Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012

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Green Trendsetters 2012
Greenbuild 2012 Highlights this Year’s Leading Green Industry Trends

Industry leaders gathered at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center during the 2012 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo for three full days of sustainable energy discussions. From scooping out the event’s seminars and exhibitor halls, USGlass magazine compiled the top five industry trends for 2012.

The Natural Way
The first apparent trend was the exhibitors’ continued goal to make better use of natural light for doors and windows. Many exhibitors, including Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, Saint-Gobain and Technoform, have heightened their company’s products through the manipulation of sunlight by separating the rays of light from the heat to improve a building’s comprehensive thermal performance. The benefit of this trend is that structures no longer require the consumption of exponential amounts of energy to cool the building.

“I think our industry still has much growth to do when it comes to leveraging natural sunlight,” said Scott Ingalls, national architectural manager for PPG Industries. “There are a lot of decisions being made without looking at all of the pieces of the pie such as what’s the proper amount of daylighting and how we engineer to that increment.”

Updating the Outdated
Another common trend among Greenbuild exhibitors was a focus on retrofitting existing buildings’ performance levels by fitting the structures with green applications. “Out with the old and in with the new” is a phrase that the retrofitting market is modifying. Instead of demolishing existing structures and re-building from scratch, exhibitors reported they are striving to fit old frames and windows with the latest green technology. This trend curbs waste management by keeping the original structure intact while improving on the basics. Companies such as Doralco Architectural Metal Solutions and PPG Industries, among others, continue to hone in on supplying products for commercial building retrofits.

“There are so many existing buildings that were built without regard to energy use that need updating to today's standards,” agreed John Rovi business development manager for Sapa Extrusions North America. “Retrofitting is a way to update the building with new technologies and materials that really make a lot of sense.”

Red, White and Bought
Many exhibitors at the conference also proudly proclaimed that their products are manufactured in the United States. Beyond patriotism, exhibitors are reducing their carbon footprint by using less transportation and depending on local material instead of outsourcing to other countries. Not only do locally sourced materials provide lower shipping costs for the company, but the U.S. purchase requires less fuel consumption hence becoming more eco-friendly through the production process. While this trend contributes to the revitalization of the U.S. economy it also gives companies the opportunity to take a more proactive role in green building management during manufacturing. Companies such as Safti First and Polytronix Inc. were among those pointing out that their products are produced in the United States.

“This is one of the more talked about LEED stipulations,” said Rovi. “I understand the local materials use less glass to transport to the job site, but many companies are trying to figure out how to ‘work around’ that requirement. A project being built in Omaha, Neb., has [access to] less local products than a project built in Chicago. I'm sure changes will come about to help offset some of these challenges.”

The Significant System of Solar
The growth of solar glazing was another reoccurring theme presented at Greenbuild. According to conference exhibitors, the solar glazing market skyrocketed in the industry in 2012. In hot climates, this glass can minimize solar heat gain and help control glare. The versatile glazing can also be used in temperate regions to balance solar control with high levels of natural light. This method can even eliminate the need for an air-conditioning system and in turn cuts the cost of the building by saving energy. In addition to solar glazing other companies such as Pilkington and Skyco Shading Systems Inc. utilized solar energy by creating a motorized shade system that automatically responds to solar energy levels.

Defense Against Damage
In the wake of super storm Hurricane Sandy’s brutal presence across the Eastern United States, some Greenbuild 2012 exhibitors held frequent discussions about a building’s structural safety performance through tumultuous weather. Kawneer, for example, provided attendees with further information about tests and assessments available in the industry to defend against devastation. The first method Kawneer referred to is static testing, a product assessment that employs a conventional static testing method used to test fenestration items. There is also shock tube testing, a moderate cost method that uses a compressed gas charge to achieve the positive pressure of an explosion but that usually lacks negative phase effects.

In addition to these two tests, arena testing, the most realistic and costly assessment, tests an actual explosive charge positioned at the projected target at a standoff distance providing both of the positive and negative phase blast effects. Attendees of the 2012 Greenbuild conference were able to see this year’s sustainable building trends through the exhibitors’ continued efforts to challenge and further their role in the green movement. Next year Greenbuild will take place in Philadelphia from November 20-22.

YKK Debuts Non-Metal Exterior Curtainwall Product at GreenBuild
During Greenbuild 2012, which took place in San Francisco, YKK AP America Inc. (YKK) introduced its latest product, the YCW 750 SSG, a four-sided, structurally glazed curtainwall system. In an exclusive product-preview interview with USGlass magazine, Mike Turner, vice president of marketing at YKK, says the curtainwall system is unique to the marketplace because it gives the appearance of a seamless glass wall without using any exposed metal on the outside of the structure. The product announcement is timely; YCW 750 SSG’s heat-resistant factor, matched with its high-energy performance rating, complements the conference’s theme of energy efficiency. “It provides a strong resistance to heat transfer because you’re not bringing heat through a metal frame from the outside to the inside,” says Turner. “We’re looking at U-factors as low as .30 in the marketplace.” Turner notes the best application types for YCW 750 SSG are facades that require large amounts of daylight. He adds ideal commercial building projects for the solid glass walls are architectural features such as atriums and entrance areas. According to Turner, the YCW 750 SSG can be installed two ways. The first method is the filled-glaze application. This is when glazing contractors construct the aluminum frame on site and then install the glass on site. From here the glass is bonded to the frame by the application of structural silicone or through the use of structural tape. The second method, meant to reduce the cost of labor, is where glazing contractors bond the aluminum cassette to the glass in the shop environment. No chemical bonding is done on site. From there the product goes to the field as a semi-unitized system. The curtainwall frame structure can be assembled on site with the bonded glass and glazed aluminum cassette clips and attached to the frame. “That is not only a great application method to control the quality of the bond between the frame and the glass but it also speeds up the assembly in the field,” says Turner. Further information about YCW 750 SSG was on display at YKK’s booth along side various products featured in the company’s Energy Saving Tour. The objective of the tour is to educate architects on the latest energy codes affecting building design and strategies available to obtain low-energy, high efficiency commercial buildings. The Energy Saving Tour was launched in Washington, D.C. at the AIA 2012 Design Expo.


Kaitlan Mitchell is an assistant editor of USGlass magazine.

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