Sustained Success  
Glass LEEDs the Way in Recent Green Building Projects  
by Nick St. Denis and Ellen Rogers  
hether the goal is daylighting, energy performance, sustain-  
ability or occupant comfort, glass continues to fulfill archi-  
tects’ and building owners’ green building desires on virtually  
every level.  
From “the greenest skyscraper in the world” to a number of  
other recently completed projects, Architects’ Guide to Glass &  
Metal takes a look at how the versatile building product thrives  
with a hat tip to its good friend metal) when put to the green  
building test.  
Bank Headquarters Goes for Different Kind of Green  
Located in Pittsburgh and sheathed in glass—  
two façades of it, in fact—the recently completed  
Tower at PNC Plaza is PNC’s new 800,000-square-  
foot headquarters. Through the use of high-perfor-  
mance materials and technologies, the tower was  
designed to naturally ventilate at least 42 percent  
of the year and consume 50 percent less energy  
than a typical office building. Plus, the building’s  
floor-to-ceiling windows and narrow floor plates  
allow daylight to illuminate 90 percent of all  
open workspaces. The tower is designed to exceed  
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design  
(LEED) Platinum certification.  
In 2011, PNC announced its intent to build  
the world’s greenest skyscraper.” The architectur-  
al firm Gensler, with which PNC had worked on  
PNC Plaza also in Pittsburgh, and PNC Place in  
Washington, D.C., among other projects, took the  
job of designing the tower. Benedict Tranel, prin-  
cipal and technical director with Gensler, says the  
overarching goal to be the greenest high-rise in the  
world powered the firm’s design approach.  
And only one material would work: glass. Not  
only does the tower incorporate a double skin  
façade for energy efficiency, these features also  
contribute to the occupant’s overall comfort and  
For the Tower at PNC Plaza, PPG and J.E. Berkowitz supplied  
400,000 square feet of fabricated vision glass panels.  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
The building’s  
double façade  
provides insulation  
and allows for  
external sunshades  
in the cavity,  
combining energy  
efficiency with  
optimal daylighting  
and views for  
its occupants.  
Design Intent  
that needs to be plugged in. “You need them so  
you can’t get rid of them.”  
Glass might get a bad rap sometimes, being  
called out as an energy waster, but there was never  
a question that it would be the material of choice  
in this tower’s design.  
He continues, “We made a big bet on the  
façade being as energy-efficient as possible, so the  
double façade makes the envelope insulating in  
the winter and allowed us to put external sun-  
shades in the cavity, which makes it very efficient  
and a way to control daylight, provide views and  
connect to nature.”  
Another unique detail of this double-skin  
façade is that it’s completely accessible to building  
occupants. “If you’re creating a user experience,  
why do you have to step outside for fresh air?”  
If you’re building an office, people want to  
see out, so it needs windows of some kind,” says  
Tranel. “As we thought about this design, we  
knew daylighting the space would be a measure  
to achieve energy efficiency, but we also asked,  
how can we get the most of what Mother Nature  
has to offer?’ It turns out she has a lot to offer in  
Pittsburgh.” According to Tranel, the team found  
that the area’s climate is conducive to natural ven- Tranel asks. “This design allows the occupants to  
tilation much of the year, in both fall and spring.  
step inside the cavity where there is natural ven-  
tilation, which is warm in the winter and cool in  
the summer,” he says of the three-foot-deep cavity,  
which he likens to an accessory space of the office.  
A parallel sliding glass door from Permasteelisa  
and its sister company Gartner provides access  
to the cavity. “They can spend time there, enjoy  
the view … everyone has the freedom to open the  
sliding doors,” says Roberto Bicchiarelli, senior  
vice president/general manager – south, with  
Permasteelisa North America Corp., the project’s  
Pittsburgh has a lot of overcast days, but nat-  
ural light is available a good amount of time,” he  
And there was no doubt from PNC that the use  
of glass would help meet its design aspirations.  
We proposed a double façade, which allowed  
us to have a very efficient envelope,” says Tranel,  
explaining that the envelope is one of the key  
drivers in a building, and one in which they  
have some level of control. Other drivers, such  
as the building occupants themselves, can’t be  
controlled, nor can the equipment in the building  
continued on page 20  
Fall 2016  
SconutisnuteadifnroemdpagSe u19ccess  
contract glazier. “But no one can operate the  
mechanical/pop-up vents, because they are con-  
trolled by the building.  
finished product, delivered sequentially, ahead  
of project schedule,” says Arthur Berkowitz,  
president of JEB. He adds that the glass was  
then shipped to Permasteelisa’s unitizing  
This is a unique building in terms of the inte-  
gration between the façade, the structure and the  
mechanical systems. It is completely controlled  
by the building maintenance system, so there is a  
facilities in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida,  
Canada and Italy. Permasteelisa, in fact, opened  
a mobile factory in Pittsburgh just for this proj-  
high level of integration and function of the skin,” ect, which also served as a way to involve the  
he adds.  
Blinds are also integrated into the façade, and  
the compact cavity has a unitized system that’s  
operable and accessible to everyone. That access  
local community.  
“We assembled the entire interior cavity (wood)  
in Pittsburgh,” says Bicchiarelli. “We used that  
facility as much as possible … it could also be  
was important for control and maintenance of the used as a warehouse to transport materials to the  
jobsite, etc., which helped serve as a point of coor-  
dination for just-in-time delivery.”  
Glazing Selection  
Selection of glass was driven by the way archi-  
tects wanted the façade to perform: insulating in  
winter and blocking solar heat in summer.  
But Will it Work?  
Mock-up testing was also a critical component.  
In 2013, a 1,200-square-foot mock-up was built,  
replicating the southwest corner of the 33-story  
building and implementing its technology and  
design elements on a small scale.  
We used a transparent outer façade, which is  
low-iron laminated. The interior is an insulating  
unit that’s argon-filled and with warm-edge tech-  
nology,” says Tranel. “Also, on the interior we  
used wood [framing] while the outside is a light  
aluminum. We were able to do that because we  
had the sunshades in the cavity to block solar  
heat,” which he adds retract when they are not  
Located just outside of downtown Pittsburgh,  
the mock-up was positioned to receive the same  
solar exposure as the actual southwest corner of  
the tower.  
For more than a year, various features of the  
building’s design were tested, including its dou-  
ble-skin façade. Tranel explains it was important  
to be mindful of the level of complexity and risk  
involved in projects like this, particularly with the  
use of so many different products and technologies.  
“The mock-up and testing brought all the ele-  
ments together that we knew on their own would  
be successful,” he says, explaining that they were  
then able to see how they would perform when  
working together.  
As for glass supplies, “PPG was a natural  
choice because they are local,” says Tranel.  
We were focused on performance, and one of  
our goals was to use local labor and supply as  
much as possible as part of the sustainability  
goal. That was achieved by using PPG, and they  
were great because they offered the product  
we needed and provided materials they had  
in research and development and were able to  
bring those forward to commercial production  
in time for use.”  
Final Thoughts  
Permasteelisa selected Pedricktown, N.J.-based  
fabricator J.E. Berkowitz (JEB) to supply the  
Bicchiarelli says many times with double skins  
the buildings can look complicated from the out-  
side. Not so in the case of this project.  
“This doesn’t seem that way in my opinion. From  
the interior particularly, it’s very friendly. There’s  
lots of open space and there’s a good feeling …  
[that] people will experience…”  
13-foot laminated glass panels and coated IG  
units. JEB and PPG together supplied 400,000  
square feet of fabricated vision glass panels for  
the project. The glazing consisted of Starphire  
ultra-clear and Sungate 400 passive low-E glasses.  
Kuraray (formerly DuPont) supplied SentryGlas  
Tranel adds, “We’ve created a great user expe-  
Plus ionoplast as the interlayer used by JEB to pro- rience and something that was designed with that  
cess the laminated panels.  
user experience in mind. It’s something experi-  
enced from inside and out.”  
Over 1.3 million square feet of glass was cut,  
heat-treated, laminated and insulated by JEB,  
totaling more than 125 truckloads/containers of  
continued on page 22  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
SconutisnuteadifnroemdpagSe u20ccess  
Glass Helps Put the Gold in Goldtex  
The Goldtex  
project includes  
The Goldtex Apartments building in  
upscale-living facility. According to Sarina Rose,  
vice president of development for Post Brothers,  
the most visible symbol of this transformation is  
its jewel-like glass and metal façade.  
Philadelphia is the city’s first residential highrise  
to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S.  
Green Building Council. That was achieved in  
part thanks to 30,000 square feet of glass, fabricat-  
ed by J.E. Berkowitz and installed by Empire Glass sashes were beyond their useful life,” says Rose. “It  
and Metal in Camden, N.J.  
0,000 square  
feet of glass,  
fabricated by  
J.E. Berkowitz  
and installed by  
Empire Glass  
and Metal.  
“When we purchased the building, the window  
was quite literally raining glass each time the wind  
blew. Our end goal was to employ a cost-effective,  
energy-saving design, which we achieved by install-  
ing a completely new façade with insulating glass  
and a metal wall system.”  
Developed by Post Brothers, the abandoned  
shoe factory was converted into a 13-story,  
JEB fabricated Winduo insulating glass  
units, featuring 20,000 square feet of SunGuard  
SuperNeutral 68 low-E glass by Guardian  
Industries, as well as 10,000 square feet of  
Envirospan lead-free, ceramic-fritted glass in a  
custom “Limefest” color. Northern Architectural  
Systems supplied the curtainwall.  
Through the creative mix of different glasses,  
residents benefit from abundant natural daylight,  
minimized glare and reduced utility costs,” says  
Rose. “From the street, the colored glass and  
metal work together to showcase a striking build-  
ing that glows at night and provides the distinc-  
tion we desired. We were able to completely revive  
this tired structure and create a sophisticated,  
upscale apartment building in this up-and-coming  
Chris Frye, project manager for JEB, stresses  
that “existing buildings are the greenest build-  
ings,” and the Goldtex structure is a prime  
This was a run-down industrial building, but it  
still had good bones,” he says. “After an extensive  
and well-thought-out renovation, it’s now a LEED  
Gold certified apartment building and a catalyst  
for revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood. It’s  
a truly stunning building and reuse story.”  
In addition to the new high-performance  
facade, the 130,000-square-foot building saves an  
estimated 15 million pounds of carbon dioxide  
per year—the equivalent of removing 1,200 cars  
from the road—and it runs entirely on wind-gen-  
erated power, according to JEB. Each of the 163  
units is outfitted with Energy Star-rated appliances  
and LED light fixtures. There also is a “living”  
green wall on the building’s eastern face.  
continued on page 24  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
SconutisnuteadifnroemdpagSe u22ccess  
Reject the Fire, Not the Light  
The fire-resistant glass consists of multiple lites,  
and a transparent intumescent gel between the  
glass reacts when exposed to fire. This system also  
meets the demands for use of “break-safe” mate-  
rials per the Canadian General Standards Board  
(CAN/CGSB) impact safety requirements.  
Despite its fire-resistance properties, the glass  
isn’t tinted. It can also be butt-glazed though,  
allowing for lengthy, uninterrupted spans for opti-  
mal aesthetics and light transmission.  
Patricia Hernandez of Vetrotech says fire-rated  
glass can meet a variety of green building demands  
in both interior and exterior applications.  
“Partition walls, glass floors, skylights, curtain-  
walls, doors, butt-glazed options, to name a few,  
allow daylighting into a space without compromis-  
ing occupant safety,” she says.  
“[And] with today’s market demands focused  
on LEED and sustainability, owners and devel-  
opers are requiring products and material that  
reduce the negative impacts on our environment,”  
she adds, noting that designers should seek manu-  
facturers with environmental product declaration  
and health product declaration documents.  
The VNHS project combines its high-perfor-  
mance envelope with reduced water consumption,  
a high-efficiency HVAC system and waste-manage-  
ment controls to create a complete green solution.  
The project’s design and construction team  
included sustainability consultant Blue Camas, as  
well as architect Larry Adams and Neale Staniszkis  
The implementation  
of fire-rated glazing  
contributed to LEED  
certification for the  
Vancouver Native  
Housing Society  
While fire-rated glazing primarily is specified  
for protection against fire and heat, it can still  
contribute greatly to the “greenness” of a building.  
After all, it’s still glass (and metal).  
A recently completed Vancouver Native  
Housing Society (VNHS) mixed-use project  
being developed under the region’s Provincial  
Homelessness Initiative (PHI) is a prime example.  
The 87,300-square-foot building consists of a  
two-story commercial component below a six-sto-  
ry residential section and is being evaluated on  
its adherence to the Canadian Green Building  
Council’s Gold certification under an earlier ver-  
sion of LEED.  
Orientation was critical to the design, as east-  
and south-facing windows of the building are  
protected with exterior shading systems to provide  
passive solar heat gain in the winter and optimal  
cooling load control in the summer. The design  
maximizes north-facing glazing to provide an ideal  
learning environment of naturally lit classrooms.  
Vetrotech Saint-Gobain fire-rated insulating  
glass units were installed by Phoenix Glass in a  
mixed-use project.  
120-minute, fire-rated, butt-glazed application. The Doll Adams Architects, MMM Group, Fast + Epp  
system, according to the company, offered opti-  
cally continuous, unbroken expanses of glass that  
meet fire-protective and fire-resistive European  
standards for frame or frameless applications from  
Structural Engineers, Horizon Engineering, exp  
Services, CES Engineering, Darwin Construction,  
Recollective and E3Ecogroup.  
0 to 180 minutes.  
continued on page 26  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
SconutisnuteadifnroemdpagSe u24ccess  
Green Building Studies Science in the Woods  
More than 100,000  
square feet of PAC-  
CLAD material was  
used in siding and  
roofing applications  
at Georgia Southern  
University’s biological  
sciences building.  
A recently completed LEED Gold building at  
square feet of panels in slate gray on the roof. The  
Petersen products were supplied by Commercial  
Roofing Specialties in College Park, Ga., and man-  
ufactured in Petersen’s Acworth, Ga., plant.  
The M-36 siding panels were installed by Pierre  
Construction Group of Stone Mountain, Ga.  
The general contractor was Brasfield & Gorrie  
in Kennesaw, Ga. Installation of the Petersen  
roof panels was done by Richter Contracting in  
Albany, Ga.  
According to SLAM, the facility features  
“slightly skewed geometric relationships, irregular  
and articulated gable roof forms, deep overhangs,  
and generous use of glass … all intended to  
impart transparency and to diminish the mass  
Georgia Southern University, informally dubbed  
“The Building in the Trees,” is devoted to the  
study of coastal plains biology and ecology. The  
campus’s Biological Sciences in Statesboro, Ga.,  
is located on a major campus pedestrian way that  
brings students through a wooded area to reach  
the 158,000-square-foot structure.  
Designed by SLAM Collaborative in Atlanta,  
the three-story building includes five active-learn-  
ing classrooms, ten teaching labs and 15 research  
labs for 1,300 undergraduate and graduate stu-  
dents. Its façade encompasses lots of brick, but  
also uses plenty of glass and metal.  
The Biological Sciences Building includes a  
three-story portion that houses classrooms, instruc- of the composition while recalling forms, geom-  
tional laboratories, research laboratories, and  
faculty and administrative offices. Attached to the  
three-story building is a one-story, double-wing  
component where field-collected samples and biol-  
ogy specimens are stored.  
Petersen’s 16-inch Tite-Loc Plus roof panels  
cover both portions of the structure. The low-rise  
wing is horizontally clad with Petersen’s M-36  
etries, and vernacular of the agricultural and  
forestry camps that are still found in the region’s  
pine forests.”  
Research labs were designed alongside instruc-  
tional labs, and glass is used to keep the two con-  
nected visually. “The physical juxtaposition facili-  
tates the sharing of support facilities while interior  
windows along the corridors put research activities  
siding panels that were, according to the company, clearly on display and accessible to all,” according  
‘reverse rolled’ with the ribs ‘in’ to create a wid-  
to SLAM. AGG  
er-looking, flat panel appearance.”  
More than 100,000 square feet of PAC-CLAD  
material was used in siding and roofing applica-  
tions. The building’s exterior incorporates more  
than 30,000 square feet of Petersen siding pan-  
els in charcoal and silver, with another 65,000  
Nick St. Denis is the editor of Architects’ Guide to  
Glass & Metal. He can be reached at  
Ellen Rogers is the editorial director of  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal. She can be reached  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal