Volume 39, Issue 10, October 2004


In The Spotlight
Recognizing a “Legend” of the Industry
by Max Perilstein

In two recent issues of USGlass there was ample opportunity to do what I’m going to do here. In the July issue I wrote about a few gentlemen whom I hold in very high regard as they work in the architectural community day-in and day-out. That would’ve been a great opportunity to shine some light on a man who has done that deed for many years. In August, the issue featuring the most influential in our industry came out and that, too, would’ve been a good opportunity to recognize this man. Alas, it was another shot missed. So a few months overdue, I have decided to focus on a guy who has done so much through his dealings with architects, fabricators and customers over his 47 years in the industry. The man’s name is Lowell Rager.

I’ve mentioned Lowell a few times in my past pieces; I usually use the term “legendary” before stating his title as Visteon’s senior architectural guru. I met Lowell back in the mid 1990s and he treated me—a pain-in-the-butt, whining fabricator—as though I was royalty. I surely never deserved the respect I got from him then or now, but I appreciate it and cherish it to this day. 

When I was pulling this column together I sent Lowell an e-mail and asked for his help. I wanted to know what he saw as the current trends with architects and designers and what his opinions were on the matter. Lowell, being the extremely thorough person that he is, got back to me in volumes, his passion for the job still perking along at a higher rate than most.

So, here is some of the gospel that was gleaned from my e-mail conversation with Lowell Rager.
• Specifications for low-E coatings are becoming the standard. It seems the demand for both pyrolytic and 
sputter (MSVD) low-E is increasing. Sputter-coat volumes seem to be increasing more rapidly than pyrolytic at this time. While there may be consolidation of sputter coat facilities, it will probably be short term. More MSVD operations are likely to be introduced in the future ... perhaps in strategic locations to service this growing sector. 
• Another trend is the specification of higher visible light transmitting substrates ... probably for a number of reasons: Clear or lightly tinted glass, such as green or high-performance green appropriately fabricated, can have excellent performance characteristics (shading coefficient, U/R values and light to solar gain ratios [LSG ratio]).

At one time glass was considered an energy hog, but the proper use of coatings has changed that image. Appropriately fabricated, tinted glass (green/high-performance and in some cases blue and bronze) will generally have lower SC’s than clear glass and also offer a façade color definition. 
• Daylighting projects are becoming much more prevalent. Daylighting design has been around for years, but sophisticated products, such as low-E coatings and reliable interior lighting control devices, were unaffordable or non-existent. Today’s architect has a wide range of products and systems that can be specified to make daylighting really work. The integration of daylighting design requires selection of appropriate vision area glass in the design stages to take advantage of reduced HVAC and perimeter interior artificial lighting equipment. Of course lifetime operating costs are reduced accordingly. 
• Specifications for coated reflective glass seem to be diminishing on 
large high-rise buildings. Coated reflective glass seems to remain a popular choice in smaller structures, two- to five-story buildings, business and industrial parks, etc.
• There seems to be a trend toward consolidation of glass fabricators leading to the growth of national (and in some cases international) companies that offer a wide range of sophisticated products and technical and design services. 

This was only a portion of what Lowell shared with me. You would think that after 47 years of dealing with this industry, dealing with waves of architects, hurricane and turtle codes, the comings and goings of fabricators, changing company and product names and people revolving, Lowell would not have the amazing enthusiasm that he does. Thankfully, he does, and we all benefit. 


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