Volume 46, Issue 5 - June 2011



Products with a Purpose
AIA Exhibitors Feature New Developments that Combine Aesthetics and Performance
by Ellen Rogers

With the closing of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Convention on May 14, many exhibitors were hopeful that the 2012 staging, set to take place in Washington, D.C., will bring more show traffic than this year’s event. After all, D.C. provides a greater architectural population within a five-hour drive than New Orleans does.

So while show floor traffic may have left some exhibitors discouraged, glass and metal companies still took the opportunity to showcase their latest developments, many of which, they said, were developed in response to architectural input and requests.

Interior Options
A number of companies exhibiting featured glass products designed specifically for interior applications. Guardian Industries was one of those companies that had begun focusing more on glass for the interior of the building, as the company was featuring its new InGlass segment.

“InGlass is a journey that started several years ago when we started to see the interior as an opportunity for glass,” said Diane Chalker Turnwall, segment director, interiors. She explained that the company conducted research with designers on how they make their glass choices, as they wanted to drive a performance-oriented product toward the interior. “So we created a portfolio that would enable the design professional to understand the possibilities of glass (patterns, textures, color). Designers need to be intrigued visually.”

While the official launch will be during the NeoCon show in June, the company’s InGlass product line includes a range of products including several textures from Joel Berman Glass.

Schott Glass was also featuring interior options. The company showcased an “Infinity Mirror,” which combined several of its products to illustrate the many different ways glass can be used in interior design applications.

“We took a multitude of products and mixed them together to get a new twist on an old design,” said Peter Stattler, the company’s manager of sales and market development for North America. “It features two lights, fiberoptics and LEDs, as well as dichroic glass on the front and fist surface mirror in the back.”

Energy Efficiency
With an increasing desire to “go green,” many of the companies exhibiting this year featured products created with energy efficiency in mind.

EFCO Corp., for example, featured its XTherm product line.

“It’s a double hung system with high thermal performance,” explained Dave Hewitt. “There are 12 different product series in the XTherm family, such as windows and curtainwall.”

Hewitt also pointed out that there is a fiberglass option, designed to provide better condensation resistance factor values and U-factors.

“Architects like that for applications such as hospitals where there are high humidity rates,” said Hewitt.

“Also included (with the XTherm line) is software that generates payback and return on investment for putting [replacement] products in buildings,” said Hewitt.

Thermal performance has also driven new product development for other companies. Kawneer was featuring its new AA250 425 thermally broken door, which Donnie Hunter, product manager, storefronts, entrances and framing, explained has a true thermal break in the door, separating the exterior from the interior.

“We’re expanding the total entrance package from just fixed frames to include operable doors,” Hunter said. “This allows the system to give increased thermal performance as the energy codes are driving better thermal performance in general.”

GIESSE North America featured new products as well, including the Essenza zero sightline sliding door, which Ed Williams said attracted a lot of attention.

“This is a lift and slide door or window that has no exposed metal. In fact, we had to leave our sample door partially open so passersby could see that it wasn’t a structurally glazed curtainwall,” said Williams. “Architects were interested to learn of several features of this product, including extremely high levels of air, water, and acoustic performance. But the most interesting aspect is the thermal performance. It’s available with either double or triple glazing, so these doors result in U-factors that approach that of the glass itself, due to the minimal exposed metal.”

In addition to metal products, glass can also serve as an energy-saving building product. Viracon showcased its new Vue 40, which Don McCann said offers both light transmission as well as solar heat gain performance.

“It can meet any climate zone characteristic, if you’re looking at the prescriptive method,” said McCann. “It has low reflectivity, a nice, blue color and it’s been received well in the marketplace.”

Glenn Miner of PPG Industries agreed that solar performance, as well as sustainability, have become significant design details for architects.

“So, how do we control performance and sustainability in ways [beyond] the products?” Miner commented, and noted his company is doing so through materials and manufacturing.

Some of the products PPG featured included its new Solarban 72 glass, which Miner said is designed to provide visible light transmittance and clarity as well as solar heat gain performance.

“[The product] continues to grow, even in a down market. Over 94 million square feet have been shipped so far and it’s benefited architects in their design capabilities and some of the work they’ve been doing over the last few years,” said Miner.

Energy performance was also a theme in the Pilkington North America booth. Sharon Urban, marketing and communication specialist, said they were featuring the new Eclipse™ Gold and Sunset Gold. Eclipse products are Energy performance was also a theme in the Pilkington North America booth. Sharon Urban, marketing and communication specialist, said they were featuring the new Eclipse™ Gold and Sunset Gold. Eclipse products are designed to allow for natural daylight transmittance, and when combined with the company’s Energy Advantage™ low-E glass can enhance U-factors and reduce the solar heat gain coefficient.

Urban added that they were also featuring the Spacia™ product. Spacia is a vacuum glazing product that can be used in retrofit applications. She added the product was also seeing a lot of interest from architects at the show.

“It can be used for retrofits inside the existing [frame],” she said.

Fire-Rated Options
Fire-rated glass is another product that exhibitors said is being used frequently in a variety of application types.

“Traditionally fire-rated glass was thought of only as wired glass, but now with clear products you can have strength [and clarity] and it looks like regular glass,” said Diana San Diego of SAFTI First. “There’s a lot of continuity in the design.”

San Diego said they had been focusing on educating architects on the differences in fire-protective and fire-resistive glass.

“Protective glass is usually rated up to 45 minutes and while it keeps [smoke and fire] contained it does not block radiant heat,” she said. “Fire-resistive glass, which is rated 60 minutes and up, protects against the smoke, fire and heat.”

Another company that featured fire-rated glazing was Saint-Gobain. For the first time the company exhibited with all nine of its divisions, including fire-rated glass supplier Vetrotech Saint-Gobain, which displayed its new VDS Curtainwall. The VDS fire-resistant system is for both interior and exterior use and has 60, 90 and 120 minute ratings and is available either in steel or non-rated stainless steel. The company also featured its Contraflam® Structure 60, a one-hour fire-rated flush glazed system that protects against fire, smoke, toxic gases and forms a protective heat barrier in the event of a fire emergency. The systems can be used in interior transparent applications such as partition walls in offices, schools, conference rooms or shopping centers.

Optimum Windows also offered a range of fire-rated products, which included both clear and wired glass options.

According to Elias Perez, a sales representative with the company, they offer many different product options including single-hung and double-hung, casements, in-swing and awnings, as well as self-closing doors.

“Architects are looking for information on ratings, finish options and the different kinds of glass available,” said Perez. “They also want to see the construction [of the system] and how it will be built.”

Ready for More?
If you missed this year’s AIA National Convention, plans for the 2012 staging are already in the works. The event is scheduled for May 17-19 in Washington, D.C.


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