Volume 46, Issue 11 - December 2011

feature

Toronto Flaunts Its Green
First International Greenbuild Features Efficient and Sustainable Product Launches
by Megan Headley

There were murmurs of surprise when the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that its 2011 Greenbuild Conference and Annual Expo would be held outside of the United States. But Toronto also seemed a good venue for a trade show that highlights the most energy-efficient building products around. Where else could there be as much demand for these super-insulating products than in the northernmost climes of North America?

Ultimately, approximately 23,000 attendees from around the world made the trek to the Metro Toronto Convention Center for the first international Greenbuild in early October. Attendees gracing Greenbuild for the first time found before them an educational expanse of the many ways in which glass products can be “green.” All attendees could find brand-new glass products demonstrating strong efficiency and sustainability.

Super Insulation
US Daylighting LLC of Bowling Green, Ky., took a spot in Boston-based Cabot Corp.’s booth to introduce a super-insulated curtainwall system. The company’s AeroGlass ThermaDivide glass curtainwall system features insulating glass units (IGU) filled not with argon or krypton but with Cabot’s Lumira aerogel, a translucent form of silica aerogel, to reach a U-value of 0.06.

“This design not only looks better, it means there is no exposed aluminum to conduct hot or cold into or out of the building,” explained Jim French, president of US Daylighting. “Because of this, the complete system—not just at the center of the glass—offers an overall insulation value of U 0.06 throughout.”

The Lumira aerogel (previously called Nanogel® aerogel) also diffuses sunlight, removing any interior hot spots, shadows or glare, eliminating the need for blinds or curtains and reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day, according to company representatives.

Southwall Insulating Glass of Palo Alto, Calif., meanwhile, introduced at the show what it says is the world’s highest performing IGU. The company’s Heat Mirror® “Quad-Cavity” R-20 IG achieves a 0.05 center of glass U-factor at the same weight as standard dual-pane IG.

“Heat Mirror multi-cavity technology, with center of glass performance ranging from R-6 to R-20, enables windows to outperform walls and become net-energy-gainers in a properly designed building or home,” said Bruce Lang, president of Southwall.

The window suspends three lightweight Heat Mirror films within the IGU, creating four independent airspaces. When configured in a 1 ¾-inch overall IG unit thickness with krypton gas fill and low-E coatings on the second and tenth glass surfaces, the Quad-Cavity product meets that low center of glass U-factor.

As Lang pointed out, having a window that insulates better than the wall is not practical, but it may encourage other designers to “catch up.” He said that the goal with the product is more to “let architects know it’s possible” to design to this degree of insulation.

Traco, a division of Kawneer Co. Inc., brought its brand-new OptiQ™ ultra thermal window to the show. Company representatives touted the product’s built-in thermal intelligence, developed as a result of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Traco’s Lisa Jackson explained that with the OptiQ™ window the company set out “to create an aluminum architectural grade window that sets a new standard in performance.”

A polyamide thermal break allows the AA®4325 series (the first OptiQ™ window) to achieve higher thermal performance than the traditional pour and debridged style thermal break. The alignment of the IGU with the thermal break allows the window to maintain thermal continuity. Reduced sightlines also decrease thermal conductivity and transfer, while wider thermal break profiles allow for increased space between interior and exterior metal. Thermal transmission is further reduced by a center fin gasket design, the use of insulating foam strips and the ability to accommodate 1 3/4-inch triple glazing. Using triple insulating glass, AA®4325 series has the potential to achieve U-factors of 0.17 for fixed and 0.22 for operable, while still achieving a structural design pressure of 80 psf.

Jackson noted that the product already has passed AAMA and NFRC testing. As it achieves strong condensation resistance, she said, it’s a great fit for schools and hospitals.

Green (and Other) Glass
Last year the Schott booth focused primarily on the cradle-to-cradle certified Pyran Platinum fire-rated product, said Karen Wegert. This year, the company aimed to broaden its approach because it received so many inquiries about the product and how it fit into the “green” criteria, Wegert explained. The booth featured the fire-rated glass once again, as well as a sampling that includes glass for fireplaces, the Okalux light-diffusing insulating glass product and a photovoltaic panel representative of their work in that area.

Other manufacturers kept their message tightly honed.

“Ultimately the big thing is daylighting and energy efficiency,” said Pilkington’s Mike Krasula, although he added that aesthetics are playing more of a role in marketing green. To that end the company’s brand-new Eclipse Gold line, which features a rich gold hue, was on display along with its other offerings.

Discussions about glare remain a big education point, Krasula said. He and colleague Rick Herlinger noticed when driving through Toronto that many of the lovely glass-clad buildings near the convention center had their blinds drawn.

On that note, Herlinger said that there has been increasing interest in active glazing. Pilkington provides materials to fabricators to make dynamic glazing, and is part of the growing number of primary manufacturers promoting dynamic glazing, Krasula said. In a more “active” sense, Pilkington has been active in its work on touchscreen technology, applying electrical coatings to that range of products, he added.

Diffusing Daylight
Managing daylight remained a big theme at this year’s event. Among the popular examples of how to do this was Sage Electrochromic’s dynamic glazing product. The company brought to the show a new booth with a façade wall showing the product at work. Andrew Hulse, Sage’s new vice president of business development and sales, quipped that if you stayed in the booth long enough you could watch the full change from subtle change from transparent to opaque, and many attendees seemed intent on doing just that.

More traditional light control products also were on hand. Doralco’s Tom O’Malley noted that the company is now offering an aluminum louver system. He explained that the company is keeping on track with its regular expansion into new products for covering the exterior of the building. The company’s drainable louvers are available in 4- and 6-inch depths and are touted as an economical screening solution, while its storm-resistant louvers are designed to offer more than 20 times the rain protection of conventional louvers at 5- and 7-inch depths.

Major Industries unveiled its Clima-Tite™ window wall, in addition to its Clima-Tite™ pultruded fiberglass translucent daylighting system that incorporates operable composite windows.

Those translucent panels feature Ultimate Series™ FRP face sheet technology for strong weathering performance. Major’s Lance Finley commented that most attendees “don’t seem to realize it’s a pultruded fiberglass frame … they think it’s aluminum.”

The window wall systems allow users to provide light and ventilation control for building occupants, plus strong thermal performance compared to traditional window or translucent wall systems. The systems incorporate GThurm™ windows from Graham Architectural Products, which feature a composite design, stainless steel hinges and white bronze locking hardware.

Against the Glass
A number of window film companies were at Greenbuild to provide information on “greening” windows after installation.

“We’re trying to sell energy conservation,” said Rob Heber at Solutia Performance Films.

To that end, the company drew attendees in its booth to see—rather, feel—for themselves how the EnergLogic Series of films can block heat. As Heber explained, the product is able to upgrade a single-pane window to the performance of a double-pane window.

Solar Gard, meanwhile, focused on energy retrofits. The company’s Sentinel series includes 10 films that can be applied to the exterior of a window. Lawrence Constantin explained that this product is really geared toward those areas that are difficult to apply from the inside, such as skylights. It’s an immediate solution for “greening” a building, Constantin pointed out.

Solar Gard was one example of a company that is blurring the lines between film suppliers and glass suppliers; as of October 3, Saint Gobain had finalized its acquisition (see October 2011 USGlass, page 18) of the film company.

Pleotint was another such company. The supplier of the sunlight-responsive film, that when applied to glass creates a dynamic glazing product, had a booth at the show. Fred Millet was demonstrating to attendees how the product reacts to heat, but, as he pointed out, he wasn’t the only one. “Southwall’s displaying our product, PPG is displaying our product, so we’re able to say it’s not just us—it’s an industry-wide thing.” Both companies recently announced partnerships with Pleotint.

While these companies are examples of how partnerships can help companies grow their offerings, most of the exhibitors at the show were on the lookout to partner with more designers to grow the use of glass in green buildings.

Megan Headley is the editor of USGlass. She can be reached at mheadley@glass.com or follow her on Twitter @USGlass.


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