Demand by Architects Leads
to Skylight Popularity
With the ever-increasing popularity of daylighting through design, architects continue to consider new ways to let in the light. Among the perennially popular options are skylights, and manufacturers are responding to this demand with new features.
Matt Snyder, sales and marketing assistant manager for Acurlite Structural Skylights in Berwick, Pa., has found that more architects are looking for ways to set their buildings apart. “Skylights are a great feature on a building and many architects are looking to put their personal touch on the skylights and use them as an important feature of the building,” he says. “We see much more demand from the architects for upfront design assistance and expanding the way skylights are used on buildings.”
As a result, skylight manufacturers are incorporating unique new technologies into their products.
“We have incorporated both photovoltaics and electrochromic, or dynamic, glazing into our system. These products have gained a strong presence in our industry and allow the customer to have much more control over their space,” Snyder says.
These technologies allow for the connection to the outdoors without the drawback of direct sunlight adding too much in the way of glare and direct overhead light.
Mark Mitchell, marketing manager for Major Industries Inc. in Wausau, Wis., points out that although the technologies might be changing, the demands architects put on these products are much the same as they’ve ever been. “I think that, in most, ways architects are looking for a lot of the same things they’ve always been looking for: performance, value, durability and aesthetics. Only there are now so many more options in terms of materials and options that it makes sorting through the choices that much more difficult. Ultimately, versatility and adaptability are key. Architects want a system that will go beyond simply meeting the project’s needs by becoming an integral and beneficial part of the building,” he says.
For Mitchell, that means skylight manufacturers must continue to find new ways to boost the envelope’s thermal performance.
“Lately, it seems that thermal performance is the key thing on customer’s minds. With the influx of green building design and improved technology, customers have become more educated about the products on the market,” he says. “That said, we’re still suffering from a slow economy, so while customers want the highest performing product for their building, they also want something that will fit into their budget.”
Even with budget-friendly options taking the brunt of demand, architects are looking at the long-term costs then selecting products likely to last and meet all of the latest ratings.
“Customers are demanding higher performance and quality products on their buildings, and it is great to see,” Snyder says. For example, he adds. “We see much more demand and emphasis put on National Fenestration Rating Council [ratings] and condensation resistance factors (CRF).”
Indeed, CRF has driven Major’s latest product introduction. According to Mitchell, “We recently released a fiberglass framed translucent panel daylighting system … that offers some enhanced corrosion resistance, as well as better condensation resistance than comparable aluminum framing.”
Looking down the road, manufacturers are watching the codes closely as they set out to develop the next wave of in-demand products.
“Moving forward, there will be a continued push toward higher and higher thermal performance standards both on the state and national level. The industry also is keeping a close eye on LEED and the changes that will be in place soon, as well as the proposed changes to the Energy Star program,” Mitchell says.
Snyder adds, “Many standards/codes change per geographic location. It is best to be aware of your local building codes. We see many more areas adopting the hurricane impact ratings.”
“Pinked Out” Campaign Earns Recognition
For MyGlassTruck.com, pink is its signature color—and for a good reason. The Central and South Jersey Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure have acknowledged the company for generating more than $10,000 in donations with its “Nice Rack” campaign. Launched in September 2011, the campaign makes a donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for every glass rack sold by MyGlassTruck.com.
In a letter to MyGlassTruck.com, Nancy Healey, executive director of the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, wrote, “To date, the ‘Nice Rack’ Fundraisers have raised over $10,000 … Thank you to everyone who has participated. We deeply appreciate your support of our vision of a world without breast cancer and look forward to our continued partnership. Together, we are truly saving lives.”
“We would like to thank our customers for making this accomplishment possible,” says Rustin Cassway, president of MyGlassTruck.com. “MyGlassTruck.com is proud to raise funds for an organization that assists individuals battling breast cancer today while supporting scientific research to find a cure in the future.”
SAGE Awarded 250th Patent for Dynamic Glass
SAGE has received approval for its 250th global patent pertaining to its SageGlass electrochromic glazing technology. The patent is for a new kind of laser device that will enable SageGlass to be repaired in the field without having to remove it from the window, skylight or curtainwall system.
“This milestone advances our mission to improve the way people save energy and experience daylight in buildings,” says John Van Dine, SAGE CEO and founder.
Recently, SAGE was also awarded a patent for its unique thin-film sputter coating process, which will help the company manufacture its product in high volumes and low costs at its new 320,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Faribault, Minn.
Tubelite Expands in Dallas/Fort Worth Area
Site selection is currently underway for a new, 25,000-square-foot regional facility for Tubelite in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“We are extremely proud and excited to be expanding upon our already-established presence within the Texas and South Central market with this new facility,” says president Ken Werbowy. “This new facility will allow us to provide even faster lead-times and damage-free shipments to our existing customers in the region through the use of on-site CNC machining for door and frame fabrication, as well as warehousing stock products.”
Existing client services personnel, who currently are working out of the company’s Mesquite, Texas, offices, will relocate to the new facility, joining new hires for the operation.
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