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Global changes in construction: Kalwall's insights from BAU

Global changes in construction: Kalwall's insights from BAU

What happens when you bring together 250,000 people from around the world for six days in Munich, Germany?

  • Ideas are exchanged.
  • Best practices are shared.
  • Deeper levels of understanding are reached.

That was, in a nutshell, BAU 2017, the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems with the 2,210 exhibitors from 45 countries. More than 80,000 people had, like us, travelled overseas.

From our vantage point at the Kalwall® exhibit – our first time exhibiting at BAU (German for `construction’) – we could see how much the world beyond the borders of the United States is changing and this was a chance to see how architects, owners, contractors and other business people are responding to those changes.

Here are three key takeaways from BAU 2017 affecting daylighting and fenestration globally.

1. Safety and security is no longer just about airports and government buildings

The safety, security and privacy of guests at hotels, students at schools and employees at banks and high finance institutions are becoming harder to ensure. While airport administrators and government facilities have been working with Kalwall for years to find solutions to similar problems, it was interesting to see the volume of private business owners looking for similar answers.Kalwall’s specialty systems meet UFC 4-010-01 blast requirements and can, for example, provide an extra level of safety for guests in a hotel lobby from a car bombing in the street outside. The translucent panels also afford more privacy while providing museum-quality daylighting™ for interior spaces.

2. Canopies need to be rugged and resistant to pollution

Pollution and heat in certain regions of the world take their toll on canopies meant to provide shelter and shade, leaving architects and construction managers searching for alternatives to less durable polycarbonates.The ruggedness and capacity to resist fading in intense heat, along with its ability keep clean where pollution is a concern made Kalwall canopies an appealing option to business people in desert climates as well as industrial cities.

3. Energy is expensive and daylighting solutions are more important than ever

Technology was a dominant part of the conversation at BAU and a major reason why the world is seeking better ways to produce and store energy. I think my grandfather, Kalwall founder Robert R. Keller, would have been smiling. After all, energy efficiency was one of the reasons he developed his translucent sandwich panel in 1955.

Our technology, with its best in industry thermal and solar heat gain performance, was a conversation starter for business people concerned with the high cost of energy and the ways to be efficient. Renovations, in particular, present cladders the challenge of finding energy efficient solutions.

BAU 2017 was an opportunity to expose more people globally to the benefits of Kalwall. They came looking for the latest advancements, but some technology stands the test of time. This was re-affirmation of a technology we developed 62 years ago.

Company: Kalwall Corporation

Of: Amelia Keller


Tags: Building | Construction | Design | Energy | Lighting | Safety | Security


Easily Earn AIA Learning Units | EXTECH, Inc.

Easily Earn AIA Learning Units | EXTECH, Inc.

Sign-up for a Toolkit to take EXTECH's registered CES course. Earn 1 LU and 1 HSW by completing. The Toolkit also lets you track and save downloads, easily order samples, and delivers a collection of tools from around the web in your sidebar.

Innovative Daylighting Solutions

Harness the power of natural light
EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc. is an award-winning manufacturer and designer of wall, window, skylight, canopy, and custom façade systems. We deliver solutions for a variety of industries and applications, and are committed to collaboration, innovation, and exceptional engineering.

Company: EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc.


Tags: Energy | Lighting | Wall Panels


Sun Control Sunshades

Aluminum Airfoil Blade Sunshade, Eggcrate Blade Sunshade, Louver Blade Sunshade, Rectangular Tube Blade Sunshade
Aluminum Airfoil Blade Sunshade, Eggcrate Blade Sunshade, Louver Blade Sunshade, Rectangular Tube Blade Sunshade

Ruskin Sunshades offer energy savings by reducing solar heat gained through glazing. With a wide variety of available blade styles and configurations, they also provide aesthetic appeal to the building exterior.

Ruskin Sunshade models include airfoil, louver, tube and eggcrate blade styles. Custom Sunshade designs are also available. Ruskin Sunshades are constructed of extruded and/or formed aluminum components for reduced weight and excellent corrosion resistance. All models are available with a variety of Kynar or Anodize finishes.

Company: Ruskin

Product: Louvers


Tags: Energy | Entrances | Exterior Design | LEED Certification | Windows


Architects empowered to drive positive change at SXSW Eco

William McDonough, FAIA, gave a keynote at the 2016 SXSW Eco conference that emphasized the need for urban revolution. Image credits: Steve Rogers.
William McDonough, FAIA, gave a keynote at the 2016 SXSW Eco conference that emphasized the need for urban revolution. Image credits: Steve Rogers.

Carbon-positive cities, biophilia, and data-centric decisions define the next American city that architects can help create

In discussing solar orchards, biophilic cities, and illustrative mapping of everything from water surges to public protests, architects at the 2016 SXSW Eco conference brought the audience a dynamic voice for change. In its fourth year, the sister conference to the larger South by Southwest festival has grown into a three-day convergence of all things driving global change under the umbrella of design, technology, and business. Its basic premise is a forum for ideation and connection across industries. Participants arrive from around the globe, united by aspirations to establish new ways of dealing with health, food, water, climate change, clean air, energy, and development.

“Architects provide a fundamental voice in this conference,” notes SXSW executive producer Morgan Catalina. “We are talking about environmental and social change. It is a realm that architects can shape, change, and influence through design.” In fact, design thinking and problem-solving were a priority in much of the conference discussions. Topics ranged from idea-driven calls to action to explanations of developing software tools. Creative solutions involving cross- and multi-disciplinary teams were billed as the most effective ways to address many of the world’s pressing problems. 

Time for a (sustainability) revolution

In his keynote, William McDonough, FAIA, of William McDonough + Partners, called for a revolution as he emphasized the need for carbon-positive cities and work toward climate change reversal. A visionary for more than 40 years, McDonough has been a pioneer in sustainability. He co-created the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, and all his work promotes a complete understanding of material health in the design process coupled with built-in renewable energy and social fairness. 

He is currently working on concepts for a Chinese city that can feed and power itself. In Mongolia, McDonough’s “solar orchards” allow industry and agriculture to live in the same place. Solar collectors are elevated six feet, allowing for grazing animals to occupy the same land. “This is beautiful … grasses come back by themselves,” stressed McDonough. His is a call for a new language to deal with carbon that promotes constant improvement and a reevaluation of the current framework from which architects and designers evaluate their impacts on the environment and the future of human health.

Connections to nature

Likewise, Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, chief executive officer of the International Living Future Institute, noted that architects should change the way they are designing, and recognize that “people are a part of nature, not separate from it.” As part of the workshop on biophilic cities, she presented her research related to biophilic design emphasizing the reconnection of humans and the natural world. Biophilic cities prioritize the integration of green and blue ways throughout urban zones, urban farming initiatives to support food deserts, and integration of wildlife preservation in planning efforts, among others.

“We are talking about environmental and social change. It is a realm that architects can shape, change, and influence through design.” - SXSW executive producer Morgan Catalina

Sturgeon summarized her argument for new design thinking: “Most of architecture is being created with no connection to place, climate, geography, or regional context. With increasing urbanization, and the fact that we spend 90 percent of our time inside, our fundamental connection with nature is disappearing. At the same time, the Paris climate agreement requires that buildings radically reduce their energy use, past the incremental efficiencies that we have been achieving. If we don’t design our buildings to adapt to our climate, we will not get there. I believe this is an urgent issue for the creation of our buildings. Architects must change the way that they design, and we must train our young architects to have the skills and abilities to design in this way.”

Tools to further the profession

Going beyond just understanding a building’s site was part of the inspiration for Perkins+Will associate principal Leigh Christy to develop Hazel, a software tool for optimizing planning for stormwater infiltration, collection, and reuse. Christy sees part of her role as an architect is to engage in larger questions about the future of the environment. “Hazel is a tool for architects and planners,” she said. “The data help analyze cost, identify policy needs, streamline water detention practices, reduce carbon emissions, improve pedestrian thermal comfort, and create new habitats for wildlife.”

Ultimately, the platform provides data fundamental for project site selection. After being awarded a grant from the AIA College of Fellows Latrobe Prize, Hazel was developed collaboratively by the Arid Lands Institute of Woodbury University, Perkins+Will, the Nature Conservancy, and the City of Los Angeles. The design team is still refining Hazel. Christy notes that after presenting Hazel to architects and city planners, the response from the multidisciplinary audience was refreshing. “It was the first time I had someone come up to me and ask if I needed help coding,” she said. 

Another software tool called SPEA (Spatial Practice as Evidence and Advocacy) was developed by a landscape architect–led team. “[We] are of course influenced by the architectural designers that we work with,” said McKenna Cole, research associate at SITU Studio. SPEA visualizes complex spatial narratives like the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, often using three-dimensional renderings.

“Developing accurate 3-D models allows us to understand events spatially, enabling us to establish known protester and police locations that draws from citizen-captured videos,” explained Cole. The usual outlets for dissemination of the data collected and compiled with SPEA are in the courtroom, through specific publication, or in advocacy reports. SPEA received an honorary mention in the Equity + Inclusion category of the Place by Design competition at the conference.

If this most recent SXSW Eco was an illustration of the prominent role architects can play both as visionaries and as team players working to effect change, the conference also clearly demonstrated that opportunities abound and that people value design thinking. As William McDonough noted, “I’m an architect, and an architect’s job … is to change the way we see, then we rearrange the furniture, and then we build.”

Company: AIA (American Institute of Architects)

Of: Catherine Gavin


Tags: Building | Design | Energy | Sustainability


Major announces new Auburn® skylight option

Major Industries, in conjunction with Greenbuild 2016, announced the release of a new line of Auburn® single slope skylights. These new high-performance glass skylights feature thermal strut technology for enhanced thermal performance, including better condensation resistance. These new Auburn® skylights are available in a variety of custom sizes and configurations, with custom finish options and more, and will also soon be available to purchase online at in select standard sizes.

Major announces new Auburn® skylight option

Easy to install high performance glass skylights

Auburn® glass single slope skylights have always been a dependable, low-maintenance daylighting solution, but Major Industries has enhanced these versatile skylights with thermal strut technology for enhanced thermal performance and improved condensation resistance. Now you can get the best of both worlds - energy-saving daylighting and a glass skylight with performance designed to handle any environment.

Auburn® self-flashing single slope skylights are available with a variety of glass configurations and numerous finish color options from anodized to Kynar®.

Features & benefits

  • THERMAL STRUT TECHNOLOGY provides improved thermal performance and condensation resistance
  • DESIGNED for smaller openings up to 25 square feet
  • TESTED to ASTM E283/330/331 standards
  • .27 - .29 center of glass u-factor with SHGC of .22-.39 (varies with glazing selection - check with Major for additional options)
  • PRE-ASSEMBLED options available for quicker lead times and simple installation

Company: Major Industries Inc.

Product: Auburn® Quick Ship™ Single Slope Glass Skylights


Tags: Design | Energy | Windows


Make your buildings look good with uniquely designed polycarbonate products for building exteriors

Translucent Walls, Skylights, Canopies, Windows, Mortarless glass block, Interiors, Custom Facades, Porcelain Systems
Translucent Walls, Skylights, Canopies, Windows, Mortarless glass block, Interiors, Custom Facades, Porcelain Systems

Cellular Polycarbonate Specialists

EXTECH specializes in the use of cellular polycarbonate for its host of benefits including daylighting, energy savings, superior impact resistance and insulation properties.

We provide a variety of translucent wall and interior panels, windows, skylights, and canopies for industrial and commercial clients. We also provide mortarless glass block systems and porcelain walls for use in outdoor rain/windscreens or interior applications, both of these products are extremely resistant to vandalism.

All of our products are designed for ease of installation and maintenance, including 10 year manufacturer warranties. Our group of dedicated staff who "like to build things" are also happy to provide custom facade work based on over 35 years of award-winning engineering excellence.

Our Product Lines

  • Polycarbonate walls
  • Polycarbonate windows and skylights for industrial or architectural use. Our skylights are capable of incomparable spans, without leaks.
  • Mortarless glass block and porcelain walls, perfect for windscreens, transit stations/shelters
  • Custom facades and building envelope

We make you AND your buildings look good
with our uniquely designed polycarbonate products for building exteriors

The Many Uses and Benefits of Cellular Polycarbonate

  • Diffused daylighting saves on energy costs, prevents glare and provides optimum visibility
  • High Levels of Impact Resistance
  • Lightweight material demands less structural support and requires less energy to operate when used as doors
  • Highly insulating with values up to U-.25 (R-4) for 40 mm thick panels
  • 100% Recyclable panels and aluminum framing is LEED Credit friendly
  • Panels can be cold formed to a radius, unlike glass
  • Easy maintenance and cleaning
  • 10 Year Manufacturer Warranties
  • The most advanced aluminum perimeter framing systems in the industry in a wide range of finishes
  • Air/water/structural testing

Company: EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc.


Tags: Building | Design | Energy | Insulation | Lighting | Wall Panels


Delray LED Circles: Uno • Dos • Cylindro I/II/III

Delray LED Circles: Uno • Dos • Cylindro I/II/III

A variety of sizes and mount styles make Delray Circles a versatile, flexible choice for all applications and architetural styles. All feature the latest, best quality LEDs by Nichia, which employs a rigorous quality- controlled binning process to ensure consistent color temperature match across multiple fixtures. Delray’s LED boards are built to operate well below the maximum current for which they’re designed, increasing product life beyond the even the highest expectations.


Uno circles feature a minimalist 1-inch extruded aluminum housing profile, with a proprietary acrylic lens that provides broad, even illumination. Available in four sizes, with surface or remote, central or separate, driver mount options. Uno is offered with single-color red or blue LEDs, RGB with DMX512 interface, or with white 90 CRI Nichia LED chips, which are available in 3000º, 3500º, and 4000º Kelvin color temperatures.


Dos utilizes the same width extrusion as Uno, but with a higher 2-inch profile, to accommodate both downlight and uplight components. Dos circles are offered with white 90 CRI Nichia LED chips, available in 3000º, 3500º, and 4000º Kelvin color temperatures. They may also be ordered with single-color red or blue LEDs or RGB with DMX512 interface for the uplight or downlight. The uplight may be switched and/or dimmed independantly from the downlight. Like Uno, Dos is also available in four sizes, with surface or remote, central or separate, driver mount options.

Cylindro I

With a diameter of 24 inches, Cylindro 650’s smooth, round anodized aluminum outer shell provides contrast for the inner opal acrylic diffuser, which produces soft, even up and down light. This Cylindro is available with single-color red or blue LEDs, RGB with DMX512 interface, or with white 90 CRI Nichia LED chips, which are available in 3000º, 3500º, and 4000º Kelvin color temperatures.

Cylindro II

Cylindro II circles feature an extruded aluminum outer housing, with an inner acrylic lens that provides broad, even illumination. Fixtures are available in three sizes, with surface or remote, central or separate, driver mount options. Cylindro II is available with single-color red or blue LEDs, RGB with DMX512 interface, or with white 90 CRI Nichia LED chips, which are available in 3000º, 3500º, and 4000º Kelvin color temperatures.

Cylindro III

Cylindro III circles feature an extruded aluminum inner housing, with an outer acrylic lens that provides broad, even illumination. Fixtures are available in three sizes, with surface or remote, central or separate, driver mount options. Cylindro III is available with single-color red or blue LEDs, RGB with DMX512 interface, or with white 90 CRI Nichia LED chips, which are available in 3000º, 3500º, and 4000º Kelvin color temperatures.

For more inspiration please see the pdf brochure or visit

Company: Delray Lighting


Tags: Color | Energy | Interior Design | Lighting


Battic Door Solar Powered Attic Fans

Battic Door Solar Powered Attic Fans

Available in 4 styles - 3 Roof Mount Designs and 1 All Purpose Interior Mount. Professional grade solar powered attic fans use no electricity. Attic Fans are designed to reduce heat build-up in your attic in the summer and remove harmful moisture in the winter.

Year-'Round Benefits!

  • Cools in the Summer: During the summer, the Solar Powered Attic Fan vents the hot air out of your attic and keeps it closer to the temperature outside. Your air conditioner won't have to run so long to cool the inside of your home.

  • Prevents mold and mildew in the winter: In the winter, warm moist air rises from the inside of your home and collides with the cold underside of the roof. The Solar Powered Attic Fan provides the air circulation that prevents the moist air from condensing on the surface. Keeping your attic drier.

  • Fans include a Thermal Switch. The thermal switch allows the fan to run when the temperature reaches 80 degrees and shuts the fan off when the temperature dips below 65 degrees. You can bypass the switch if you prefer the motor to run continuously during the day.

Solar Powered Roof Mount Attic Fans

Good - Ventilates up to 1100 square feet.

Solar power attic fan uses no electricity. 14 inch fan blade. Heavy duty construction. Stands up to high winds, hail, rain, and snow. 10 Watt solar panel. Quite simply the best product you can buy to reduce heat build-up in your attic in the summer and remove harmful moisture in the winter. The solar panel and fan motor have up to 25% more power than other fans, providing much better circulation and improved airflow. The advanced design provides more efficient attic ventilation while using no electricity. One fan alone can ventilate up to 1150 square feet of attic space reducing the energy needed to keep your home cooler in the summer. By running year-round, it can also remove harmful moisture in the winter months keeping your attic space drier, reducing condensation, and the potential for ice daming, mildew and mold. Download Product Brochure

Better - Ventilates up to 1350 square feet.

Professional grade solar power attic fan uses no electricity. 14 inch fan blade. Heavy duty construction. Stands up to high winds, hail, rain, and snow. Commercial grade 10 Watt solar panel. Our Better Solar Attic Fan is designed to reduce heat build-up in your attic in the summer and remove harmful moisture in the winter. It's commercial grade, heavy duty construction provides up to 25% more power than other fans, providing better circulation and improved airflow in your attic space. One fan can ventilate up to 1350 square feet and can lower the attic temperature so your air conditioning won't have to run as long and as hard to cool your home. By running year-round, it can keep your attic space drier by removing moisture in the winter, reducing condensation and preventing the growth of harmful mold and mildew. Download Product Brochure

Best - Ventilates up to 1900 square feet.

New patent pending enhanced design will ventilate up to 1900 square feet of attic space with a single fan. The new, patent pending, Smooth-air Deflector in the shroud of the fan produces a smoother air flow and increases exhaust performance by up to 30% from previous models. This next generation solar powered attic fan is our most powerful and efficient model yet. Commercial grade 15 Watt solar panel. Download Product Brochure

Solar Powered All Purpose Interior Mount Fan

Ventilates up to 1250 square feet. Installs indoors behind an existing static vent and converts vent to a powered vent. All Purpose - install into existing gable end vents, roof static or turbine vents, crawlspace vents, etc. Anywhere you want a powered vent!

Professional grade solar power attic fan uses no electricity. 14 inch fan blade. Heavy duty construction. Commercial grade 10 Watt solar panel mounts on roof, wall, soffit, etc. Stands up to high winds, hail, rain, and snow. Requires no cutting of your roof or tiles. Turbocharge any static or turbine vent. Easy do-it-yourself installation. Vent your attic through a gable or static vent.

Company: Battic Door Energy Conservation Products


Tags: Energy | HVAC | Roof


AIA and Autodesk Introduce New Feature to Automate 2030 Commitment Reporting Data

AIA and Autodesk Introduce New Feature to Automate 2030 Commitment Reporting Data

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announce the release of a new feature – developed in collaboration with Autodesk – that will automate the AIA 2030 Commitment data reporting from energy analysis software directly to the Design Data Exchange (DDx). This collaboration has resulted in an open Automated Program Interface (API) to the DDx, available to any energy modeling software vendor, reducing the duplication of effort using the existing process.

The new automated connection will allow the more than 350 AIA 2030 committed firms to report their project and portfolio performance to the DDx directly from Autodesk Insight 360, a technology addition included in Autodesk Revit and Autodesk FormIt 360 Pro subscriptions. This automated process between Insight 360 and DDx will eliminate the need for manual data entry and eliminates duplication of effort encouraging performance analysis and more frequent reporting throughout the design process instead of annually. The DDx interface is open source with the ability to connect with other energy modeling software providers. Additional vendors are welcome to link up with the DDx system.

Eliminating the overhead of manual reporting not only saves time but it also enables more regular updates so firms can get up-to-the-minute progress on their projects and portfolio. In terms of actually meeting the targets themselves one of the key findings of the 2014 progress report was the critical role that energy modeling plays, and how projects that applied energy modeling were generally higher performing.

For example, of the projects submitted in the 2014 reporting period, nearly 50 percent of the projects where an energy model was created met or came close to achieving the AIA 2030 Commitment goals, whereas 80 percent of non-model projects fell below the 40 percent target. This offering helps to lower the barriers to energy modeling, making it possible to conduct energy modeling on virtually every project, especially from the early stages, but in doing so automatic reporting to DDx is essentially free.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

About Autodesk
Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone—from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists—uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.

Company: AIA (American Institute of Architects)


Tags: Design | Energy | Software


Darlington upgrades good for business in Burlington

Darlington upgrades good for business in Burlington

Perhaps no one is more grateful for the $12.8-billion investment to upgrade Ontario’s Darlington Nuclear Generating station than Justin Parrington.

“Without the refurbishment, I wouldn’t have a job,” said the young marketing sales executive at Burlington’s MarShield, during a roundtable discussion about the nuclear project last Friday.

MarShield makes protective gear for people who work in the nuclear industry from medicine to energy production. It is one of several local companies, and among 60 in the province, to reap the economic benefits of the provincial investment to upgrade the aging power plant.

Plenty of the specialty components, supplies, engineering expertise and research needed for the eight to 10-year long project are provided by local firms such as GE Power, Laker Energy Products, Platecon Projects, Stern Laboratories, Clean Harbours Canada and CTSNA Commissioning & Technical Services.

“The number of companies that will prosper from it are tremendous,” said Keith Hoey, president and CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. The chamber, as well as its provincial counterpart, gathered some of those local vendors together last week to speak with local politicians and the people behind the massive project.

Like Parrington at MarShield, Laker Energy is already experiencing an uptick from the upgrade.

The local company has grown from 20 to 60 staff, thanks to Darlington, said company president Chris Hughes.

“These are high-quality engineering jobs, and we will be up to 75 staff in the next 15 years,” he predicted.

But, as happy as Mark Zimny, president and CEO of Promation Nuclear, is for young people like Parrington who are finding work thanks to the Darlington investment, he’s concerned about the future, especially as Ontario competes with firms in Russia and France, for business in the nuclear sector.

“How will I retain my engineers without new deals to grow the sectors,” he asked. “What’s the long-term plan?”

Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Burlington says the province’s investment in refurbishing Darlington “shows nuclear energy is back in the game.”

She assured Zimny that the province is helping generate a skilled workforce for the industry through its educational policies. McMahon said the post-secondary graduation rate in Ontario is now at 85 per cent and the promise of free post-secondary education to families earning less than $50,000 will eliminate financial barriers for students.

As well as boosting the local economy and labour force, Burlington MP Karina Gould said the investment in nuclear power, of which Darlington supplies 20 per cent for the province’s energy needs, is a low carbon option that is better and cleaner for the environment.

Indeed Roy Martin, who has spent five years preparing for the refurbishment of Darlington as the project director for Ontario Power Generation, said that 97 per cent of the electricity generated by nuclear power is smog free and greenhouse gas free, and costs half as much to produce as other power generators in the province.

“Rebuilding the reactor will give us 30, to 40, to 50 more years of clean, low-cost power generation,” said Martin.

Company: MarShield - a division of The MarsMetal Company

Of: Melanie Cummings Special to Burlington Post


Tags: Energy | Safety


Continuous Insulation (ci) Systems

The world-class building-science experts at Sto continue to lead the way in advancing energy efficiency, durability and aesthetic appeal. Today’s energy codes and regulations reflect many of the design principles embodied in our Continuous Insulation (ci) Systems, and the proven performance of Sto’s next-generation EIFS appeals to designers, contractors and owners alike.

StoTherm® ci Wall Systems (EIFS)

Integrated Wall Systems that deliver the best in performance, sustainability and design flexibility
Sto’s next-generation StoTherm® ci systems integrate the following key elements: continuous insulation (ci), an air/moisture barrier, drainage and a variety of textured finish options to create a superior, sustainable wall cladding. This high-performing, eye-catching system saves energy and stays attractive for years. StoTherm® ci improves indoor comfort and air quality while maintaining maximum curb appeal and lowering overall life-cycle costs.

Key Components of the Sto Continuous Insulation (ci) System
Key Components of the Sto Continuous Insulation (ci) System

System Features

High R-Value
Continuous insulation with high R-values provides significant energy cost savings by eliminating thermal bridging.

Code Approved
Complies with both ICC and IECC code requirements for continuous insulation.

Outbound Dew Point
Prevents condensation and freeze damage by placing the dew point outside the stud wall cavity.

Reduced Structural Loads
StoTherm® claddings are very lightweight, resulting in reduced structural cost requirements.

No Mechanical Fasteners
No penetrating nails or screws to attach the insulation means no thermal bridging.

Low Maintenance Cost
Coatings and finishes with advanced acrylic and Lotus-Effect technologies resist dirt pickup, peeling and cracking.

Lowest Life-Cycle Cost
StoTherm® ci claddings have the lowest life cycle costs compared to non-insulated brick and stucco claddings.

Premium Finishes & Coatings
Sto high performance finishes and coatings provide superior weatherability and resistance to UV fading, mold and mildew.

Explore the Continuous Insulation Configuration Tool to help guide you to what products are right for your project.

Company: Sto Corp.


Tags: Energy | Insulation | Sustainability | Wall Panels


The Role of LEDs in Outdoor Lighting Design

The Role of LEDs in Outdoor Lighting Design

As we reported in our earlier blog post, The Rise of Outdoor Lighting, homeowners continue to place a high priority on renovating outdoor living spaces. Taking center stage in these renovations is outdoor lighting. The report says, “Outdoor lighting is the most common [system] upgrade, whether it is LED (28%), solar (23%) or other (17%).”

The emergence of LED lighting has been a game-changer in outdoor design. Unlike their conventional counterparts, LEDs do not have a filament that will burn out or break, and they have a significantly longer lifespan (50,000 hours or more, compared to 15,000 to 35,000 hours for conventional HID lighting ) – which make them extremely energy efficient.

Because LEDs are so durable and energy efficient, they’ve become the leader in outdoor lighting. They can be used anywhere on your property, from lighting walkways and steps to illuminating patios and outdoor living spaces. Here are a few ways high efficiency LEDs are playing a significant role in outdoor lighting design.

Lighting the Way – In outdoor landscaping design, lighting can be a visual cue for defining the entrance to a home. It can be as simple as additional walkway lighting to as multifaceted as using many options to create a dramatic illuminated pathway to the front door.

Marking the Perimeter – If you have a deck, LED rail lighting  can offer a modest amount of light that can set the ambiance for an evening gathering  while still marking the deck’s perimeter. Also, LED rope lighting is often used to outline raised flower beds and water features.

Adding a Layer of Safety – Once the sun sets, outdoor areas can be a bit more dangerous to navigate; however, LED lighting as a design element will add a layer of safety to steps. Lighting is often added to hardscape stairs, or as seen below with the LED Post Accent Light . In this scenario, the accent light attaches to the post face to create a warm, white light.

Putting Functionality into Outdoor Kitchens – To add more functionality to outdoor kitchens, LED flexible strips are being integrated into outdoor bar and cooking areas. These strips position nicely under cabinets or along the underside of countertops and provide the perfect accent lighting, as well as make the outdoor kitchen much more functional after dark.

Accenting Landscaping Elements – One of the key benefits of using LEDs in landscape design is that they can be positioned to emit light in specific directions. Up-lighting under trees, for instance, creates interesting shadows, sometimes referred to the “Frankenstein Effect.” Alternately, strategic positioning of up-lights allows them to illuminate an architectural detail of the home, or even a piece of outdoor artwork or sculpture.

As LEDs continue to extend their foothold into landscape design, so will technological advances – bringing with it creativity and inspiring ideas for all to enjoy.

Company: Feeney, Inc


Tags: Energy | Exterior Design | Lighting | Safety


Cut solar energy getting into buildings by up to 92% - stop it before it hits the glazing

Offering Solar Control Solutions for Every Application

Cut solar energy getting into buildings by up to 92% - stop it before it hits the glazing

Solar Control Solutions provide precision control over the natural daylight entering the building, excellent energy savings and interesting façade design options. A wide range of custom products complements our traditional window coverings to meet all your needs for interior and exterior shading.

Exterior shading is the most efficient way to keep solar heat gain outside the building envelope. Draper can help develop a system that utilizes both interior and exterior shading to maximize efficiency and occupant comfort, and reduce energy consumption. Each custom solution we provide has specific benefits and features to enhance your overall building design and daylighting needs.

Draper's Solar Control Solutions allow you to control daylight and manage solar heat gain. Using an exterior shading system such as the Omega venetian blind can significantly reduce the heat gain entering the building, allowing the use of smaller more cost effective HVAC systems. Additionally, artificial lighting can account for more than 40% of a building's electrical load. Balancing daylight and artificial light through the use of the right shading system can lead to significant savings in energy consumption.

Company: Draper, Inc.


Tags: Design | Energy | Window Shades


May is Electrical Safety Month: Know How to Protect Workers from Electrical Hazards

May is Electrical Safety Month: Know How to Protect Workers from Electrical Hazards

Many electrical hazards exist in a workplace where workers are performing electrical-related tasks. One of those hazards is an arc flash.

An arc flash, as defined by the Workplace Safety Awareness Council is “a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground.” A person located near an arc flash can be seriously injured or killed.

An arc flash can be caused by a variety of things, such as dust, dropping tools, accidental touching, condensation, material failure, corrosion, and faulty installation.

To protect workers, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed approach boundaries to be used by workers on or near energized equipment. They include:

Limited Approach Boundary: The minimum distance from an energized source where an unqualified person can stand. A qualified person who can enter that space is wearing proper PPE and been properly trained.

Restricted Approach Boundary: A shock protection boundary that can only be crossed by a qualified person who has been properly trained and is wearing proper PPE.

Prohibited Approach Boundary: A shock protection boundary that can only be crossed by a qualified person wearing PPE and been trained to work on energized conductors or components. Workers also must have a documented plan to perform the work before crossing this boundary.

Arc Flash Boundary: A safe approach distance from energized equipment or parts.

Some general ways in which you can protect workers from electrical hazards on the job are:

  • De-energize the circuit
  • Work practices
  • Insulation
  • Guarding
  • Barricades
  • Ground Fault Interrupters (GFCI)
  • Grounding (secondary protection)

For more tips on how to prevent electrical accidents on the job, click here.

Company: Seton

Of: Marji McClure


Tags: Energy | Safety


Icynene Spray Foam: Water absorption comparison to other insulations

Icynene Spray Foam: Water absorption comparison to other insulations

Watch this 14-day time lapse video which shows how Icynene spray foam insulation does not absorb water compared to other spray foams. Icynene spray foam insulation won't absorb or retain moisture like others. Icynene maintains an air seal even after seasonal building contractions.

Company: Icynene


Tags: Design | Energy | Insulation


Understanding Home Energy Audits

Ever wondered how efficient your home really is? The U.S. Department of Energy has created a comprehensive and educational infographic that breaks down what a home energy audit is, what’s involved and how the results can help you and your clients determine the best investments to improve the home’s energy efficiency.
For instance, spray foam can be a wise investment to curb air leakage since the average home has enough gaps that add up to the size of a basketball. These gaps allows air leakage to occur. Check out the infographic below and then discover how spray foam insulation can help play a role in addressing common problems relating to interior comfort and air leakage.

Understanding Home Energy Audits

Company: Icynene


Tags: Energy | Insulation


Green architecture key to nationwide energy savings

Green architecture key to nationwide energy savings

When it comes to energy efficiency in the U.S., many people point to automotive carbon dioxide emissions as ground zero. It's a fair point – according to the EPA, between 1990 and 2012, the transportation sector accounted for 32 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S. But in the realm of overall energy consumption, another industry is even higher.

The buildings sector – both residential and commercial – made up 41 percent of energy consumption in 2010, according to data from the Department of Energy. Those energy sources consist of coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear and renewables. Regardless of the source, building owners would be better served if they could conserve as much energy as possible without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics.

As it turns out, there are reliable, modern techniques that materials architects can rely upon to help reduce the amount of energy consumed by the buildings industry in the U.S. New buildings outfitted with air and moisture barrier systems and continuous insulation wall systems help maintain a comfortable interior by preventing unwanted airflow and heat transfer.

For builders, zero is the magic number

Net-zero homes – those that produce at least as much electricity as they use – are nothing new. However, only recently have they emerged as something other than a custom home for the supremely wealthy, reported The Wall Street Journal. That prior perception is not unwarranted, as net-zero homes often are expensive to build. But a few architects have made a push to bring the net-zero building to the mainstream.

These pioneers are driven by increasing demand, both from individual consumers and by way of increasing regulations regarding building emissions. With that said, the market is not yet to the point where every home and business owner is clamoring for a net-zero project. But some of that could be influenced simply by letting consumers know what is available.

Net-zero price point on the decline

As it stands, a net-zero house is still out of the price range for many. But where it was once the solely available to multi-millionaires, developers are working on homes that would appeal to upper-middle income families. Blue Heron Design/Build LLC told The Wall Street Journal it could build net-zero homes at a cost of around $700,000 – not low-income housing, but certainly more affordable than the designer homes that net-zero had become associated with.

"Net-zero is technologically and financially solved," C.R. Herro, vice president of environmental affairs at Meritage, explained to the WSJ. "It's now a matter of the consumer catching up to that potential. That's probably another three years."

In addition, the cost of energy-efficient systems has fallen in recent years as technology and installation methods improve. For example, solar-power systems' average installation cost has declined by 50 percent since 2010. Exterior wall insulation and similar systems provide financial benefits that help offset the initial cost.

While zero is difficult to achieve, many builders that seek energy neutrality will, at the very least, greatly reduce energy consumption. Last year, the Department of Energy certified a mere 370 homes as net-zero. But another 14,500 fell just short of net-zero specifications. For now, even the attempt at net-zero will yield significant energy savings.

Company: Sto Corp.


Tags: Building | Energy


BP Bright Lights

BP Bright Lights

The architects at Gensler approached us with their design challenge:  How to incorporate light weight, grille-style wall cladding, built to accommodate light diffusers, in an aesthetically pleasing way that would be appropriate in a high-end corporate environment. The grilles would need to run floor to ceiling, be easily mounted and have soft edges. In addition, budget constraints required all of the above to be incorporated into a cost effective solution.

This project was large and complex, and due to the time constraints faced by project management, Advanced Arch Grilles did not meet with the contractor for this phase of the project until design drawings were already approved.  A solid partnership was quickly forged; within two weeks, the contractor had on-site two complete sets of AAG110 aluminum, press locked and welded, linear bar grille core with mounting tabs and reinforcing stiffener bars with a satin, clear anodized finish.  Our quick response time enabled the contractor to devise a mounting method and plan for installation many weeks in advance of actual delivery of the grilles.

The prototype cycle also proved valuable to our production team.  During fabrication of the prototypes, our team developed solutions to ensure the vertical grille panels would install completely flat, and when positioned top-to-bottom and side-to-side, would be perfectly aligned.

Our engineering team, working alongside our production personnel, designed a method of “back side” support to overcome any material twist or deflection and also created a series of alignment and test jigs that assured the grilles were uniform and unvarying once installed.

The project progressed as expected and we proudly delivered every grille ahead of schedule. We consider ourself privileged to work seamlessly with such a highly regarded company and such a talented group of people, and to contribute to the successful completion of this project.

Company: Artistry in Architectural Grilles by Advanced Arch Grilles


Tags: Energy | Interior Design | Lighting


The Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors

The Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors

The built environment is an energy-guzzler. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) states in this country alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions, and 13.6 percent potable water consumption. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or about 3 billion tons annually.* Fortunately, the type of doors we select can have a big impact on a building's energy profile.

Revolving doors provide a constant airlock at the entrance, reducing air infiltration by up to 90% compared to swinging or sliding doors. The result is energy savings, and an inviting and more spacious entrance area. If you’re ready for revolving doors, the possibilities are endless. Download the “Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors” to learn more about the features and design elements as they relate to user comfort and safety, as well as code requirements and a specification checklist.


Company: Boon Edam Inc.


Tags: Energy | Entrances


Data Center HVAC Design Considerations

Data Center HVAC Design Considerations

Data centers today not only require protection from the elements, but also need to be designed to save energy as it is estimated they consume about 1.5 percent of all total demand. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data centers are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the United States. In the U.S in 2013 three million computer rooms used enough electricity to match the annual output of 34 large coal-fired power plants. Annual consumption is projected to increase by roughly 47 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020. The NRDC recommends that best-practice efficiency behaviours across the data center industry need to be adopted as demand rises to unprecedented levels.

Energy Savings in Data Centers through HVAC Equipment

Traditionally when a building needs cooling, compressors engage and fans start to move air over cooling coils. This cooled air is used to condition the internal environment where the temperature is required to be lowered. This process is extremely effective but requires costly compressor and fan energy, adding avoidable cost considering external building temperature is lower than the temperature inside. When the outdoor enthalpy (a combination of temperature and humidity) is preferred over the indoor enthalpy, conditions are suitable for “free cooling”.  Depending on the geographic location of the facility, economizer cooling can represents a dramatic reduction in overall energy consumption.

Economizer Data CenterWhat is an Economizer and how can it reduce energy usage?

An economizer is like a window that automatically opens itself – with the added advantage of going through the rooftop AC’s filtration system. An airside economizer simply recognizes the preferred enthalpy of the outside air. When enthalpy conditions are suitable for “free cooling”, the economizer controls position outdoor air, return air, and relief dampers to facilitate free cooling through the first and sometimes second stages of cooling.

Economizers can contribute to a reduction in data center power consumption by utilizing the cooler external building temperatures to assist in cooling the facility and equipment when required. In maximizing energy savings and reducing HVAC cooling load, the cooling system’s product life can be extended.

A study on building control systems by Battelle Laboratories found that, on average, the normalized heating and cooling Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of buildings with economizers was 13 percent lower than those without economizers. When an airside economizer works properly, the savings are significant. Whether your company is looking to burnish its environmental credentials, to lower the cost of operating its data center, or both, a properly designed system integrating an airside economizer is a cornerstone of achieving both goals.

Economizers and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

A confined, un-aerated indoor space within a building allows gaseous fumes, odors, germs, and even fungi to grow in concentration to the point that the indoor air is qualitatively different from the ambient air. IAQ is important because the health and the comfort of people working indoors are an important factor in sustainable productivity. Poor IAQ in a working environment can cause discomfort or health problems sometimes resulting in a loss of productivity, increased errors, and even litigation. With the added benefit of reducing cost in power consumption, introducing outside air into a building via economizers can also contribute to improving indoor air quality. Following the relevant ASHRAE standards that apply to ventilation, air movement and exhausting of contaminants ensures that IAQ requirements will be met. To meet the requirements of ASHRAE 62 the outside air entering a building should be measured and controlled.

The most important part of an airside economizer are the damper blades that allow the control and supply of a fixed amount of outside air into the building. Parallel bladed economizers do a better job of mixing the outside and return air to provide optimal benefit to the system.  The sealing ability of the damper is essential to the system as a whole, when contending with extreme temperatures external to the building. AMCA certified dampers can ensure leakage rates meet the appropriate standards.

It has to be recognized that during different seasons and in different climates the benefits from economizers may vary.

Relevant Codes and Standards applicable to Data Center HVAC

Ruskin EconomizerFeaturing Ruskin’s exclusive one-piece galvanized airfoil blade and stainless steel jamb, the Economizers provide low-leakage performance as described in ASHRAE Standard 90.1.  Each unit also features Ruskin’s “SUREFLOW” sensing tubes and blade position indicator to help determine minimum airflow.  This also helps assist in mixed air temperature verses blade position field adjustments.

Data Center Protection

The Natural Resources Defense Council states that Data centers can be regarded as the back bone of a modern economy serving businesses and communications. Defending data means not only protecting it from Mother Nature but also giving back to her with sustainable designs. A question that must be considered during the design of a data center, is ‘How likely could the facility be compromised in extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes and hurricanes?’

When evaluating potential HVAC equipment it is advisable to use FEMA rated louvers and grilles. FEMA rated grilles and hurricane-resistant louvers have been tested against high windloads and large missile impacts. Outside air control dampers can seal up the center when necessary to reduce humidity and heat.

XP500 FEMA GRILLERuskin’s XP500S Extreme Weather Grille protects wall penetrations from flying debris caused by tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe storms.  This type of protection is critical in the design of Community Shelters (ICC-500) and Safe Rooms (FEMA 361). It offers designers a ventilation solution for their near-absolute life safety requirements. The heavy duty grille can be mounted internally, externally, or in conjunction with other louvers providing protection and certified performance. Rated for an industry leading 266 psf windload, the XP500S Grille meets or exceeds the building envelope protection requirements while complementing the construction of data centers.

Relevant Certification

  • FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes
  • ICC-500 – ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters

Company: Ruskin

Of: Tom Edwards


Tags: Design | Energy