Guardian Industries Corp. has expanded its Science and Technology Center in Carleton, Mich. with a 27,000-square-foot addition that the company claims will accelerate its rate of product design and development.

Highlights of the expansion include a full-size vacuum coater, a glass product showcase wall, an electrically wired, full-scale demonstration wall for advanced glazing technologies and an upgraded and expanded laboratory space.

Guardian S&T Center_format

The structure also features a curtainwall designed to achieve net zero energy results using Guardian’s high-performance commercial glass products, SunGuard SNX 51/23 and SunGuard Spandrel HT, and building-integrated photovoltaic panels.

“This high-performance building is a working demonstration of Guardian’s commitment to advancing glass technology,” says Sheldon Davis, vice president of research and development. “We have built the exterior walls using our next-generation low-E glass—SunGuard SNX 51/23—along with electricity-generating photovoltaic glass. There are very few buildings today with this kind of facade technology.”

Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems designed and installed the façade system, which includes a full-size working model of Bagatelos Net Zero Envelope.

“All of the possibilities that are available today to tune a wall are available for integration onto the STC building,” says Nick Bagatelos, president of Bagatelos. “The walls can be used to gather information on current products that are available, or new product concepts.

“The project was exciting and fun because of the technical complexity of the job, and the opportunity to collaborate with a group of cutting-edge scientists from the STC. It’s not every day, as a glazier, that you have the opportunity to work with such a talented set of people.”

Fabricated by Thompson I.G., the building features a thermally broken curtainwall, energy-dense vertical wall PV, rooftop PV and high performance glass to tune the performance per elevation. Guardian SunGuard SNX 51/23 contributes 51 percent visible light transmission and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23 to that performance. According to the company, no other commercial glass on clear float produced in North America today offers this much light with so little heat. The glossy black spandrel on the south façade is one of the first applications for the new Guardian SunGuard Spandrel HT. PV modules are also installed in the spandrel area to increase the building’s energy efficiency.

“This investment in glass innovation is going to create value for Guardian and our customers for a long time to come,” says Chris Dolan, director of marketing, North America, Guardian. “The wall is extremely flexible and will accommodate multiple sizes of low-E and advanced glazing insulated glass units. It will allow Guardian to easily change out and test different glazing technologies.”

Guardian’s InGlass interior products are also featured as part of the STC addition on applications from tables to white boards, credenzas to countertops. These include Guardian Reveal switchable privacy glass; Guardian DiamondGuard, which protects glass from scratching up to 10 times longer than ordinary glass, according to the company; and Guardian Berman Glass editions, patterned glass designs created by glass artist Joel Berman and manufactured and distributed by Guardian.