Great Glazing: General Services Administration Headquarters

The basics: The General Services Administration, the federal government’s largest real estate manager, renovated its Washington, D.C. headquarters as part of its Smart Building Initiative to incorporate new sustainable technologies in some of the government’s most energy intensive buildings. Part of the historic building's large open courtyard now features a seven-story addition, including a six-story south facing atrium with a dynamic glass skylight. The atrium connects two of the three main wings of the GSA building and serves as a public gathering space and reception area, making occupant comfort another key design consideration for the project. GSA is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification for the new atrium. 

The players: Architect, Shalom Baranes Associates; general contractor, Whiting-Turner and Walsh Group Joint Venture; dynamic glass supplier, SAGE Electrochromics; glass manufacturers, PPG Industries, SCHOTT; skylight manufacturer and installer, Super Sky Products; curtain wall glass fabricator/glazing systems supplier, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope; curtain wall contract glazier, GPR Inc.

The glass and systems: Architects chose SageGlass for the 2,070-square-foot atrium skylight. The dynamic glass provides automatic sensor controls for maintaining a comfortable level of sunlight throughout the day, and can tint or clear with the touch of a button or in concert with an automated building management system. In addition to the 96 Sage electrochromic insulating glass units, the atrium skylight includes 16 Schott Solar 1-15/16-inch insulating clear laminated photovoltaic glazing panels, shop fabricated and unitized by SuperSky. The curtain wall glazing, fabricated and unitized by Oldcastle, is comprised of 1-3/16-inch clear argon-filled laminated PPG Solarban 70XL low-emissivity glass.