05/06/2002

Expect the Unexpected

The Future of Glazing Technology

 

Running Green

Recycling is a way of life at Chicago-based Republic Windows & Doors (www.republicwindows.com), from plant design to operations. According to Republic’s Director of Manufacturing Kevin Heylin, “Since moving to our new facility four years ago, we have reduced our waste by nearly 75 percent, while increasing our window production by 40 percent. Nearly 99 percent of all materials brought into Republic leave as finished product or are recycled.”

Republic regularly uses and recycles vinyl, aluminum, steel, glass, and paper. In the year 2001, the company recycled 1 million pounds of vinyl, which translated to approximately 77 truckloads – or 64,000 cubic feet – of waste that didn’t go into a landfill.

By Linda K. Monroe

Chicago-based Republic Windows & Doors stands out as a company whose innovations reach beyond its product development and into the company’s philosophy and day-to-day operations.

For example, the front entry of Republic’s award-winning manufacturing facility (pictured) is constructed using 10,000 square feet of Heat Mirror™ glass. Heat Mirror is a clear, silver-coated polyester film suspended between panes of glass for dramatically improved insulation performance. Had the company not used Heat Mirror, a larger HVAC system would have been required to keep the building comfortable in the summer heat or winter cold. In fact, all windows in Republic’s 375,000-square-foot facility were installed with either Heat Mirror or LoE2 glass.

What’s unique about Republic is that it offers three different levels of Heat Mirror glass, including its trademarked SmaRt-10®. Says Jon Neely, director of Technical Services at Republic, “SmaRt-10 has one of the highest R-values in the industry and performs up to 250-percent better than standard Low-E. We’ve taken the position that if we’re going to offer Heat Mirror, let’s do so at the highest quality and with a competitive price attached.” In addition to the energy savings, SmaRt-10 reduces condensation 20-percent better and reduces noise transmission 25-percent better than standard Low-E.

Beyond refining the manufacturing processes and re-engineering designs to continually improve its energy-efficient products, Republic is also setting its sights on technology for the future. Neely and his Republic colleagues just returned from Fensterbau, the annual European window show, and he gives Buildings’ readers a peek at what’s coming online in the near term.

“The biggest thing out there, from a commercial buildings perspective, is ‘smart glass,’” he says. “Although the technology has been around a while, it’s never been perfected.” Neely notes that smart glass incorporates a coating impregnated into the glass surface, which, when an electrical charge is added, will change its molecular structure from clear to opaque or to a tint in between – and back. “Smart glass has a tremendous opportunity in all-glass buildings, retail storefronts, etc.,” notes Neely, adding that the earlier technology didn’t return the glass to its normal state easily or effectively. He anticipates it will be another year before smart glass becomes readily available, due, in part, to the customization necessary for each unique installation and the proper electrical charge and associated sensors.

Neely adds that the exhibition continued to showcase the broad array of colored glass (especially enticing to the design community), as well as a wide variety of broadly defined self-cleaning glass – running the gamut from a coating that bonds to the surface of an after-insulated product to make the glass easier to clean, to an impregnated glass whose photocatalytic reaction when hit by light actually loosens the bond between dirt and a glass surface.

Security laminates and films were also high on attendees’ need-to-see lists, but Neely adds a caveat of caution. “In standard American window designs, the glass far exceeds the performance values of the window design itself,” he explains. “For a real evolution to occur, customers will need to demand a higher security product – one that will include bigger profiles, heavier extrusions, different composite materials, and more substantial and robust hardware systems. Frankly, we hope it goes that way.”

Linda K. Monroe (linda.monroe@buildings.com) is editorial director at Buildings magazine.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Yaskawa drives offer quality performance for air handlers and cooling towers on the roof to secondary chilled water pumps in the basement

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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