Bill Yanek, GANA executive vice president, provided Fall Conference attendees with an overview of Centric Management.
Bill Yanek, GANA executive vice president, provided Fall Conference attendees with an overview of Centric Management.

“When Buildings Attack their Neighbors,” was the title of a presentation today during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference, underway this week in Toronto. “It’s a scary title, but it’s true,” said Vicente Montes-Amoros of Curtainwall Design & Consulting, who spoke about solar reflectivity and analysis.

And it’s an issue that’s been in the news frequently. In 2010 there were reports about the curved glass façade of the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, which was blamed for causing intense sunlight to reflect straight at the pool area. Other cases include the Museum Tower in Dallas, as well as the Walkie Talkie building in London. And on the residential side, the North Carolina Rules Review Commission recently rejected a temporary rule, which allowed permit holders to opt-out of using low-E fenestration products in residential construction.

“It’s a common phenomenon in urban areas, but it’s nothing new,” said Montes-Amoros. What’s become more of a concern of late are increasingly complex facades and changes in building materials, he explained. He also discussed several different case studies, including the Vdara, which he said is a south-facing façade; the Walkie Talkie building has a concave structure.

When it comes to issues with glare, he explained there are no glare limits in terms of design.

“The industry has no standard on how much is too much,” he said, noting that measurement is subjective due to variables such as a person’s age, eye colors and eye wear, scars, etc.

There are, however, modeling tools, which can be used to predict a concentration of rays, but not intensity. He added that reflective light must be analyzed for both visual and thermal, and that low-E coatings are sensitive to this matter.

By using the proper tools, he said, “solar reflective issues can be avoided.”

After the presentation, one attendee asked if there was any work being done to develop standards. Montes-Amoros said both Singapore and Sydney have limited the reflectivity of construction materials to 20 percent, “but with the increase in complexity of building shapes, even at 20 percent reflectivity, you could still have issues,” he said.

Chuck Knickerbocker, chair of the BEC technical committee, commented that this will be an issue “we will need to stay close to in GANA.”

Today’s sessions also included a presentation by Bill Yanek, GANA executive vice president, that provided an overview of Centric Management and what it does for GANA, as well as a report from Ashely Charest, GANA account executive and executive director for the Canadian Glass Association (CGA), about the CGA, which Centric has managed since July.

The Fall Conference takes place all this week. Look to USGNN™ for more news and reports from Toronto.