Tubelite Expands Production Capabilities and Capacity

Walker, Mich. (Feb. 2012) — Responding to expanding market opportunities, Tubelite Inc. invested in structural expansions and production enhancements at its facilities in Walker and Reed City, Michigan.

The Walker facility added more than 43,000 square feet to its existing building, for a total of 123,125 square feet. Lean manufacturing principals were applied to optimize workflow and performance at both the Walker and Reed City locations. Future improvements are planned for the assembly area.

“As part of our strategic plan for continuous improvement and growth, this investment increases our capacity and capabilities, while maintaining the dependable, high-quality of our products and of our customer service levels,” says Mary Avery, Tubelite’s vice president of marketing. “Standing by this dependability with our damage-free guarantee shipping, we have significantly expanded the size of our shipping area at the Walker location.”

Paul Marzolf, Tubelite’s operations manager, adds that the Reed City location also “has nearly doubled its aluminum extrusion press capacity with upgrades to its processing equipment. This extends our overall capacity and ensures quality, reliability and productivity.”

“We pride ourselves in holding lead-times constant and consistently short,” continues Avery. “Our customers count on us for personalized service, on-time scheduling and on budget, long-term value. Each of our products is manufactured to meet the customer’s project’s aesthetic, performance and environmental goals.”

Tubelite manufactures standard, modified and customized, architectural aluminum products including entrance systems, windows, storefront, curtainwall and daylight control systems.  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. Thermal barriers and high-performance glass optimize the products’ energy efficiency. These durable and environmental benefits of Tubelite’s products may contribute to projects seeking certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating Systems.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Shared Learnings: U-Factors

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

Energy efficiency and occupant comfort are two key criteria in designing green buildings, especially for projects seeking LEED® certification. Contributing to these goals, thermal performance will continue to be an essential factor in the upcoming International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), as well as the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which calls for the operation of all new buildings and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030.

According to Architecture 2030, the non-residential/or commercial building sector is currently responsible for almost half of the energy – consumption (49%) and green house gas emissions (47%) in the U.S. The greatest percentage of the energy consumption and their associated emissions is attributed to buildings’ operations, such as heating, cooling and lighting.

Windows in these buildings are major contributors to the nation’s gross energy consumption. Energy-efficient building designs must comply with codes and meet owner expectations. Design professionals are concerned with misrepresentation of energy savings. Understanding thermal transmittance in window systems will help to correctly report energy savings.

U-Factor is a measure of:
* Conduction – heat transfer through a solid, liquid or gaseous material via molecular contact. For example, touching a hot stove. To reduce conduction in windows, add frame thermal barriers.
* Convection – the transfer of heat through the movement of liquids or gases. For example, facing into a cold, north wind. To reduce convection in windows, add enclosed air spaces.
* Radiation – the transfer of heat through space without relying on an intervening medium. For example, the heat of the sun on your face. To reduce radiation in windows, add low-e glass coatings.

U-Factor = BTUs / Square Foot / °F Differential / Hour
BTUs are British Thermal Units, the approximate heat required to raise 1 lb. of water 1 degree Fahrenheit, such as from 59°F to 60°F.

U-Factor allows the HVAC engineer to calculate peak loads, as well as energy consumption, for any size window, in any climate. When comparing U-Factors, remember that lower is better. For example, 0.18 BTU/ft2-hr-ºF is better than 0.34 BTU/ft2-hr-ºF.

For an apples-to-apples comparison of commercial window systems’ U-Factors, be aware that there are two U.S. thermal testing protocols: American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC). The two programs yield similar, but not identical, thermal performance results. NFRC U-Factors are typically 10% lower than AAMA U-Factors. NFRC was residentially-oriented, so NFRC operable window test sizes are small. Window area and configuration can significantly affect the overall window assembly U-Factor. Smaller test sizes make a huge difference in U-Factor for aluminum windows.

Aluminum remains the framing material of choice for non-residential applications, when all design requirements are considered in balance. Be certain to consider ALL factors – from structural integrity to longevity to stiffness to heat build-up – before deciding on alternative materials.

The three components used to calculate U-Factor for window systems are:
* Center of Glass (COG) – typical value is 0.29 BTU/ft2-hr-ºF (low-e IG)
* Edge of Glass (EOG) – typical value is 0.34 BTU/ft2-hr-ºF (aluminum spacer)
* Frame – typical value is 0.90 BTU/ft2-hr-ºF (thermal break). A frame’s U-Factor includes heat transfer through surfaces perpendicular to the glass plane.

COG is different than “whole window” U-Factor. Whole window U-Factor, which includes frame and EOG areas, usually is required by codes. To calculate total system U-Factor:
* First, we must determine what percentage of glass versus aluminum there is in the opening. Most storefront and curtainwall elevations have between 85% and 90% glass.
* Second, we need to know what the COG. This information is obtained from the glass fabricator.

In the following graph, assuming 85% glass and a glass COG of 0.24, the total system U-Factor will be 0.45. In addition to noting total system U-Factor vs. COG, be cautious not to confuse U-Factor with R-Value. R-Value is the inverse of U-Factor and commonly used in residential applications. For instance, a U-Factor of 0.50 would equate to an R-value of 2.0. If commercial fenestration can get down to a U-Factor of 0.25, that is still only R-4. Equal to about 1 inch of fiberglass insulation.

The commercial glazing industry is faced with some real challenges in meeting the 2012 IECC. Most of the U.S. Climate Zones will require Total System U-Factors of 0.38 or lower. These new U-Factor requirements cannot be met by a standard, thermally-broken, aluminum-framed storefront system, even one with a glass COG of 0.24. Some manufacturers are responding to this new code by developing new technology, including “double” pour and debridge thermal breaks. (Thermal barriers will be the topic of my next blog.)

In addition to reviewing Climate Zones’ criteria, remember to check that the specifications for U-Factor match the glass and glazing specifications, code requirements and building permit values. Clear specifications and accurate data are essential to optimizing window systems’ thermal performance and to achieving the intended results.


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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Terry Robinholt joins Tubelite as Central and Southwest regional sales manager

Walker, Mich. — Tubelite Inc. has hired Terry Robinholt as regional sales manager for 21 states in the Central/Southwest region. He will work closely with Tubelite’s client development managers to provide selected glazing contractors in the region with storefront, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems.

Robinholt will support the company’s sales team with 40 years of industry knowledge as they continue delivering Tubelite’s approved American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education Systems (AIA/CES) programs and assisting the architectural community with product selection.

Based in Edinburgh, Ind., Robinholt joins Tubelite following 27 years with Oldcastle, where he most recently worked as a regional sales manager serving a similar region. “I love this industry. I started at the press and have learned the business by working hands-on in extrusion and finishing, engineering, purchasing, customer service, field sales and management.”

He adds, “While the region is familiar and the relationships I have within it span many years, I am excited to help Tubelite expand its market. The Tubelite name is well known in the market and regarded very highly. I’m glad to be a part of it and enjoy the opportunity to help grow the business. The clients that I’ve met with are very positive about their experience with Tubelite’s dependable products and customer service.”

All of Tubelite’s products are manufactured using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition with eco-friendly, durable finishes. These include: energy-efficient Therml=Block™ entrances; standard doors, windows, storefront and curtainwall; and Max/Block™ sun shade and aLuminate™ light shelf daylight control systems. These recycled and energy-efficient attributes may contribute to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) LEED® Green Rating System™.

Tubelite is a member of the USGBC, the Construction Specifications Institute, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Glass Association of North America, the Michigan Glass Association, and an approved continuing education provider through the American Institute of Architects. Robinholt will help represent Tubelite as a member of these organizations and in other industry events.

To learn more about Tubelite’s products and connect with its representatives, please visit


Media contact: Heather West,

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Tubelite Announces Hazard-Mitigating Entry Doors

Walker, Mich. — Helping protect low- and mid-rise buildings in need of storm hazard mitigation, Tubelite’s Force Front Storm monumental entry door systems have received Florida Product Approval (#14563).

Designed for compliance with High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) Windzones 2 and 3, Force Front Storm doors and frames also are tested to meet Miami Dade large missile impact requirements (ASTM E1886/E1996 – TAS 201) and passed pressure cycling at +100/-100 psf.

Tubelite’s Force Front Storm monumental entry doors feature durable tie-rod construction, wide stiles and heavy-duty hardware. Single doors up to 4-feet-wide and 8-feet-high and pairs up to 8-by-8-feet have been qualified. The units include nominal one-inch insulated glazing with a laminated pane incorporating a DuPont™ SentryGlas® Interlayer. Dry glazing and sealing can be completed at the jobsite.

“Introduced last year, our Force Front products are being specified throughout our service area, especially in the southeastern coastal and southern Texas regions,” says Tubelite’s marketing manager, Mary Olivier.

In addition to impact protection, Tubelite’s Force Front monumental entry door products support facilities’ environmental goals. All of Tubelite’s products are manufactured 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 System™.


Media contact: Heather West,

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Shared Learnings: Lessons for a New Year

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

As we begin 2012, I add blogging to my list of New Year’s resolutions and new skills. In our industry, “What’s new?” is a question we’re constantly asked by architects. Staying current, accessible, relevant and knowledgeable are expectations. These are especially important qualities when discussing sustainable design and environmentally responsible construction.

The challenges, codes and opportunities pertaining to green building will continue to increase in the coming months. For the last several years, sustainability issues have gained momentum and the conversations have gained depth. In my upcoming blogs, I’ll explore considerations and requirements of green attributes in commercial fenestration. Topics are likely to include daylighting, views, natural ventilation, indoor air quality and VOCs, recycled content, maintenance and durability, re-use and restoration, energy-efficiency and thermal performance, as well as specific applications such as in high-security projects or hurricane zones.

For me, the green building conversation and its practical implementation are a way of life. I’ve been working with architectural glazing systems for almost four decades. I earned my Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) professional accreditation when this green building rating system was still on version 1.0.

I also wake up each morning with the knowledge it takes to renovate a 30-year-old house into a water-efficient, energy-efficient home using sustainable materials. I understand what it’s like to sort through a myriad of manufacturers’ claims regarding recycled content, regionally sourced materials, energy efficiency, eco-friendly manufacturing and life cycle analysis (LCA) when selecting building products, interior finishes, sustainable landscaping practices, and renewable energy sources.

Whether prescribing green goals to residential, commercial or governmental project, the complexity will remain, even as established organizations and institutions attempt to simplify it. Two approaching milestones will be the USGBC’s release of LEED 2012, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), which will be available this Spring, and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.

I’m looking forward to sharing the lessons that I’ve learned, and those that I’ve yet to learn, with you. Feel free to add your comments and questions. It’s through our individual experiences that we find the insight in collective wisdom and enrich the value of our industry for a brighter future.


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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