Volume 50, Issue 9 - September 2015


Clever Thinking: Glazing May be Key in Young Learning Environments

The use of glazing may just be the most important factor in learning and academic performance of elementary school students—at least according to one recent study.

The University of Salford, Manchester, in the United Kingdom, recently
released the summary “Clever Classrooms,” a 52-page report based on a three-year study on the impact of building design on elementary schools. The study covered 153 classrooms in 27 “very diverse” schools, in which the Holistic Evidence and Design (HEAD) program collected performance statistics for the students and how they correlated with building design, including size and placement of windows.

Key factors taken into account
were “naturalness,” “individualization,”

The study provides a number of points to consider when incorporating glazing into school projects:

4 Large glazing is welcomed
when it is toward the

4 Classrooms facing the
east and west can receive
abundant daylight and
have a low risk of glare
during the normal times
of occupation;

4 Expansive glazing should
be avoided when it is
orientated south, toward
the sun’s path for most
of the year; and

4 When large glazing is
applied toward the south,
external shading can help
control the degree of
sunlight penetration.

Petersen’s EPD Offers Cradle-to-Grave Transparency

Recognizing the full extent of a product’s environmental impact is becoming increasingly important when it comes to design and construction. Offering cradle-to-grave transparency, Petersen Aluminum has released an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the manufacturing, installation, maintenance and recycling of its roll-formed steel and aluminum roof and wall panels.

According to the company, the EPD was published to meet the increasing demand in the construction community to recognize the full extent of a product’s environmental impact. The EPD is valid until March 2020 and will be updated based on continued process improvements.

“Going through the process was an eye opener, and has identified ways for us to improve efficiencies in our production process,” says Mike Petersen, CEO, Petersen Aluminum. “We are also working to reduce packaging costs across our product line. All of this is the result of working through the EPD process, which is ongoing. We are pleased to be one of the first American companies to publish an Environmental Product Declaration for our roofing and wall panel product lines. We are grateful for first working with the Metal Construction Association a couple of years ago to create their industry-wide EPD, which laid the groundwork for our EPD.”

Prior to publishing its EPD, Petersen Aluminum participated in an EPD with five other Metal Construction Association (MCA) member companies. However, according to the company, its EPD goes beyond the MCA’s report–which stops at the factory gate–by providing a cradle-to-grave examination of its products’ life cycles. In addition, the EPD focuses only on Petersen Aluminum products, including extraction and transport of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation to installation site, installation, panel maintenance and end-of-life disposal.

and “stimulation.”

Naturalness, with glazing considered in almost every design parameter within the category, accounted for half of the learning impact. Of all the design parameters considered, lighting had the strongest individual effect, according to the report.

Regarding glazing orientation and area, “High levels of natural light via large windows to the classroom are optimum, moderated by a need to avoid glare from direct sunlight,” the report reads. It adds that glare is a greater issue lately given the widespread use of interactive whiteboards and computer projection.

Another important factor in learning, according to the study, is a connection between the students and the outside environment.

“One function of the window is maintenance of a visual link between the indoor and nature outdoors,” the report reads. “Where possible, the view through the window should be plentiful, providing a wide-field vision of landscape.”

Furthermore, the ability to open windows and create flow of ventilation ties in with air quality, and the need to control temperature brings along considerations for heat gain through glazing.

NFRC Re-Commits to Commercial Sector

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) says it is renewing its commitment to providing the commercial fenestration industry with an energy performance certified rating program.

While in the short term the organization is refining its existing Component Modeling Program, NFRC is working toward long-term prospects and “building a first-class program for the commercial sector,” says Deb Callahan, NFRC’s interim CEO.

Callahan says NFRC has started interacting more directly with industry professionals and is reaching out to collaborate with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the Glass Association of North America.

“NFRC anticipates its commercial certified product rating program gaining traction as whole-building commissioning grows,” the release reads. “It sees this shift creating the need for the organization to provide rating information that enables more precise whole-building calculations.”

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