ForceFront Blast Curtainwall and Entry Door Offered

Walker, Mich. — Helping protect low- and mid-rise buildings, Tubelite’s ForceFront™ Blast curtainwall and entry door systems are now available for high-security projects seeking blast hazard mitigation.

ForceFront Blast products are designed for compliance with ASTM International standard F1642-04, the U.S. General Services Administration Interagency Security Committee (GSA/ISC) security design criteria and U.S. Department of Defense Unified Facilities Criteria (DoD UFC) 4-010-01 requirements. The products are tested to meet blast performance of 6 psi peak pressure at 42 psi-msec impulse.

Tubelite’s ForceFront Blast entry doors feature durable tie-rod construction, 6-inch-wide stiles and heavy-duty hardware. A single door measures 3-feet-wide and 7-feet-high. A 5.5-inch back member reinforces the curtainwall system’s structural performance. The systems include nominal 1-inch insulated glazing with a SentryGlas® Plus Interlayer. Dry glazing and sealing can be completed at the jobsite and a variety of anchor options are available to ease installation.

“Complementing our current product offering in performance, aesthetics and environmental attributes, ForceFront Blast is generating interest in geographic areas with a high count of governmental buildings, such as the Virginia/D.C. area, the Carolinas and Texas,” says Tubelite’s marketing manager, Mary Olivier.

In addition to blast-mitigating protection, Tubelite’s ForceFront Blast curtainwall and entry door systems support facilities’ environmental goals. The aluminum used to produce these systems can be extruded by Tubelite using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition with eco-friendly, durable finishes. These qualities may contribute to projects seeking certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating Systems.

To learn more about Tubelite’s products and specific performance data, please click here.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Shared Learnings: Glazing and Energy Codes

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

Architects and building owners face growing challenges in balancing aesthetics and daylighting design needs with increasingly stringent building and energy code requirements. This month’s discussion will focus on ways to reduce heat loss and heat gain to comply with commercial energy codes. Thermal energy performance of glass can be improved several ways; many of them are just now beginning to be incorporated into the commercial segment.


Warm Edge Technology
(Conductive heat loss)

Several products have been introduced that will help reduce conductive heat loss through the edge of insulating glazing units (IGUs). Warm Edge technology will also help reduce condensation that typically occurs around the edge of glass near the frame. Below are some of the different types of IG spacers available.

1. Metal spacers
Made from stainless steel or aluminum. Dessicant consists of tiny beads which absorb any moisture trapped in the unit during manufacturing. Stainless steel offers better performance than steel.

2. Hybrid spacers
Changing metal spacers from a tube to a U-shaped channel reduces the flow of heat through the spacer.

3. Thermal break spacers
Thermal barrier technology creates a warm-edge IGU that reduces thermal conductivity.

4. Foam & Thermoplastic spacers
Non-metal spacers include a foam material that has dessicant entrained within it and thermoplastic spacers consisting of a single-component polyisobutylen with included desiccant material.


Argon and Krypton Gas Fill
(Convective heat loss)

An improvement that can be made to the thermal performance of IGUs is to reduce the movement of air between the panes of glass. Typically, the space is filled with air or flushed with dry nitrogen just prior to sealing. In a sealed IGU, air currents between the two panes of glazing carry heat to the top of the unit and settle into cold pools at the bottom. Filling the space with a less conductive, more viscous, or slow-moving gas minimizes the convection currents within the space, conduction through the gas is reduced, and the overall transfer of heat between the inside and outside is reduced.

Argon is inexpensive, nontoxic, nonreactive, clear and odorless. The optimal spacing for an argon-filled unit is the same as for air, about ½-inch (11-13 mm). Krypton is nontoxic, nonreactive, clear, and odorless and has better thermal performance, but is more expensive to produce. A mixture of krypton and argon gases is also used as a compromise.


Low-e Coatings
(Radiant heat loss)

A great deal of winter heat loss (and summer heat gain) is due to radiation. In winter, low-e coatings help “reflect” heat energy back into the building. They also increase the surface temperature of the interior glass. This is very important when considering human comfort levels. People lose body heat in four ways:

  • conductive heat loss between the air and exposed skin,
  • convection heat loss due to air moving across the skin (think wind chill factor),
  • evaporative heat loss due to moisture on the skin evaporating (you feel hotter on a humid day because the skin cannot evaporate as much moisture), and
  • radiant heat loss due to the human body being warmer than the surrounding surfaces. More than 50% of body heat loss is due to radiation. The warmer we can make our surroundings, the less heat we will radiate to those surfaces and the warmer we will feel. This is referred to as “Mean Radiant Temperature.” Increasing the surface temperature of the glass will result in a higher mean radiant temperature and ultimately a greater feeling of human comfort.

In summer, and year round for most commercial buildings, we want to limit the amount of solar radiation entering the building, which increases air conditioning loads. Low-e coatings are very effective at minimizing the amount of solar radiation entering the building. In order to meet the 2012 Energy Code, areas of the southern U.S. in Zones 1, 2 and 3 will need to have a fixed glazing system Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.25 or less. This can best be achieved with IGUs and low-e coatings. The days of ¼-inch single glazing in storefront and curtainwall are pretty much in the past.



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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Max/Block Sun Shades by Tubelite Support Green Goals

Supporting green design and construction objectives, Max/Block™ sun shades by Tubelite® maximize daylighting and minimize solar heat gain.

The aluminum used to produce Max/Block sun shades can be extruded by Tubelite using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition with eco-friendly, durable finishes. These benefits also are key criteria for projects pursuing certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating Systems.

“Sun shades help significantly lower buildings’ cooling costs and energy use, while still letting natural light fill the workspace,” says Mary Olivier, Tubelite’s marketing manager. “Max/Block sun shades are easy-to-install, aesthetically-and structurally-compatible with Tubelite’s curtainwall and storefront systems. They work especially well with Tubelite’s systems on low- to mid-rise buildings such schools, medical clinics and neighborhood offices.”

Complementing buildings’ designs, Max/Block sun shades are available in airfoil, Z-blade and tubular architectural profiles. Each outrigger type can be extended from the building in various projection lengths to provide the desired performance. Blades are attached to the outriggers using simple screw spline connections. The easy-to-install, patent-pending, detachable, mounting bracket fastens at the pressure plate area and allows for the removal of the sun shades’ individual sections for re-glazing applications.

Protecting and accentuating Tubelite’s aluminum products’ painted finishes are applied and controlled in an environmentally effective manner. Enhancing the natural, metallic appearance, eco-friendly anodize finishes send 90 percent less waste to landfills than traditional anodizing processes and ensure low-maintenance durability.

To learn more about Tubelite’s Max/Block sun shades and other environmentally responsible, energy-saving, finished products, please click here.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Tubelite Hires Aaron Zorn to Serve Clients in Chicago

Walker, Mich. (April 2012) — Aaron Zorn joins Tubelite Inc. to provide glazing contractors in the Chicago area with storefront, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems.

Zorn previously worked with Traco, a division of Kawneer, serving Chicago’s commercial building teams and glazing contractors. His prior sales positions were with Pella Corporation’s Commercial Chicago division, and CONAM Inspection & Engineering Services, a quality control and assurance provider now owned by MISTRAS Group, Inc. He began his career with CTC Analytical Services, North America’s largest independent supplier of fluid analysis services, after earning a bachelor’s degree in business management from Judson College in Elgin, Illinois.

Sharing his knowledge with others, Zorn has been a member of Construction Specification Institute (CSI) for four years and continues his participation through CSI Chicago. He will help represent Tubelite as a member of CSI, American Institute of Architects, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Glass Association of North America, and U.S. Green Building Council.

“Green building is the main driver for growth in the Chicago market,” says Zorn. “Tubelite meets this need with its thermal performance products, recycled aluminum framing and eco-friendly, durable finishes. Not only is this important to new construction projects, but there is a huge opportunity for existing building renovations — especially for Tubelite’s storefront systems.” As examples, he mentions retail centers, schools and universities, municipalities and park districts, senior living residences and places of worship.

In his community of Bartlett, Ill., Zorn volunteers with his church, the Special Olympics and many of his son and daughter’s activities. He and his family enjoy sports and the outdoors, including football, baseball and fishing.

To contact Aaron Zorn and to learn more about Tubelite’s products, please click here.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Shared Learnings: Thermal Barriers

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

Aluminum remains the framing material of choice for architectural fenestration products used in non-residential applications. Aluminum has many excellent qualities from recyclability to engineering versatility to corrosion resistance. It also is an excellent conductor of temperature.

Therml=Block entrance systems

Adding a barrier or “break” to insulate between the inside and outside aluminum surfaces, reduces the transfer of hot and cold temperatures. This minimizes the potential for interior condensation and frost build-up in cold weather and helps save energy.

Slot thermal break

The most common types of thermal breaks used in aluminum-framed fenestration products are:

* Slot thermal breaks remove 1-inch-wide by 6-inch-long sections of aluminum extrusion with only one inch between these slots. This typically is reserved for vertical framing members. Slotted horizontals are typically not strong enough to handle the dead load of glass.

* Clip thermal breaks use a small, plastic “clothespin” clip to separate the interior and exterior aluminum surfaces.

Clip thermal break

* Strut thermal barrier systems insert thin fiberglass reinforced “struts” into the aluminum extrusion.

* Pour and debridge thermal barriers involve pouring a two-part, chemically-cured resin into a cavity in the extrusion. After it hardens some of the aluminum is cut away creating the break. The pour and debridge area can also be “lanced” to provide an additional bond between the metal and thermal break.

“Double” pour and debridge are emerging in response to new energy code requirements. This barrier system utilizes two pour and debridge cavities, thus reducing the amount of conductivity between inside and outside. Most manufacturers have developed these systems in order to meet new, more stringent, energy codes.

Strut thermal barrier

When thermally-broken aluminum framing is matched with high-performance glass, performance is further improved in all categories, including lower U-Factors and higher Condensation Resistance Factors (CRF). CRF is a dimensionless ratio of surface temperature to ambient temperature difference that is determined through surface temperature measurement in guarded hot box testing. A non-thermal single-glazed unit may have a CRF 29; a standard, uncoated insulating glass unit may have a CRF 52 and the highest-performing curtainwalls may reach a CRF 80.

CRF is especially important in cold-climate, high-humidity applications such as multi-family and mixed-use buildings, hotels, kitchens, computer rooms and hospitals. Hospitals may require a CRF as high as 72 or more. For instance, with an outdoor temperature of 0°F, indoor temperature of 70° and relative humidity of 50%, condensation will occur at about

Pour and debridge thermal barrier

50°, requiring a CRF of 72. Below 32 °F surface temperature, condensation forms as frost, which can persist even when temperatures moderate. For additional CRF information and calculations, please visit the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) website.

Tubelite’s 300ES Series Curtainwall systems using high-performance glass with Therml=Block™ Insulbar® technology can reduce U-Factors as low as 0.25 and increase frame CRFs as high as 72. This combination achieves a 31% reduction in thermal construction (Uc) compared with standard, pressure bar curtainwall systems that use rubber insulators. Many curtainwall manufactures are beginning to offer fiberglass pressure plates to further increase their thermal performance.

300ES Series Curtainwall

The benefits presented by fenestration systems using thermal barriers is attractive from an energy and cost savings perspective, and also creates a comfortable thermal environment that supports the productivity and well-being of building occupants. These characteristics also align with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System’s criteria for Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ).

Along with the improved comfort and performance, the aluminum frames’ thermally-broken construction utilizing thermal struts or snap-on face covers also allows some manufacturers to offer dual finishes, where different colors and techniques may be specified for each side of the aluminum’s visible surface. As examples: a curtainwall system could be ordered to match different exterior and interior color schemes, or an entrance system could be finished with a durable anodize on the exterior and a brightly painted surface on the interior.

Innovative manufacturers continue to develop new products and technologies to enhance both the appearance and the performance of their products, meeting the needs for best-in-class building envelope performance in any Climate Zone.


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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