Panel discussions and presentations began at the 2019 Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference in Las Vegas Monday with a focus on thermally efficient glazing systems, which stressed edge of glass performance.

The panel session called “Cutting-Edge Facades: Thermally-Efficient Fenestration Systems,” included Kawneer product manager Chris Giovannelli, Technoform strategic business development manager Helen Sanders, Quanex Building Products commercial sales specialist Joe Erb and Viracon Western regional sales manager Cameron Scripture.

Helen Sanders with Technoform (second to left) explains the importance of improving thermal efficiency at the edge of glass.

Giovannelli said that advances in thermal break technology are being driven by multifamily and commercial applications where larger lites of glass are being specified. The framing system needs to be able to support those larger sizes while maintaining U-factors.

Sanders emphasized the importance of thermal performance at both the edge and center of glass.

“You can get more impact from the center of glass if you improve the edge first,” she said.

Improving the edge of glass performance can also impact condensation resistance. Sanders said she’s seeing more awareness of condensation resistance, but says the industry needs to do a better job of education in the marketplace about what impacts condensation resistance.

According to Sanders, it’s important to specify the edge first for a balanced approach to window design. She suggested starting by thermally breaking the frame, then reducing conduction at the edge of glass followed by specifying the center of glass.

Erb said that the insulating glass edge seal is a critical part of overall system performance. The industry is using more warm edge spacers and other composite materials rather than aluminum spacers.

According to Scripture, size of the glass does matter when it comes to U-factors. The larger the glass the better performing because it creates more area of influence for center of glass U-values.

“There’s an opportunity to promote higher performing products,” he said. “…This will be more relevant with ever-changing codes becoming more stringent.”

What Drives Design?

In the presentation, “What Drives Design? Product and Technology Trends,” Walter Hartnett with Thornton Tomasetti and Mario Goncalves with UL discussed trends such as free form, kinetic and oversized designs that require parametric tools. Hartnett said the goal is to bridge the gap between architectural aspirations and engineering analysis while balancing architectural intent and preserving performance. He highlighted several projects such as Wuhan Tower, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Tilt in Chicago.

Mario Goncalves with UL (right) stresses the importance of mock-ups to prevent problems on the jobsite.

Goncalves looked at improve R-values in the context of the window to wall ratio. He said that doubling the thermal performance of glass will increase the overall R-value compared to improving the performance of the wall. Goncalves also stressed the importance of mock-ups to fine tune a design and to avoid and fix problems that could have occurred on the jobsite.

“Most people don’t take this serious enough but it’s a great exercise,” he said. “If you do it right, you’ll build better buildings and reduce risk.

Change Management

Mary Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy commander and CEO of productive leaders, led a presentation called “Change Management: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy.” She said that leaders have to see what’s coming, not what’s already happened. Across all sectors, people want a good quality product, pleasant interactions with people, and processes and procedures that are easy.

Retired U.S. Navy Commander Mary Kelly gives BEC attendees leadership tips.

One way to motivate employees is to keep them informed and clarifying goals.

Millennials will be 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 and 75 percent in 2025, according to Kelly. She said it’s important to develop and train these employees. Kelly is also an advocate for change, which she says is a major force within the workplace that will continue to accelerate.

“Anytime you introduce change it gets worse before it gets better,” she said.

Kelly explained that one remedy to people who resist change is to have them describe change in one word and then to describe those who resist change in one word to gain perspective on themselves.

“Leading means embracing change and helping your people embrace change,” she said.

If you missed our opening video coverage, you can watch it here. Stay tuned to USGNN™ and for continuing coverage of the conference, which runs through Tuesday, March 5.

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