Glaziers, suppliers, look to smart glass, fire-rated labels, structural glass at Las Vegas meeting
Glass can be tinted electronically
If you believe your workplace is too hot or too cold, you are among those who share the top workplace complaints, according to a survey by the International Facility Management Association of Houston.
“It’s because of the building envelope, and it comes down to glass,” said Helen Sanders, vice president of customer solutions at Sage Electrochromics Inc. of Faribault, Minn. “Glass is not a good insulator of heat and doesn’t stop solar heat gain.”
Sanders gave a presentation on electronically tintable glass titled “A Glazing Contractor’s Guide to Performance, Envelope Integration and Installation” March 5 during the conference.
Electronically tintable glass “controls the sun’s heat and light, but you can see through it,” Sanders said. The glass can be manually switched from clear to darkly tinted and vice versa, or integrated into an automated system. Wired panes are coated with five layers of ceramic materials. When voltage is applied, ions travel from one layer to another layer, causing the coating to tint and absorb light. The tinting occurs in about three to five minutes.
The limitations of static glass include the allowance of fading furniture, carpets and artwork as well as the added expense of window coverings, which take away a view of the outdoors. Exterior solar shades also require a strengthening of the curtain wall.
A dynamic building envelope maximizes natural daylighting and results in energy conservation.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California conducted an Energy and Human Factors Evaluation in September 2004 that included comparisons of static glass and electronically tintable windows. The tintable windows saved up to 20 percent in cooling, showed up to a 60 percent reduction in lighting and about 30 percent in peak demand. People preferred to be in the room with tintable windows.
Sanders said it takes less electricity to power and control 1,500 square feet of SageGlass glazing, about 100 windows, per day than it does to power a 60-watt light bulb.
She finished the presentation with information on glazing and installation considerations.
BEC features breakout session on technology
The Technology Breakout Session March 5 at the conference featured four topics: an update on fire-rated glazing, the effect of changing thermal requirements on curtain wall systems, innovations in structural glass wall systems and insulating glass technology.
William O’Keeffe, president and chief executive officer of SaftiFirst Fire Rated Glazing Solutions in San Francisco, discussed the labeling method that was recommended by Pilkington North America, Toledo, Ohio, and accepted by the International Code Council of Falls Church, Va.
O’Keeffe said the accepted method allows for 168 options, 336 if safety is indicated, with the inclusion of letters such has “O” for opening, “D” for door and “W” for wall. The method he recommended has just 11 labels or 22 if safety is indicated. O’Keeffe had suggested using a “P” for fire protective 45 minutes or under and “R” for fire resistive 60 minutes or more.
O’Keeffe said steps are being taken to open this issue up for discussion before the ICC. He reported that the wired glass exemption was removed in the 2006 International Building Code, noting all glazing located in hazardous locations must now meet CPSC 16 CFR Category I or II for all new construction. In general, several alternative products now meet the CPSC safety standard.
O’Keeffe said the first-rated glazing in exterior applications are gaining popularity because of construction along property lines, or where added protection from hurricanes, bomb-blast or ballistic attack are a concern or necessity.
Ron Haber, president, and Jeff Haber, managing partner of W&W Glass Systems Inc., Nanuet, N.Y., gave a presentation on “Innovations in Structural Glass Wall Systems.”
The new developments, according to Ron Haber, are bomb-resistant structural glass, triple insulated structural glass, integral fittings, SentryGlas Plus laminated glass and self-cleaning glass.
Ron Spellich, senior architectural specialist, and Doug Zacharias, national sales manager of the commercial project group, both of Oldcastle Glass, Santa Monica, Calif., discussed “Insulating Glass Technology.”
Zacharias said trends include increasing aesthetic and performance options, a preference for larger sizes and higher expectations for visual quality.
Spellich covered design considerations such as insulating glass applications, structural considerations, thermal stress, thermal performance, capillary tubes and green considerations.
- by Matt Slovick, editor-in-chief, Glass Magazine