Shared Learnings: AIA 2012 Preview

by Tom Minnon, LEED® AP, CDT, Eastern Region Sales Manager for Tubelite Inc. As the

American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition opens in Washington, D.C., exhibitors will be showcasing new technology and products for use in the glass and glazing industry. One focal point will be increasing the thermal performance of commercial glazing systems. This has become paramount as new energy codes continue to be adopted and enforced. Here are some highlights from the exhibit floor.

Viracon’s VE 1-2M has these characteristics: 63% Visible Light Transmission 0.21 U-Value, 0.34 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient


Triple Glazing

Viracon, and other glass fabricators, offer triple-glazed units that minimize heat transfer improving overall thermal performance. However, while a third pane of glass adds to the insulating value of the assembly, it also reduces the visible light transmission (VT) and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). Adding a low-E coating to a surface, or multiple surfaces, of the triple-pane unit will also increase the energy performance, but it may (depending on the type of low-E coating) affect the SHGC and VT. Filling the space between the panes of glass with argon and/or krypton gas will also improve energy performance.

A third pane of glass increases the weight and thickness of the unit, which can make mounting and handling more difficult and transportation more expensive. There are physical and economic limits to the number of glass panes that can be added to a window assembly and the thermal performance benefits diminish as well. Care should be taken to ensure that the architectural aluminum framing system can support the additional weight of triple-glazed units, which average about 10 pounds per square foot.
Booth 3825


Suspended Films

A suspended plastic film can be substituted for the middle layer of glass in a triple-glazed unit. The light weight of the plastic film is advantageous. Because it is very thin, it does not increase the unit thickness substantially.

Southwall Technologies’ Heat Mirror® technology is based upon a very thin coated film, which reflects heat back to its source. They offer 12 different films, which provide varying levels of VT and SHGC to meet the diverse requirements of the commercial market place.

Heat Mirror units can be produced with a wide range of glass substrates including clear glass, tinted glass and low-E glass. By taking advantage of the benefits of film-based coatings and glass-based technologies, they can create superior insulating performance and outstanding solar control, while blocking UV radiation, and reducing outside noise more effectively than double-pane glass.


Electronically tintable glass

Electronically tintable glass can be specified for windows, skylights and curtainwalls. It is an effective way to control sunlight without shades or blinds, so you can manage glare and heat, while maintaining a connection to the outdoors. SageGlass® offers a solution (electrochromic) that can be adjusted based on the end-users’ preferences. Pleotint, on the other hand, offers a solution (thermochromic) that automatically adjusts based on the sun’s heat.

Electronically tintable glass increases design freedom by removing sun control from the equation. Buildings can be infused with daylight without shades, blinds or louvers.
Booth 2003 and Booth 2318


Advanced Aluminum Glazing Systems

Manufacturers of aluminum storefront, curtainwall and windows have responded to the need for increased thermal performance by designing systems that will accommodate glass in thicknesses greater than the typical 1-inch units. Triple glazing is usually 1.75-inch thick (three each 0.25-inch panes of glass and two each 0.5-inch air spaces).

Wausau Window and Wall Systems, and others, can provide curtainwall and windows that will accept this glazing.
Booth 313


Lumira Aerogel

Cabot Corporation’s translucent Lumira™ aerogel maintains and enhances energy efficiency, while enabling a wide range of commercial and residential building design choices.

Aerogels are the lightest and best insulating solids in the world. Cabot’s Lumira aerogel is a hydrophobic aerogel produced as particles. Each particle consists largely of air (more than 90 percent) and is contained in a structure with pore sizes less than the mean free path of air molecules, which severely inhibits heat transfer through the material.

The inclusion of Lumira in daylighting systems virtually eliminates the historical trade-off of insulation vs. natural light by providing three to six times the thermal performance of traditional insulated fenestration products, while maintaining optimal light transmission. As a result, even large daylight surface areas can maintain high energy-efficiency by reducing thermal loads.
Several companies that offer Lumira will be exhibiting at the AIA Design Exposition.





Tom Minnon, LEED® AP, CDT, is the eastern region sales manager for Tubelite Inc., serving clients from Maine to Georgia. With nearly four decades of industry experience and many professional accreditations, he regularly provides educational and consultative support to architects, buildings owners and glazing contractors regarding storefront, curtainwall, entrances and daylight control systems.


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Connecting Architects to Online Specifications’ Tools

Assisting architects with specification writing and 3-D design, Tubelite Inc. participates in several online and automated tools. The company’s website connects visitors to product details, technical data and other information on its storefront, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems.

From, visitors with subscriptions to BSD SpecLink®-E‘s can link to automated specification writing assistance. Also within one click of Tubelite’s homepage, users can access Autodesk® Seek and CADdetails for Building Information Modeling (BIM) libraries.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Tubelite AIA/CES course menu

Addressing the architectural community’s professional development needs, Tubelite Inc. offers educational presentations available through the American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education System (AIA/CES). As a leading manufacturer of storefront, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems, the company’s website invites architects and designers to explore its online resources at, and to connect with representatives in their area for in-person presentations.

Tubelite’s four, current AIA/CES presentations include:
* Product Selection Guide
* The In’s and Out’s of Architectural Aluminum Doors and Frames
* Green: Architectural Aluminum Products for Commercial Construction
* Modified and Custom Doors

Tubelite also provides the following Health/Safety/Welfare and Sustainable Design (HSW/SD) programs:
* Daylighting and Integrated Façade Design

* Understanding U-Factors

Each of these courses is available as one-hour, in-person presentations. Participants can receive 1.0 Learning Unit (LU) for each program.

To learn more about Tubelite’s architectural resources and educational tools, please visit


Media contact: Heather West,

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Glass Texpo 2012 Notes

Tubelite exhibited at the Glass Texpo 2012 event held in San Antonio, Texas, on May 12 and 13 at the Hotel Tropicano on the historic Riverwalk.

The number of attendees for both days of the show was up from the previous one in 2010, setting new records. Floor space was added after the original plan, but some exhibitors were turned away. Glazing contractors from as far away as Utah, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico were seen at the show.

Tubelite was well represented by Mike Efeney, Todd and Kim Joubert [Sage Architectural Products], Tony Evans, and Terry Robinholt. Our products and services featured in the booth were T14000 Series Storefront, 400 Series Curtainwall and the DFG “Damage Free Guarantee” shipping.

We are very pleased to have been a part of this tradeshow and look forward to participating again in 2014.

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