Shared Learnings

Check out the latest Shared Learnings News from Tubelite Inc.

LEED® Guidelines and Fenestration Design – Part 1

July 25th, 2012|

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

Not every building is designed to achieve LEED® certification, but using the guidelines in the LEED Rating System can help lower utility costs, minimize the impact on our environment and improve occupant comfort levels. In this two-part blog, we’ll take a look at how “smart” fenestration designs and applications can significantly improve a building’s performance. Part one focuses on Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality.

Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance

Intent: To achieve increasing levels of energy performance to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with excessive energy use.

* Design the building envelope and systems to maximize energy performance. Utilize aluminum and glass manufacturers’ most energy efficient products.
* Determine required minimum total system U-Factor based on aluminum framing system and glass type. Reference National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) 100-2010: “Procedure for Determining Fenestration Product U-Factors.”
* Determine required maximum Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). Reference NFRC 200-2010: “Procedure for Determining Fenestration Product Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visible Transmittance at Normal Incidence.”

Recent improvements in thermal break technology have helped aluminum glazing systems become more energy efficient due to conductive heat […]

Shared Learnings: Controlling Storefront and Curtainwall Water Infiltration

June 27th, 2012|

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

Most architectural aluminum glazing systems are not designed to be totally waterproof. Rather, most systems are designed to control water infiltration under extreme conditions and weep that water back to the exterior. Storefront and curtainwall systems differ in many ways: appearance, profiles, wind load resistance, glazing, thermal performance and how they weep water. This discussion focuses on how storefront and curtainwall handle water disbursement differently.


Storefront systems control water infiltration by directing all moisture to the sill flashing (1). It is imperative that the sill flashing be installed correctly. Most aluminum manufacturers have introduced high-performance sill flashing designs that allow the installer to fasten the flashing to the bottom of the opening prior to installing the storefront framing. A watertight seal can then be applied over the fastener head (2). The sill then sets on top of the flashing with no need for fasteners penetrating the sill flashing. Unlike the old sill flashing designs, these high-performance sill flashings utilize two weep holes in the sill flashing at each lite of glass (3). These extrusions also have a much higher back […]

Shared Learnings: AIA 2012 Preview

May 17th, 2012|

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 […]

Shared Learnings: Glazing and Energy Codes

April 18th, 2012|

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 […]

Shared Learnings: Thermal Barriers

March 21st, 2012|

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.

Shared Learnings: U-Factors

February 15th, 2012|

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 […]

Shared Learnings: Lessons for a New Year

January 19th, 2012|

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 […]

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