Architects Gather in Suburban Chicago for Glass Educational Forum

Chicago area architects traveled to Schaumburg, Ill., in March for a one-day educational symposium designed to provide information and education about innovations within the architectural glass industry. The Architects’ Educational Forum, organized by the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal magazine, took place March 17, and provided attendees a chance to earn continuing education credits while also enhancing their knowledge of glass. The event was sponsored by Edgetech I.G., YKK AP, J.E. Berkowitz, the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and MTH Industries.

The forum began with GANA’s presentation on coated glass, which was presented by Bill Zientarski on behalf of GANA. He explained that coatings help act as optical filters, can change the characteristics of glass and can block certain wavelengths, modify aesthetics and thermal performance.

“Different coating types include reflective solar, solar control low-E and a hybrid of reflective solar and solar control,” said Zientarski.

The presentation also covered ways that coatings can be applied, which include the pyrolytic process (in which the coating is fired onto the glass during the manufacturing process) as well as sputter coating, which is an off-line process.

Tom Minnon with YKK AP gave the presentation “Sustainable Glazing and the LEED® Green Building Rating System.”

The presentation covered the different LEED rating system categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design and regional priority.

There are a number of ways, Minnon explained, that glass and glazing systems can help a project earn LEED points. Sunshades, for example, might help a project earn points in the on-site renewable energy category. Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) also fall within this category. Minnon used his own home as an example, having just added BIPV panels last year.

“The meter on my house is running backwards, right now,” said Minnon of the installation.

The final presentation was “How Structural Silicone Spacers Contribute to Sustainable Window Design,” given by Joe Erb of Edgetech I.G.

“The glass is not the only component when it comes to net zero,” said Erb. “Any one component can bring down the sustainability of the design.”

So where does the spacer system fit into all of this? One area is the [LEED] indoor atmosphere category. Erb explained that the spacer can help improve overall thermal efficiencies.

Over the years the concept of warm-edge technology has evolved greatly, he noted, and while flexible spacers are now available, Erb said they still must maintain the same durability as aluminum spacers. In fact, he said that as of July 1, 2010, ENERGY STAR® windows will be required to have passed a durability test.

Architects attending the forum agreed that the event was a worthwhile experience.

“I definitely learned quite a bit about coatings for glass and I loved the second session, particularly when our speaker showed us slides of his own home with solar panels on them,” says Kaya Doyle, AIA, Wellness Advocacy in the Built Environment in Lake Zurich, Ill. “The venue was easy to find and very accommodating. [The experience] was totally worth my time.”

Don’t miss the March-April issue of the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal, which will include a more detailed look at the recent Architects’ Educational Forum.