Heifer International headquarters

In February 2006, Heifer International opened its glass-clad headquarters building in Little Rock, Ark. The five-story, 94,000-square-foot building was named one of the top 10 green projects by the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C., in large part because of its passive energy savings.

The building’s orientation, on an east-west axis, and high-performing transparent facades maximize natural daylighting, allowing sunlight to penetrate almost entirely through the narrow structure, greatly reducing need for electrical lighting.

“The … innovative integration of building design and interior and exterior systems was a reason this project was chosen,” says Reese Rowland, project designer and principal at Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects Ltd. in Little Rock. The green design puts the project in the running to earn Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification, the top rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, he says.

Guardian Industries of Auburn Hills, Mich., supplied the exterior glass with its SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 low-emissivity coating. The high-performance glass provides a high 68 percent visible light transmission to allow daylighting, along with a U-value of .29 and a solar heat gain coefficient of .38 that improves the façade’s thermal properties.

Sunshades, light boxes and interior glazing improve building performance even more, says Newton Little, president and owner of Ace Glass in Little Rock. Ace Glass fabricated the aluminum systems and performed the installation.

“The architect used a lot of Kawneer 450 systems and sliders in the interior with panels and glass to allow the light into the interior of the building,” Little says. “The upper large horizontal light boxes bounce light off the tops to illuminate the ceilings and rooms.”

Custom aluminum vertical shades block the east and west sun, while the deep overhangs shade from the hot midday sun, Little says.

In addition to energy-saving measures in the glass and systems, the project also earned LEED points for the close proximity of its system fabricator. The Ace Glass fabrication facility sits less than 100 yards from the headquarter site, Little says.

Kawneer North America, Norcross, Ga., supplied the aluminum for the framing and sunshade systems; Petersen Aluminum Co., of Elk Grove Village, Ill., supplied the corrugated aluminum for the façade.

Wholesale Glass Distributors of Memphis fabricated the glass.