Volume 29, Issue 3 - Fall 2015

Getting the Green Lite
LEED-Friendly Glazing Comes in all Shapes and Forms
by Nick St. Denis

These days, the chase for LEED certification and green building attributes is hot among the architectural community, particularly in large-scale nonresidential and multifamily projects.

With the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., on the horizon, Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal looks at a few different, recently completed projects that illustrate some of the various ways glazing can help a building go green.

New glazing technologies, such as dynamic glass, can help architects and owners achieve the highest of green building certifications.

Center of Attention

The location of this year’s Greenbuild is in Washington, D.C, a fitting place to start.

The new CityCenterDC urban infill project, on the site of the former Washington Convention Center, hosts two 11-story, 280,000-square-foot office buildings. Each tower features a 360-degree view from the inside of every floor, with glass pedestrian bridges linking the buildings. High-end retail shops and restaurants are located around most of the ground level of office towers with large aluminum and clear glass storefronts.

The LEED-certified CityCenterDC is located in Washington, D.C., the site of this year’s Greenbuild show.

The Green

CityCenterDC’s entire development was accepted into the U.S. Green Building Council’s pilot program for LEED Neighborhood Development and was the first development in the U.S. to receive Gold certification. The office buildings also earned pre-certification at the Gold level for LEED Core and Shell, and the residential buildings have received Silver certification for LEED New Construction.

The Glazing

Making for a sleek metallic and glass exterior, TSI/Exterior Wall Systems Inc. installed the aluminum-framed curtainwall and storefront, as well as the aluminum panels and sunshades, which were manufactured by Baker Metal Products.

Texas Finishing Company finished the majority of the architectural building products using Valspar’s 70-percent PVDF resin-based Fluropon Classic II coatings. A two-coat Fluropon finish was used on ground-floor storefront systems. According to Valspar, the coatings could contribute to green building criteria given their resistance to ultraviolet rays, chemical degradation, abrasions and humidity.

On Location USGlass magazine, sister publication to Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal, visited the CityCenterDC project during the glazing installation. Visit usglassmag.com and search “Washington, D.C., Center Contract Glazing Project” to view our exclusive video coverage.

The Others

Hines is the owner and developer of the $1 billion campus, and London-based Foster + Partners served as the master-plan architect for the overall project and the design architect for the office.

Washington-based Shalom Baranes Associates served as the executive architect for all buildings, associate master-plan architect and the design architect for the two rental apartment buildings. Clark Construction Group and Smoot Construction were the general contractors.

A Door to Explore

The Exploratorium at Pier 15 on the San Francisco waterfront is more than 80 years old yet new again, as it recently underwent sustainable and historical rehabilitation.

The building serves as the museum’s new venue, providing three times more space than the original Palace of Fine Arts location. A significant part of its rehabilitation was the structure’s glazing.

The Green

The Exploratorium was awarded LEED Platinum certification and is pursuing the designation of the largest net-zero energy museum in the United States. The museum’s design incorporates a bay water heating and cooling system, rooftop photovoltaic arrays, rainwater collection and high-performance windows and glass.

The Exploratorium at Pier 15 utilizes high-performance glazing and doors to help it earn LEED Platinum certification.

Fourteen customized balanced doors were installed at the museum’s lobby and entrances.strong>

The Glazing

In addition to its various applications of glass and aluminum on the façade, the project featured 14 Ellison Bronze customized balanced doors, located at the lobby and museum entrances. Three pairs of the doors are situated at the lobby entrance, part of a two-story restored façade clad in stucco. The museum entrance contains four pairs of doors, coordinating with the paneled façade.

“The doors complement the glass archway at the lobby entrance, and the painted finish matches the aluminum-panel-clad museum entrance,” says Michael Rizza, senior engineer at Architectural Glass & Aluminum, the contract glazier.

Viracon and Bendheim supplied glass for the project.

The Others

San Francisco-based EHDD was the architect, and Nibbi Brothers General Contractors was the general contractor.

Dynamics and Music

The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music is a twin-building complex that houses more than 770 students and 125 faculty in what is recognized as one of the top music schools in the world. The recently completed project is seeking the highest of recognition in sustainability, and it is doing so in part with the project’s dynamic glazing.

The Green

The new LEED Platinum-pending facility has more than 40,000 square feet of acoustically-engineered and daylight-optimized teaching spaces.

According to HOK architect Alex Rodriquez, the facility employs a light-harvesting, energy-efficient design. SageGlass’ electrochromic glazing is utilized in the windows, and other eco-friendly design elements include roof-top photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting cisterns, water-efficient landscaping and precast concrete walls that isolate smog from around the building.

Electrochromic glass was applied at the Frost School of Music to help balance outside views with occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

The Glazing

SageGlass’ electrochromic glazing is installed in triangular windows that give the façade a distinctive look. According to the company, the glass helped enable HOK’s window design because it is the industry’s only dynamic glass available in non-rectangular shapes. The glass helps provide natural daylight and outdoor views to the lakefront campus.

According to Sage, dynamic glass is ideal for South Florida buildings due to the amount of sunshine and the intensity of the sunlight. The Coral Gables campus in particular, according to the company, sees the sun during 70 percent of available daylight hours, and the light in Florida is strong due to the steep angle of the sun.

“With SageGlass, we were able to maintain outside views and keep people comfortable inside, while simultaneously minimizing energy consumption to achieve the project’s LEED goals,” says Rodriguez.

The non-rectangular design of the dynamic glass made the project unique.

The Others

The building was designed by architectural firm HOK and architect Yann Weymouth. Skanska USA was the project’s general contractor, and the solar roofing work was done by Advanced Roofing Inc. and Advanced Green Technologies.


Nick St. Denis

is the editor for Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal. He can be reached at nstdenis@glass.com.

Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
© 2015 Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. 
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.