Architects’ Forum Attendees Gain Glass Knowledge During 2013 Event

Despite ongoing snow storms, nearly 100 architects traveled to Hauppauge (Long Island), N.Y., on March 7 to further their knowledge of glass products. They attended the Architects’ Forum 2013, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Long Island at Wind Watch Hotel & Golf Club. The day-long event, organized by Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal magazine, included six continuing education courses, a table top exhibition, lunch and admittance into the Glass Expo Northeast trade show, which took place concurrently. Event sponsors included Fenzi North America, Guardian Industries, J.E. Berkowitz L.P., Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, SAFTI First and YKK AP. Lunch was sponsored by Quanex Building Products. The courses were all accredited by the American Institute of Architects and provided attendees with not only learning units, but also a number of health, safety and welfare credits.

John Krawjewski, national architectural account manager, from J.E. Berkowitz opened the program with his presentation on glass fabrication and design issues. He explained that glass is a major design component in architecture, and explained that understanding glass issues can help lead to fewer design changes and improved cost value, among other benefits. Some of the design issues her covered included aesthetics, LEED, optical distortion, safety and more.

Nearly 100 attendees took part in Architects' Forum 2013.
Nearly 100 attendees took part in Architects’ Forum 2013.

Speaking of LEED, he explained this is a topic about which the industry continues to hear more.

“I’m impressed that architects are going beyond just the standards,” Krawjewski said of some designs he’s seen.

David Warden, brand manager for YKK AP for YKK AP, next presented “Ensuring Compliance of Fenestration with Today’s Energy Code and Green Standards.” He told attendees that one of the biggest changes of late in terms of the codes has been decreasing the window-to-wall ratio. So, what is the fenestration industry doing to try and make for a better product? He said this has come in the way of extra thermally enhanced products that will help meet the new prescriptive codes.

“Adding a thermal break will help improve the thermal performance,” he explained.

Speaking of the evolution of glass, Leigh Anne Mays, architectural design manager with Guardian, told attendees that glass is one of the oldest fabricated materials.

“It really did start with the lightening strikes,” she said, explaining that the type of glass used for construction today is basically soda lime glass, though there are other types of glass for other industries.

She explained that glass is basically liquidized sand, among other materials: soda ash, salt cake, dolomite, rouge/iron oxide and cullet (broken glass). Mays also gave an overview of float glass production.

“Float plants are roughly a million square feet under roof,” she said. Mays explained that glass is produced over a tin bath. Why tin? “Because the glass will not mix with tin but just floats across the top,” she said. “We can control the thickness by the flow of liquids that move out on that tin bath.”

Joe Effertz, director of architectural development for Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, presented Blast Mitigation – Understanding the Environment, Protection Level and Design. He told attendees that the connections must actually be designed to twice the capacity of glass.

“The glass must break first,” said Effertz.

He also talked some about testing and showed videos to illustrate various blast tests. He explained that full scale arena tests are typically done for the large, monumental jobs as they can be expensive. For smaller projects, a static approach is fine, he said. Also, Effertz noted that for some large, complex projects you can take existing blast reports and add project-specific analysis, taking an energy absorption approach, utilizing laws of physics, the goal being to control the collapse—a concept from the windshield testing in the automotive industry. He explained it’s the same concept in designing the window and window wall; with laminated glass it’s the first line of defense: if it breaks it is still retained in the opening.”

Paul Chackery, Fenzi North America product manager, next talked about “Selecting Insulating Glass Sealants for Durability and Energy Efficiency.” The course provided an overview of the characteristics insulating glass sealants must provide to ensure long-term thermal performance, structural durability and longevity of insulating glass units.

“You must balance three principles: structure, beauty and practicality,” Chackery said. “Windows add beauty and structure to a building.” He said architects typically specify on thermal performance, however, the longevity of the insulating unit depends on the materials used to create it. “Insulating glass is used to save energy and provide natural light, views, etc.”

He explained that the use of aluminum spacers can create a thermal bridge and that warm edge spacers are an option for improving the thermal properties. Likewise, gases used in the IG, such as argon and krypton, increase if unit’s thermal performance. Likewise, Chackery said primary IG sealants provide a high level of moisture vapor migration resistance, help control and minimize gas and solvent migration into the sealed space, and act as a barrier to the permeation of inert gases when gases are used in the sealed space of the IG unit. Secondary IG sealants, he explained, must perform as a gas and moisture barrier, and provide chemical fog resistance and structural bonding of the total unit.

Tim Nass, vice president of national sales for SAFTI First, was the final day’s speaker with his presentation, “Code Considerations in Fire Rated Glass.” One message he stressed was the differences in fire resistive and fire protective products. Fire protective glass is designed to compartmentalize smoke and flames and is subject to application, area and size limitations under the IBC. Fire protective glass is typically used in doors and openings up to 45 minutes and cannot exceed 25 percent of the total wall area because it does not block radiant heat transmission. On the other hand, Fire resistive glass is not limited in application or size. This type of FRG compartmentalizes smoke and flames, and blocks the transmission of dangerous levels of radiant heat through the glazing. As a result, it can be used in wall and door applications 60 minutes and above without the size limitations that apply to fire protective glass.

Nass also explained that products used in interior applications must also comply with CPSC safety standards. Likewise, fire-rated products are also being used increasingly in exterior applications, often because of the proximity of other buildings, property lines, etc.

As far as designing with fire-rated materials, Nass explained the idea is to make the products blend in with the rest of the design. These products can also be combined with other performance and aesthetic products for hurricane, ballistic, decorative and various other applications.

To learn more about Architects’ Forum 2013, look to the March/April issue of the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal magazine as well as next week’s e-newsletter.