Volume 42, Issue 6 - June 2007
|Green is Good
Energy Efficiency is on Everyone’s Mind and this Year’s AIA Conference Offered Many Ways to Increase Awareness
by Charles Cumpston and Ellen Giard
Though this year’s AIA show was not easy to navigate, with its twisted aisles and booths tucked away in various ballrooms off of the main floor, it was not hard to find all of the green displays. Most everyone was pushing something green, including ways to help projects earn Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) points.
“What we’re looking at is how to make it [LEED] easier for the architects,” said Karen Zipfel, director of marketing for Kawneer. “We’re trying to make it easier for them to know about our products and how they fit into LEED.”
Kawneer was just one of many companies at the show taking part in AIA’s Expo Education program, which enables exhibitors to offer educational presentations on the show floor. The idea is to increase booth traffic while allowing attendees to tap into industry experts’ wealth of knowledge and earn additional educational credit.
In a way, Kawneer’s booth was a microcosm of the whole conference. While the company covered a number of bases, including protective glazing, pre-assembly/pre-glazing and thermal products, “green” was definitely at the forefront of their presentations.
“Architects listen to the presentation and then take a test and it’s all monitored by AIA,” Zipfel said.
Vistawall also was on hand with many tools to help architects design a green building. Bill Lang, a LEED-accredited product development manager, talked about the product choices they offer for various LEED points criteria.
“First is energy and performance,” he said. Products that can earn points include sunshades and light shelves. “Also, our Skywall panels allow in natural light and have a high thermal performance,” Lang said.
On-site renewable energy was also a focus for Vistawall. “This is something that can generate electricity, such as photovoltaics,” Lang said. “In the indoor air quality category, daylighting is a big area, and skylights can bring in more natural light, as well as the ability to still see out.
YKK AP exhibited products that ranged from green to security applications. Marketing manager Doug Penn said green and conservation, as well as blast mitigation, are hot topics with architects. ThermaShade™ is the company’s new pre-engineered sunshade. It features a patent-pending thermally broken anchor that secures it to the curtainwall.
“Sunshades are one of the products that can help a project qualify for LEED points,” Penn said.In addition, YKK AP has been working with DuPont in developing its new large missile impact-resistant product that features SentryGlas Plus. This is a dry-glazed system that has been able to pass testing without silicone.
YKK AP also provided two Expo Education programs: “Antiterrorism and Blast Mitigation Glazing Systems” and “Understanding Building Codes and Windborne Debris Mitigation.”
Natural efficiencies was the theme for EFCO Corp.’s booth, which combined hurricane and green products. “We’re a green source,” said Dave Hewitt, director of marketing for the Monett, Mo.-based company. “We call it the nature of performance because of the energy-efficient features of our products.”
Hewitt added that the company’s new 5XP sliding glass door, designed for coastal areas, is being installed in a new Hilton Hotel in Naples, Fla. “It’s amazing how many people are asking for thermal doors in Florida,” Hewitt said.
Exterior glazing is not the only way glass can play a part in a building’s LEED rating. Interior glazing can also earn points for a project, too.
Meghan Ryan, a sales manager for Dorma’s Glas Division, said her company was offering several interior-glazing products to help architects achieve their green and LEED goals.
“We’re seeing a push to present a full package of interior glass systems,” she said. “Architects are intrigued by the possibilities of what we can do for them.”
Dorma also has options for creativity and design. Last fall it acquired the German glass company Mame, which makes a line of decorative glazing, that is now available through Dorma. “There’s a huge interest in this,” Ryan said. “Architects want that custom look without the custom price.”
“One thing we have in our AIA presentation is how decorative glass fits into green building—daylighting, getting light into the structure but still having privacy,” he said.
In government projects, Saroka said his company expects an increase in products that achieve LEED certification. “Government projects are definitely more green oriented. The private projects still have more ‘wow me’ to them,” he said.
Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Inc., in Tamarac, Fla., was displaying a new digital image product that shows any image as an interlayer. “It’s also green—laminated and helps in meeting some LEED related categories, which is the thrill of the day for people here at the show,” Perilstein said. Polytronix Inc. introduced a new LED glass. Sam Shao, program manager for the Richardson, Texas-based company, said, “Architects want to know how it works; they see the glass and get ideas for what they want to do with it.”
Acid-etched glass was popular in Montreal-based Walker Glass’ booth. Marc Deschamps, business development manager, said architects were very interested in the product this year. “Whereas last year we met architects who didn’t know about acid-etched glass, this year we are meeting more who are aware of it and have used it in projects,” he said. “There’s still education to be done because they don’t have an intimate knowledge of it and its applications, but they want something distinctive and ideas for using it.”
Barry Allan, director of Nathan Allan Glass Studios Inc., Richmond, British Columbia, said architects always are looking for something different. His company offers a new product that contains an open glass cube made of a new “pillowy” glass on the walls, Sandpaper flooring and a decorative glass ceiling.
Safety in Numbers
Jon Hughes, manager of architectural sales for AFG Glass in Kingsport, Tenn., also expects growth in the use of security glass, particularly for hurricane-prone areas. “The whole system has to be tested, and approval is based on what they test to,” he said.
Edgetech I.G. of Cambridge, Ohio, sales agent for Cytec, demonstrated the sound abatement qualities of the Uvekol A laminating system. “We get lots of calls from architects about the product,” said Joe Erb, product manager. He explained that not only does the glass help control sound, but it can also be used in security applications.
Bret Penrod, general manager, Fire Protection at Pilkington North America, said many architects had questions about new fire-rated glazing codes and changes to the International Building Codes. Many of these questions regarded product size limitations, or the ways products are combined for different applications — such as hurricane or blast jobs.
Another trend is to push for complete systems for security glass, including fire-rated. “We’re being asked more for this dual function—fire rated as well as security,” said Brian Brunette, national sales manager for Saint-Gobain Vetrotech in Auburn, Wash. “This requires more innovation and testing, because you can’t end up with a glass product that is 5 inches thick.”
Recent events have spurred the push for security. “After Katrina, we’ve taken hurricanes more seriously,” said Diana San Diego, marketing and communications manager for SAFTI FIRST in San Francisco. “And after 9/11, there has been more interest in bomb blast. The need comes and then we develop the technology. We wouldn’t develop a hurricane fire-rated product if there wasn’t a need for it.”
CPFilms was promoting its new Signal Defense security film designed to defend against radio signals. Cindy Rotton, a company sales manager, said the product was developed with guidance from the U.S. government. “We’re just now releasing it for commercial use,” Rotton said. She explained that the film is designed to block radio frequency and infrared signals commonly generated from devices such as wireless computers and cell phones. In addition, the film also helps to reduce electromagnetic interference emissions, which can be harmful to building occupants. The film can also earn LEED points.
The AIA Show Buzz
Michael Gainey, Warm-Light business manager for Azon USA Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich., saw this in his business. “There are still a lot of hospitals and clinics being built,” he said. “We’re finding there is a lot more knowledge about warm edge than in past years. Architects are starting to understand that edge of glass plays a role in energy efficiency.”
Glenn Miner, market manager, commercial trade flat glass products for PPG Industries Inc. in Pittsburgh, pointed to the success of his company’s Solarban Z50 product in hospital applications. “It has the right combination of privacy and performance with daylighting,” he said.
Kevin Robbins, regional sales manager for Wausau Window and Wall Systems in Wausau, Wis., said his company has experienced an increase in widow sales for numerous hospital projects in Florida. “It’s all hurricane-type products,” he said.
Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass said he expects an increase in the use of laminated glass for interior partitions and in schools, as a traditional white board as well as a projector. “Educational, hospitals and the military are all strong construction categories,” he said. “Hospitals are getting so much more design-oriented and that includes more use of laminated glass. They’re really pushing the envelope because there’s competition among the hospitals and that has spurred design.”
the authors: Charles Cumpston is a contributing editor and Ellen Giard is the editor of USGlass magazine.