The Thompson Hotel Keeps Nashville Green

The Thompson Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., is more than just a trendy spot in one of the city’s most popular areas. It’s also a beacon of energy-efficient design and performance. A major feature of each room is the floor-to-ceiling glazing manufactured by AGC Glass North America (AGC) and fabricated by Insulite Glass, based in Olathe, Kan. Pitman Glass of Memphis, Tenn., did the installation.

“Tennessee was slow to adopt new energy codes versus the surrounding states, and instead allowed municipalities to take the lead. As a state, Tennessee didn’t adopt the 2009 IECC until February 2, 2017 and was on ASHRAE 90.1-2004 through 2016,” says Meghan Beach, architectural representative/building and industrial for AGC. “That said, Hastings Architecture was one of my first customers pushing for energy modeling and low solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC) before it was required.”

“Our firm has a strong sustainability practice. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. We’re always looking to be as sustainable as possible,” adds Matt Spaulding, associate at Hastings Architecture Associates in Nashville. “It’s important to consider the energy performance of glass as well as how that will impact the owner’s bill.”

The project includes 60,000 square feet of insulating glass units ranging in size from 18 inches by 21 1/8 inches to 38 ¾ inches by 139 ½ inches.

According to Larry Vasholz, director of sales at Insulite Glass, the project had a combination of four-sided fully-captured applications along with two-sided and four-sided structural silicone glazing applications.

Spaulding says glass was important to allow guests to see the rest of the city, while maintaining privacy.

“We also wanted the building to reflect the rest of the neighborhood,” says Spaulding. “We were trying to get the color of the glass just right. First, we had to understand how the glass would reflect the sky depending on different color tints. We had two to three different glass types in the mock-ups. We wanted to see how it would work with the palette of materials.”

Throughout the design process, AGC Energy Select 31 was the basis of design with 62 percent visible light, 21 percent reflectance out, and a .31 SHGC.

After comments were submitted by the Gulch Business Improvement District, the glass type was changed to AGC Energy Select 28 with the same visible light, but 13 percent reflectance out and a .28 SHGC.According to Beach, the Gulch, a mixed-use LEED certified community in Nashville, has a homeowners association that influences exterior design decisions. They reviewed the design and expressed that they did not want any reflective glass in the area.

“The higher reflectivity of the original glass chosen for the project had an issue of redirecting light and creating hotspots on the street with a solar heat gain of .23. There were too many issues of light refractions,” says Spaulding.

AGC was involved heavily in the project, from design through ordering the glass. Beach praises the interior and exterior features which she says make the Thompson a “must-see” location.

“The building’s exterior is curved and segmented, also following the natural flow of 11th Street. This shape is designed to maximize the building’s footprint. There is a certain vibrancy and energy about the building which is created by the angles and transparency of the glass,” she says. “This is only enhanced by the traffic moving past the front. The hotel tower framing is made from anodized aluminum with AGC Energy Select 28 glass, while the store-front and restaurant framing is dark bronze with AGC Energy Select 40. The contrasting colors create a feeling of intimacy in the restaurant and lobby. Once inside, the warm wood tones and custom lighting present an elevated and classy space—and views to the active street round out the energetic, urban vibe.”

“The major challenges on this project were the confined laydown area due to the footprint of the project site, working on convex/concave elevations and several custom features,” says JJ Anderson, project manager at Pitman Glass Company.

Those features include a handrail incorporated into the curtainwall system, a 6-foot glass windscreen and electro-chromic dynamic glass.

Spaulding says the hotel owners en-visioned the location as more than just a hotel, but a spot that locals will gravitate toward to enjoy a cup of coffee.

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