Daylighting, Energy-Efficiency and Dynamic Glazing Share Limelight at Greenbuild

By Megan Headley

A number of innovative glass options greeted attendees at U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) first international Greenbuild in the Metro Toronto Convention Center, which opened Tuesday night.

Last year  the Schott booth focused primarily on the Cradle-to-Cradle certified Pyran Platinum fire-rated product, said Karen Wegert. This year, the company aimed to broaden its approach because it received so many questions about the product and how it fit into the “green” criteria, Wegert explained. The booth features the fire-rated glass once again, as well as a sampling that includes glass for fireplaces, the Okalux IG product and a photovoltaic panel representative of their work in that area.

Other manufacturers are keeping their message tightly honed.

“Ultimately the big thing is daylighting and energy efficiency,” said Pilkington’s Mike Krasula, although, he added that aesthetics are playing more of a role in marketing green. To that end the company’s brand new Eclipse Gold line, which features a rich gold hue, was on display along with its other offerings.

Discussions on glare remain a big education point, Krasula said. He and colleague Rick Herlinger noticed when driving through Toronto that many of the lovely glass-clad buildings near the convention center had their blinds drawn.

On that note, Herlinger said that there has been increasing interest in active glazing. Pilkington provides materials to fabricators to make dynamic glazing, and is part of the list  of primary manufacturers promoting dynamic glazing, Krasula said. In a more “active” sense, Pilkington has been active in its work on touchscreen technology, applying electrical coatings to that range of products, he added.

A number of window film companies are also at Greenbuild to offer information on “greening” windows after installation.

“We’re trying to sell energy conservation,” said Rob Heber of Solutia Performance Films.

To that end, the company is drawing attendees in its booth to see – rather, feel – for themselves how its EnergLogic Series of films can block heat. As Heber explained, the product is able to upgrade a single-pane window to the performance of a double-pane window.

Solar Gard, meanwhile, is focusing on energy retrofits. The company’s Sentinel series includes ten films that can be applied to the exterior of a window. Lawrence Constantin explained that this product is really geared toward those areas that are difficult to apply from the inside, such as skylights. It’s an immediate solution for “greening” a building, Constantin pointed out.

Solar Gard is one example of a company that is blurring the lines between film suppliers and glass suppliers; as of October 3, Saint Gobain had finalized its acquisition  of the film company.

Pleotint is another such company. The supplier of the sunlight-responsive film, that when applied to glass creates a dynamic glazing product, has a booth at the show. Fred Millet is demonstrating to attendees how the product reacts to heat, but, as he pointed out, he’s not the only one. “Southwall’s  displaying our product, PPG  is displaying our product, so we’re able to say it’s not just us – it’s an industry-wide thing.” Both companies have recently announced partnerships with Pleotint.

While these companies are examples of how partnerships can help companies grow their offerings, most of the exhibitors are here on the lookout to partner with more designers to grow the use of glass in green buildings.

Greenbuild runs through tomorrow.