A Dynamic Web to Weave: Building Relationships Can Bring Growth and Action

By Stephanie Staub

Building relationships is a critical component of business. When we think of business relationships, we typically think of those between two people or two organizations. Many of us in this industry also belong to associations and understand that the networking and opportunities that those provide also act as an excellent facilitator for cultivating relationship-driven business. These multifaceted relationships offer benefits for everyone through various foundational platforms that can help grow individual relationships.

Investing in Knowledge

The Architectural Glass Institute (AGI) has worked with a number of companies and organizations to bring knowledge and education for the glazing industry, as well as architects, specifiers and others. The Architectural Glass Boot Camp is our flagship educational program for the design community, and it provides deeper understanding of various glazing systems’ installation methodologies and constructability challenges.

As an example, one of these boot camps focused on electrochromic glass. Just a few years prior, Philadelphia had its first dynamic glass project—a skylight that would automatically tint in response to the sun. While the innovative technology was important for that installation, there was no immediate traction or demand for dynamic glass in the Philadelphia market.

To help create a springboard for growth and awareness, our organization worked with SageGlass to develop a dynamic glass boot camp. This program was designed to provide a web of interaction around dynamic glazing for both the design and construction communities in the region.

In the construction industry there typically is a gap between new technology and estimating; the unknown creating a higher margin of risk, translating to higher budgets and a barrier to market adoption ultimately slowing industry innovation. However, thanks in part to the relationship with SageGlass, the Philadelphia area has seen an uptick in commercial projects utilizing electrochromic glass. AGI contractors that participated in the boot camp have become more comfortable stepping up to these new installations.

Projects with a Cause

As an example, SageGlass worked with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on a pilot study to determine the effects of the technology in a pediatric hospital setting. Comparing the use of blinds/shades in a patient room fitted with SageGlass verses a control room without, the study sought to determine if dynamic glazing contributed to improved thermal and visual comfort and improved patient/family sense of control over their environment. One of our contractors, National Glass & Metal, handled the installation. The company previously had taken the dynamic glass boot camp, giving it the opportunity to explore and familiarize itself with the material prior to installation.

A few months later SageGlass and its parent company Saint-Gobain worked with Eureka Metal & Glass Services, another AGI contractor, on a volunteer project for YouthBuild Philadelphia. This is a charter school for young adults earning a high school diploma while gaining hands-on work experience. For students in the Green Building Track, that work included learning about the new electrochromic technology being installed. For one YouthBuild graduate who was an apprentice  glazier, the project allowed him to work alongside students, helping with the install and sharing his story of entering the glazing trade.

Stephanie Staub is the director of marketing for the Architectural Glass Institute in Philadelphia. She can be reached at stephanie@theagi.org

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