Companies from glass industry gather at Greenbuild

By Katy Devlin
November 16, 2009
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : GREEN, MEETINGS AND EVENTS

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Of the more than 1,000 exhibitors at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Nov. 11-13, about 35 companies were in the glass products business and almost 60 in the door, window or skylight business, according to the conference catalog. Officials from exhibiting glass industry companies said they came to the show, many for the first time, to show off new high-performance products, to increase company visibility and, most importantly, to prove that the glass and glazing industry has a critical place in the green building market.

“The glass and glazing industry’s capabilities in green building are grossly underestimated by the greater green building community,” said Eddie Bugg, director of sustainable solutions, Kawneer Co., Norcross, Ga. “However, we have products that make such an enormous impact on building performance, and we have a critical role in green building.” Kawneer has exhibited at Greenbuild since the first expo took place in 2002 in Austin, Texas.

Mike Turner, vice president of marketing, YKK AP, Austell, Ga., agreed. “The commercial glazing industry has taken a bad rap for energy performance,” he said. “We’re proving that wrong.” Demonstrating the high-performance abilities of commercial glazing, YKK showed products from its enerGfacade line, launching its YOW 350 XT window that can achieve a U-value of 0.35 with standard glass products.

The challenge for glass companies isn’t developing high-performance technologies, but rather developing cost-effective solutions for high-performance products, said Oliver Stepe, senior vice president, YKK AP.

The industry’s ability to go green was seen clearly on the show floor through the product and service introductions from glass and glazing companies.

Tubelite, Walker, Mich., launched its energy efficiency branding during the show and announced that as of Dec. 1, 100 percent of its extrusions will be made from recycled content. “The introduction of our acid-etch anodize allowed us to do this,” said Ken Werbowy, president. “The way we see it, [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] is just part of sustainable design. Using recycled materials is also very important.”

Wausau Window & Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis., showed its Clear Story system, an existing product that the company re-launched with a new name. “These products have been around a long time, but there is a lot of interest today, with everything green going on, and that technology is expanding,” said Merle Glaser, regional manager.

Arch Aluminum & Glass, Tamarac, Fla., showed its building integrated photovoltaic products. Arch’s BIPV is a colored, vertical strip system. “Other solar panels are dark. These are vertical vision panels,” said Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch. “We are going after aesthetics, and the response has been awesome. … With these new LEED requirements, glass is taking the heat. We’re making glass work,” he said.

Edgetech I.G., Cambridge, Ohio, displayed its TriSeal spacer and SustainaBlocks. “There is a lot of interest in triple-pane insulating glass units, in which we’re featuring our SustainaBlocks,” said Joe Erb, product manager. “Why skimp on the price of a setting block when you can get a product that will last much longer.” Edgetech also demonstrated how TriSeal Super Spacer, it’s warm-edge commercial spacer, can sustain extreme pressure and wind load situations.

RavenBrick, Denver, debuted a smart-window technology, RavenWindow, the company’s thermochromic switchable window that automatically tints when the glass temperature rises. “When the glass gets hot, the window enters a tinted state without wires or other controls,” said Alex Burney, CEO.

Officials from Viracon, Owatonna, Minn., demonstrated the company’s new Product Selection Tool. The tool, targeted at architects, allows users to compare performance data between a set of Viracon products and get performance information on annual energy, peak demand, carbon emissions, daylight, glare and thermal comfort.

“This is a robust engine for looking just at the glass,” said Paul LaBerge, green building strategy manager for Viracon’s parent company, Apogee, Minneapolis. “We wanted to give architects a good set of numbers of different types of glass so that they know what they are selecting and they can find out the implications of their choices.”

In addition to showing off new items, company officials said exhibiting on the show floor provides a critical opportunity to increase visibility and meet with current and future customers.

Sage Electrochromics Inc., Faribault, Minn., has exhibited at Greenbuild for several years, showing its electronically tintable SageGlass. The company’s continued presence, and growing role in the industry has helped it gain recognition from show attendees, said Jeremy Kaeding, regional sales manager.

“Architects love new things but don’t want to be first,” Kaeding said. “They don’t want to leverage their reputation on something so new. But now they see the investment we’re making, see that we’re still here, that the same employees are still here, we’re getting bigger, and they’re more at ease.”

Bob Price, director of sales for JE Berkowitz LP, Pedricktown, N.J., said this was the company’s fourth year exhibiting at Greenbuild. “This is a good show for leads with national accounts, and there are a lot of architects,” he said. Of particular interest among this year’s attendees are the company’s high-performance glass products and its SentryGlas Expressions capabilities.

April Keene, sales support manager for NanaWall, said the Mill Valley, Calif-based company has long been a part of green building, and that’s why they exhibit. “Our business in Germany was green before we knew what green was,” she said.

Technoform exhibited at the show for the first time to help gain name recognition and to educate customers. “There are architects, construction management companies, owners here, and some know about us and some don’t,” said Chad Ricker, marketing team. “They want to get more information. … It’s so important to have our name out there.”

Acurlite Structural Skylights Inc., Berwick, Pa., also was a first-time exhibitor. Matt Snyder, sales and marketing assistant manager, said the company is looking to move West and expand territories. “We’re looking to find new representatives and to see what leads we can get out of the show,” he said. “Greenbuild is so large. We couldn’t pass it up.”

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