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Vitro and Walker Help the National Aviary Keep Birds Safe

The 72 birds living at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh are now safer thanks to a glassy, four-month-long renovation which implemented bird-friendly glass from Vitro Architectural Glass.

The glass canopy features 19,600 square feet of laminated Starphire Ultra-Clear glass with an AviProtek bird-friendly Velour acid-etched finish by Walker Glass. It replaced the original single-strength annealed float glass that was installed during the habitat’s construction in 1952.

According to Emily Dritz, Vitro national architectural manager, project challenges included choosing a solution that was safe for birds inside and outside the aviary.

“We reviewed several patterns. We ended up with the acid-etched finish because it keeps birds of prey from spotting the birds inside the aviary while also preventing both groups of birds from colliding with the glass,” she says.

Another major challenge was man-aging the temperature of the aviary while allowing natural light and UV rays to pass through the glass for the health of the birds.

“We would typically manage heat transmission with a low-E glass, but that would limit the UV rays,” says Dritz.

The solution was a vent at the top of the habitat that can open to allow for the release of heat when necessary.

The full surface texture of the glass provides diffused light, leaving no open area of clear glass that could be a risk to the birds’ safety.

“It was too great of a risk to invite that opportunity,” says Dritz. “Starphire was chosen because it allows more visible light to pass through.”

The aviary decided to keep the existing steel of the original glass canopy, meaning the project team had to work with the constraint of a thin profile.

“It would have been cost-prohibitive if the steel was replaced,” says Dritz.

Vitro Architectural Glass sponsored the $1.2 million renovation. The company supplied 3,146 panes of laminated glass, which was fabricated by Dlubak Specialty Glass Corp. in Blairsville, Pa., and installed by Greenhouse RSI based in the Cincinnati area. Montgomery Smith Inc. in Burlington, Ky., an expert in greenhouse and conservatory preservation, design and engineering, was the historic conservatory consultant.

Wojan Window & Door Begins Factory Expansion

Wojan Window & Door has begun a two-phase expansion project at its Charlevoix, Mich., manufacturing facility. Phase one broke ground on July 5 with the infill of two shipping wells and partial demolition of a small parking lot to make way for two above-ground shipping docks. This will allow the company to consolidate all shipping activity at the south end of the building and add 1,200 square feet of production space. The second part of phase one is a 12,000-square-foot addition to the warehouse at the north end of the building. Construction of this addition will begin shortly after the ship-ping docks are completed.

Phase two is scheduled for summer of 2019 and includes an 18,000-square-foot addition to the glass production area with the goal of expanding and further automating the company’s insulating glass unit production. When the expansion is complete, it will increase the size of the Charlevoix facility to 85,000 square feet. Many other improvements also are planned, including a total plant floor resurfacing acquisition of new material handling equipment and the installation of a new conveyor system.

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