Volume 25, Issue 5 - September/October 2011

New Products Focus

Seal Appeal
What if a glazing renovation could save a building owner hundreds of dollars annually in heating costs? Pilkington North America says its new Pilkington Spacia™, a vacuum construction that seals low-E glass with clear float glass with a thin vacuum layer, can—and has—done just that. The company reports that the technology, which has been used in projects in Asia and Europe for more than a decade, helped save building owners in Camden, London, more than $400 a year in heating costs while keeping the building’s original character intact.

Now commercially available in North America, Pilkington Spacia provides an option for balancing historical preservation with modern comfort and environmental requirements. With its overall slim profile, the new technology can be used in existing frames in older buildings, maintaining the building’s original aesthetics while providing modern comfort.

“Pilkington Spacia offers the thermal performance of conventional double glazing in one quarter of the thickness and two thirds the weight,” says Sharon Urban, marketing communication specialist with Pilkington North America. “It’s ideal for older, traditional, commercial and residential buildings and is also suitable for applications where the use of thinner, low-weight glazing would be desirable, such as in sliding windows, secondary glazing or as one pane of a triple-glazed unit.”

Not only is Pilkington Spacia designed to help improve energy costs, but it can also improve acoustic performance and, compared to single glazing, offers improved thermal insulation. The vacuum gap helps to minimize heat flow by minimizing convection and conduction between the glass panes.

“The most significant feature of Pilkington Spacia is that it provides substantially improved thermal performance compared to conventional double glazing. It offers the thermal performance of modern double glazing in the same thickness as single glass, offering the opportunity to improve energy efficiency in older, traditional buildings,” says Urban, adding that it is also a cost-effective method of improving the energy efficiency of older homes where glazing choices are restricted or where the original frames are a desirable feature.

Unlike traditional double-glazing, with this product the air between the two lites of glass is extracted, creating a vacuum. The gap between the two panes can be reduced to just 0.2 mm, providing an overall thickness of just more than 6 mm. Heat loss through radiation is limited through one of the glass panes having a low-E coating, similar to that used in conventional, modern double glazing.

Seeing Clearly
From exterior glass facades to interior and decorative glass applications, a new glazing development from the Swiss company SEFAR has made its way to North America and can help bring a unique aesthetic to architectural designs. It’s called Vision and is a metal-coated precision fabric interlayer, typically laminated within glass or other transparent materials.

“SEFAR Architecture Vision offers an unparalleled aesthetic and functional attributes when compared to other interlayer and glazing products,” says Peter Katcha, director, North American sales for SEFAR Architecture. “It utilizes metal-coated fabrics with various apertures to create unprecedented depth and a reflective quality without overwhelming glare. Vision fabric interlayers uniquely feature the metal coating on one side, allowing the material to be seen through from the back side.”

Katcha adds that the new product creates reflective depth in glass through precise fabric weaves and metal coatings.

“With 30 standard possible combinations of fabric and metal coatings, which include copper, chrome, aluminum, titanium, and aluminum/copper, along with the ability to print UV-stabilized colors, the Vision fabric interlayer can create endless color or pattern possibilities in both laminated glass and IGUs.”

In addition, the metallic-coated interlayer fabrics are printable with UV stabilized inks to produce Pantone colors, patterns, and other design effects. Likewise, with its unique metal coatings Vision fabric interlayer is designed to help improve the thermal insulating qualities for reducing solar heat gain while allowing for light transmission. The range of materials can also be double-sided.

“We’ve been anxious to unveil Vision because both its look and function surpass any other product on the market,” says Katcha. “With a material density of up to 27 threads per centimeter, Vision’s metal coatings deliver significantly more facets for light reflection and interaction with its environment than any other interlayer or metal mesh product. At the same time, you can still see through it from the inside, which is a unique feature for similar glass laminated products.”

The fabrics are available in six fabric density configurations and each can be coated with six different metal coatings, ultimately providing 36 different combinations. They feature plain or twill weaves in a variety of aperture percentages and light transmission percentages.

Wide Openings
As the all-glass look continues to increase in interest and demand, companies are developing new products to meet those needs, including Mill Valley, Calif.-based NanaWall Systems, which recently launched its NanaGlass® SL25, a frameless opening glass wall system installed on the exterior of balconies. The new system has no vertical stiles and can provide uninterrupted views and natural light while still forming an insulating air pocket over the building facade.

“The NanaGlass SL25 provides a solution for increasing living space, enhancing an aging building’s value, preservation and preventative maintenance issues, improving overall energy efficiencies, and building modernization,” says Ebrahim Nana, president of NanaWall Systems. “No side stiles create uninterrupted views, purposefully engineered to take advantage of the passive solar effect that increases heating and cooling efficiency, lowering the buildings carbon emissions output.”

In new or existing multi-tenant buildings with balconies the system can be installed on the top or behind the rail. It can also be used in restaurants, stadiums, interior offices, porches, schools and storefronts, among other applications.

The NanaGlass SL25 all-glass operable panels are engineered to withstand the elements and transform balconies into year-round usable space. In fact, the system can handle wind loads up to 80 stories depending upon the building location in 90 mile-per-hour wind zones.

In addition, the panels can slide wide open and stack to one or both sides for natural ventilation or close quickly to protect the balcony from wind, rain, pests and birds. The individual sliding panels are top-supported in a single track and can ride a fixed balcony railing or extend all the way to the floor.

The new system is available in custom sizes and configurations and each individual panel can be a maximum of 2 feet 7 inches wide by 9 feet tall in 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch glass.



Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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