Occupant Comfort, Oversized Glass and Industry Trends in Focus at AIA

Architects had access to the latest building solutions from the glass and glazing industry at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York last week.

One major focus for architects is the importance of occupant comfort. Rather than leave measurements up to the imagination, Saint-Gobain conducted a study, which was discussed at the show.

The three-year study analyzed occupants’ experiences before, during and after a renovation as the company moved its headquarters from Valley Forge, Pa., to Malvern, Pa.

“A building is more than just a building. It’s important to business outcomes,” said Lucas Hamilton, manager of building science applications for CertainTeed, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain.

The study analyzed different building settings, such as greater access to daylighting, and how it affected occupant comfort.

Viracon displayed its largest glass size, 130 inches by 236 inches.

As architects use more glass in buildings, they are increasingly demanding larger glass sizes.

“Architects are not intimidated by big glass. They’re embracing it,” said Annette Panning, director of marketing and product management for Viracon.

She noted that architects aren’t using oversized glass over the total façade, and prefer an increase in floor to ceiling size. The company had its largest sized glass on display, measuring 130 inches by 236 inches.

According to Panning, oversized glass offers energy savings, something architects don’t always consider. More glass means less metal, which is the most conductive part of a curtainwall system. The edge of glass is also the weakest point. Having larger glass sizes creates fewer problem edges in the overall façade.

The company also highlighted its Viracon thermal spacer (VTS) which replaces the traditional spacer, desiccant and primary sealant with one component.

“The market acceptance of the VTS is encouraging,” said Panning.

Sunview Patio Door’s lift and slide door uses magnetic levitation, allowing the inclusion of heavier glass.

At Sunview Patio Doors’ booth, attendees were shown the company’s lift and slide door. It does not use a roller, but is operated with magnetic levitation. The magnetic field allows for the use of a panel up to 1,000 pounds. The product requires no sill and includes an integrated screen. The glass goes all the way to the wall, creating a minimalistic look favored by architects.

“The system is quadruple glazed, allowing occupants to enjoy the view at a closer distance without experiencing the cold. Most roller systems can’t support four panes so our product is a drastic variation on the lift and slide door,” said Claudio Sacilotto, director of engineering and quality at Sunview.

While improving occupant experience and energy efficiency is a major focus of many companies, others focus on improving efficiencies for architects.

Allegion’s Overtur software is a collaboration platform for door hardware design and specification.

Allegion featured its Overtur software, a collaboration platform for door hardware design and specification.

“We’re bringing both sides together to view the same drawings and hardware specifications,” said Bill Lawliss, specification director for the East region. “Overtur is a tool for everyone involved.”

Currently, the software includes Allegion’s door hardware products, but Lawliss noted that Overtur could grow outside the scope of door hardware and even Allegion itself.

Other companies at the show addressed industry trends.

Chris Palmer-Ball, vice president of Palmer Products Corp., expects green building to grow increasingly beyond large cities. The company created its green, Palmer SuperSet Mirro-Mastic product in response to that trend. The low-VOC mirror adhesive qualifies for LEED credit.

At the EFCO Corp. booth, the company showed its pre-glazed curtainwall, which can be installed quickly to offset the impact of the skilled labor shortage.

Peter Stauffer, account manager for SAF, explained that customers increasingly ask him about the steel and aluminum tariffs.

“Prices have obviously gone up in the last six months. It affects jobs. We’ll put in bids but then the price of aluminum goes up,” he said.

The AIA Conference on Architecture 2019 will be held in Las Vegas June 6-8, 2019.

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