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.
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.”
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,”
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
“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 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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