier. The nail fins lowered the learning curve for the installers, made the installation go faster, and ultimately reduced our labor costs, which made up for the higher cost of the windows.”

Commenting further on the GENEO window system, Melcher says the windows have notable aesthetic attributes, as well. “On top of all their great qualities, the windows are just beautiful, and that definitely adds to the quality of life factor,” she said.

“With our super-insulating Alpenglass, we easily met the project’s thermal performance requirements, affording us more time to focus on the physical interaction of senior residents and facility staff with our windows,” said Ray. “We added things like grids-between-glass to make cleaning easier and limiters with easy push-button release to make windows easier to open.”

In addition to sustainability, Cary Senior Living offers many features that enhance the senior lifestyle. Among these are a walking path, gazebo, large community living room, fitness room, library/game room, community laundry facilities and an onsite property management office.  Accessibility and adaptability features are also included to help residents stay independent.


Project:Cary Senior Living, Cary, Illinois
Type of construction:Multifamily residential, constructed in 2019
Architect:Hooker DeJong
Developer:PIRHL (Partnership for Income Restricted Housing Leadership) and Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC) 
Manufacturer:Alpen High Performance Products
REHAU systems used:

System GENEO fixed and tilt-turn windows

Engineering progress

Enhancing lives