Volume 28, Issue 1 - January/February 2014

Green Machine
High-Performance Windows and Products Take the Spotlight at Greenbuild
by Casey Neeley

Environmentally friendly and energy efficient are two phrases window manufacturers and suppliers hear regularly and there was certainly no shortage of those terms at the 2013 Greenbuild Show, held in Philadelphia, November 20-22. Green glazing and high-performance windows ruled, with many exhibitors on hand to discuss the superior performance of their products.

The event, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also saw the launch of LEED v4. Exhibitors were eager to show how their products met or exceeded the high expectations of LEED certification and green manufacturing.

A Lower U
Eric Thompson, product sales specialist at Quanex Building Products, says much of the demand among attendees and architects is achieving lower U-values without decreasing the strength of the window.

“Increasingly we’re hearing from architects and developers, ‘how can we get our U-value into the low .20 range, and even below that, but still have the same structural strength?’” he says, adding that the company’s Mikron C3-11300 product answers that request. “It’s a dual-action window. It can be tilted in from the top to create ventilation, has a glazing capacity of 1 and 5/8-inches and we’re in the low .16 U-value range.”

Guardian Industries also displayed products to help achieve low U-value, including its SunGuard Neutral 78/65 and SunGuard SNX 52/23.

“Once the heat comes in it [SunGuard Neutral 78/65] keeps it in, so it’s really good for northern climates. You get free heat and energy,” says Chris Dolan, director of commercial glazing for Guardian. “[SunGuard SNX 52/53] lets in a medium amount of light but it also blocks the heat from coming in, so really it can be used in many commercial structures, but in particular, in the southern climates, southwest, southeast, even in the Midwest it’s an excellent choice.”

Efficient Safety
While some companies showcased energy-efficient glazing, others chose to display multi-faceted options that offer safety in addition to thermal properties.

Kawneer Co. Inc. displayed a variety of glazing options, including its IR 501UT, which is also impact- and blast-resistant.

The company’s 1630 SS IR curtainwall, which has undergone hurricane and blast-mitigation standards testing, complimented its line of thermal options, including the OptiQ Ultra thermal window, shown by Traco.

“That ties into the whole sustainability picture for buildings,” says Donnie Hunter, product manager for storefront, entrance and framing. “Years ago we just looked at thermal performance as the main driver when we talked about green or sustainability but now it incorporates the whole façade of the building.

“Over the years, our emphasis on product design has really been on true thermal performance with the addition of security in mind for both the hurricane-resistant markets and the blast-mitigation areas for buildings,” he adds.

Mary Oliver, director of marketing for Tubelite, told Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal about her company’s security product expansion.

The company’s high-performance storefront system features an additional pour and debridged thermal break pocket, which helps it to withstand varying and extreme climates and conditions.

“It will actually increase from our normal single core up to a condensation resistance factor of 69 and a U-value of .29,” she says. “We’re expanding it into our hurricane- and blast-resistant products.”

A Dynamic Year
Another highly talked about multi-purpose product that had a big showing was dynamic glazing. Of the multiple companies featuring such products, Sage Electrochromics and View each had new offerings.

The big news at Sage was the company’s introduction of wireless electrochromics.

“Architects have asked us for a wire-free electrochromic solution for their hard-to-wire designs and renovations,” says Andrew Hulse, vice president of sales. “This will enable them to incorporate new applications for dynamic glass in their designs which will further expand the market for dynamic glass.”

“The installation is easier because you basically put it in the frame and don’t have to run wires,” adds Dr. Helen Sanders, vice president of technical business development. “It’s powered by photovoltaics and there’s battery storage.”

Erich Klawuhn, vice president of product management at View, says the company, which launched its products at the 2012 Greenbuild Show, has increased the sizes it offers.

“It’s been an exciting year, as we’ve scaled up to 5-foot-by-10-foot glass, which is the maximum scale of dynamic glass,” he says.

Pleotint was also on hand to showcase its new interlayer, Suntuitive, which is a thermochromic interlayer for laminated glass that gradually darkens as a response to changing temperatures from direct sunlight.

A Green Future
If the show is any indication, sustainable building processes are here to stay and may help the slow-to-recover markets pick up the pace.

“The green market is really growing for us a lot,” says Nick Ferrari, account manager for Sapa Extrusions. “Business is pretty good across most markets. 2013 was a little stagnant but a lot of people are excited about aluminum extrusions for 2014.”

For others, the show provides a great place to network and discuss the practicality and growth of green practices.

“What’s exciting is people come in and see all of our products and we’re sharing ideas back and forth about how to make sustainable building more of a reality,” says Bill Allan director of communications at Bayer MaterialScience.



Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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