Volume 42, Issue 6 - June 2007

Green is Good
Energy Efficiency is on Everyone’s Mind and this Year’s AIA Conference Offered Many Ways to Increase Awareness
by Charles Cumpston and Ellen Giard

Though this year’s AIA show was not easy to navigate, with its twisted aisles and booths tucked away in various ballrooms off of the main floor, it was not hard to find all of the green displays. Most everyone was pushing something green, including ways to help projects earn Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) points.

“What we’re looking at is how to make it [LEED] easier for the architects,” said Karen Zipfel, director of marketing for Kawneer. “We’re trying to make it easier for them to know about our products and how they fit into LEED.”

Kawneer was just one of many companies at the show taking part in AIA’s Expo Education program, which enables exhibitors to offer educational presentations on the show floor. The idea is to increase booth traffic while allowing attendees to tap into industry experts’ wealth of knowledge and earn additional educational credit.

In a way, Kawneer’s booth was a microcosm of the whole conference. While the company covered a number of bases, including protective glazing, pre-assembly/pre-glazing and thermal products, “green” was definitely at the forefront of their presentations.

“Architects listen to the presentation and then take a test and it’s all monitored by AIA,” Zipfel said.

Vistawall also was on hand with many tools to help architects design a green building. Bill Lang, a LEED-accredited product development manager, talked about the product choices they offer for various LEED points criteria.

“First is energy and performance,” he said. Products that can earn points include sunshades and light shelves. “Also, our Skywall panels allow in natural light and have a high thermal performance,” Lang said.

On-site renewable energy was also a focus for Vistawall. “This is something that can generate electricity, such as photovoltaics,” Lang said. “In the indoor air quality category, daylighting is a big area, and skylights can bring in more natural light, as well as the ability to still see out.

YKK AP exhibited products that ranged from green to security applications. Marketing manager Doug Penn said green and conservation, as well as blast mitigation, are hot topics with architects. ThermaShade™ is the company’s new pre-engineered sunshade. It features a patent-pending thermally broken anchor that secures it to the curtainwall.

“Sunshades are one of the products that can help a project qualify for LEED points,” Penn said.In addition, YKK AP has been working with DuPont in developing its new large missile impact-resistant product that features SentryGlas Plus. This is a dry-glazed system that has been able to pass testing without silicone.

YKK AP also provided two Expo Education programs: “Antiterrorism and Blast Mitigation Glazing Systems” and “Understanding Building Codes and Windborne Debris Mitigation.”

Natural efficiencies was the theme for EFCO Corp.’s booth, which combined hurricane and green products. “We’re a green source,” said Dave Hewitt, director of marketing for the Monett, Mo.-based company. “We call it the nature of performance because of the energy-efficient features of our products.”

Hewitt added that the company’s new 5XP sliding glass door, designed for coastal areas, is being installed in a new Hilton Hotel in Naples, Fla. “It’s amazing how many people are asking for thermal doors in Florida,” Hewitt said.

Exterior glazing is not the only way glass can play a part in a building’s LEED rating. Interior glazing can also earn points for a project, too.

Meghan Ryan, a sales manager for Dorma’s Glas Division, said her company was offering several interior-glazing products to help architects achieve their green and LEED goals.

“We’re seeing a push to present a full package of interior glass systems,” she said. “Architects are intrigued by the possibilities of what we can do for them.”

Dorma also has options for creativity and design. Last fall it acquired the German glass company Mame, which makes a line of decorative glazing, that is now available through Dorma. “There’s a huge interest in this,” Ryan said. “Architects want that custom look without the custom price.”

Decorative Possibilities
Speaking of decorative, architects and designers are continually searching for the latest possibilities. This year’s show offered plenty of those.On the opening day, Greg Saroka, president of Goldray Industries Ltd. in Calgary, said he was surprised he was not getting more questions on green.

“One thing we have in our AIA presentation is how decorative glass fits into green building—daylighting, getting light into the structure but still having privacy,” he said.

In government projects, Saroka said his company expects an increase in products that achieve LEED certification. “Government projects are definitely more green oriented. The private projects still have more ‘wow me’ to them,” he said.

Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Inc., in Tamarac, Fla., was displaying a new digital image product that shows any image as an interlayer. “It’s also green—laminated and helps in meeting some LEED related categories, which is the thrill of the day for people here at the show,” Perilstein said. Polytronix Inc. introduced a new LED glass. Sam Shao, program manager for the Richardson, Texas-based company, said, “Architects want to know how it works; they see the glass and get ideas for what they want to do with it.”

Acid-etched glass was popular in Montreal-based Walker Glass’ booth. Marc Deschamps, business development manager, said architects were very interested in the product this year. “Whereas last year we met architects who didn’t know about acid-etched glass, this year we are meeting more who are aware of it and have used it in projects,” he said. “There’s still education to be done because they don’t have an intimate knowledge of it and its applications, but they want something distinctive and ideas for using it.” 

Barry Allan, director of Nathan Allan Glass Studios Inc., Richmond, British Columbia, said architects always are looking for something different. His company offers a new product that contains an open glass cube made of a new “pillowy” glass on the walls, Sandpaper flooring and a decorative glass ceiling. 

Safety in Numbers 
Balancing the need for safety or security of a structure, while maintaining an attractive design is crucial to today’s architects. Many exhibitors geared their booths with architects in mind. Don McCann, manager, architectural design group for Viracon in Owatonna, Minn., said he sees much more protective glazing in the market, specifically insulating laminated units. “It gives protection, but also gives sound control,” he said. “We see it in urban areas, and particularly in condos.” 

Jon Hughes, manager of architectural sales for AFG Glass in Kingsport, Tenn., also expects growth in the use of security glass, particularly for hurricane-prone areas. “The whole system has to be tested, and approval is based on what they test to,” he said.

Edgetech I.G. of Cambridge, Ohio, sales agent for Cytec, demonstrated the sound abatement qualities of the Uvekol A laminating system. “We get lots of calls from architects about the product,” said Joe Erb, product manager. He explained that not only does the glass help control sound, but it can also be used in security applications. 

Bret Penrod, general manager, Fire Protection at Pilkington North America, said many architects had questions about new fire-rated glazing codes and changes to the International Building Codes. Many of these questions regarded product size limitations, or the ways products are combined for different applications — such as hurricane or blast jobs.

Another trend is to push for complete systems for security glass, including fire-rated. “We’re being asked more for this dual function—fire rated as well as security,” said Brian Brunette, national sales manager for Saint-Gobain Vetrotech in Auburn, Wash. “This requires more innovation and testing, because you can’t end up with a glass product that is 5 inches thick.”

Recent events have spurred the push for security. “After Katrina, we’ve taken hurricanes more seriously,” said Diana San Diego, marketing and communications manager for SAFTI FIRST in San Francisco. “And after 9/11, there has been more interest in bomb blast. The need comes and then we develop the technology. We wouldn’t develop a hurricane fire-rated product if there wasn’t a need for it.”

CPFilms was promoting its new Signal Defense security film designed to defend against radio signals. Cindy Rotton, a company sales manager, said the product was developed with guidance from the U.S. government. “We’re just now releasing it for commercial use,” Rotton said. She explained that the film is designed to block radio frequency and infrared signals commonly generated from devices such as wireless computers and cell phones. In addition, the film also helps to reduce electromagnetic interference emissions, which can be harmful to building occupants. The film can also earn LEED points. 

The AIA Show Buzz
A trade show is a great opportunity for companies to introduce their latest and greatest products or even to promote their own announcements. Here’s a look at some company news at the AIA Show.

  • The big news in the ACH booth was Ford’s recent announcement about the pending sale of ACH to Tulsa businessman Robert Price (see related article in the May 2007 USGlass, page 32). “It’s exciting,” said Cindy Coulter, marketing manager. “We will no longer be a part of an automotive company; we will be a glass company. I think everyone with ACH is optimistic and enthusiastic. We want to see the company stay alive and going strong.”
  • Standard Bent Glass recently announced the acquisition of GE’s laminating facility in Allentown, Pa. Jeff Nichols, vice president of sales and marketing, said it was an asset purchase of GE’s structural products, many of which can be used in bullet- and blast-resistant applications. The purchase does not include the actual facility, but does include equipment, as well as GE’s trademarked products. “Lexgard’s a great brand name,” Nichols said, who added he was very excited about the purchase.
  • Several products for contract glaziers were on display in the Halfen booth, namely the new Detan tension rod systems. “It provides a very classy, upscale look,” said Victor Yadkin, sales manager. He explained that the new system is a structural support method for glazing applications and architects expressed a lot of interest because the end result shows a large amount of glass and little metal.
  • Terry Peterson, vice president of sales for Novum Structures in Menomonee Falls, Wis., spoke about several of his company’s projects including Dolphin Stadium in Miami. “Designing a glass façade to withstand hurricane winds proved to be difficult,” he said. “The key challenge with Dolphin Stadium was the massive size of the project combined with a highly custom architectural form and heavy south Florida wind forces, all to be done in a fast track timeline of 12 months.” According to Peterson, the company accomplished its goals through rapid engineering and a strong international sourcing network.
  • The low-profile door rail for all glass doors was a popular item in the C.R. Laurence booth. “It features our patented wedge lock system now in 2 and 5⁄16 inch sizes,” said Paul Daniels, vice president of sales. “We also have a 7 ½ inch patch fitting.” The products help architects achieve one of their main design goals of late: increased transparency. “Architects love more glass and less metal,” said Daniels.
  • The glass and railing system offered by first-time exhibitor Tuttle Railing Systems generated a lot of interest from architects. “They want to be able to think outside the box and create railings that are as unique as the building itself,” said Alex Tuttle, senior vice president. “I heard a lot about how handrails used to be just something you had to have so people wouldn’t get hurt, but now they are beautiful products that actually enhance the look of a building.” 

Hospital Happenings
Many exhibitors also cited hospital applications as a growing market—especially for green building and security glazing.

Michael Gainey, Warm-Light business manager for Azon USA Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich., saw this in his business. “There are still a lot of hospitals and clinics being built,” he said. “We’re finding there is a lot more knowledge about warm edge than in past years. Architects are starting to understand that edge of glass plays a role in energy efficiency.” 

Glenn Miner, market manager, commercial trade flat glass products for PPG Industries Inc. in Pittsburgh, pointed to the success of his company’s Solarban Z50 product in hospital applications. “It has the right combination of privacy and performance with daylighting,” he said. 

Kevin Robbins, regional sales manager for Wausau Window and Wall Systems in Wausau, Wis., said his company has experienced an increase in widow sales for numerous hospital projects in Florida. “It’s all hurricane-type products,” he said. 

Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass said he expects an increase in the use of laminated glass for interior partitions and in schools, as a traditional white board as well as a projector. “Educational, hospitals and the military are all strong construction categories,” he said. “Hospitals are getting so much more design-oriented and that includes more use of laminated glass. They’re really pushing the envelope because there’s competition among the hospitals and that has spurred design.” 

the authors: Charles Cumpston is a contributing editor and Ellen Giard is the editor of  USGlass magazine.

© Copyright 2007 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.