GANA Fall Conference Talks High-Performance Façades

October 15th, 2015 by Editor

The glazing world is becoming increasingly complex and is dependent on many factors that need to be balanced. Steve Selkowitz with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL) spoke during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference Flat Glass Division meeting Wednesday about tools and resources that can help create high-performance, integrated facades.

Steve Selkowitz of LBNL spoke to GANA Fall Conference attendees about high-performance building opportunities.

Steve Selkowitz of LBNL spoke to GANA Fall Conference attendees about high-performance building opportunities.

Selkowitz explained that his group’s work at LBNL is focused on promoting window energy innovation, providing data and information on how things work. And as he pointed out, “if we’re moving to a world where everything is linked and connected, that’s a world with a lot of opportunity—but it’s a lot more complex.”

His presentation explored the future direction of building envelope designs. He said the industry needs to take a proactive look at this, rather than waiting for architects or others.

He suggested creating strategic partnerships across the building industry. This can include ways to enhance the value proposition for the envelope, as well as engaging with architects and engineers, contractors, owners and others.

Selkowitz added that the building envelope industry is facing a number of challenges, one being the challenge of changing codes. Buildings, he said, are often designed to simply meet the code. “If you’re just meeting the code, that’s the worst building you can build.”

Other challenges include time and money constraints.

But Selkowitz added, “We’re headed to smart, integrated solutions that I think can solve a lot of these problems.”

As an example, he said California law says by 2030 all new commercial buildings will be net zero.

“You can fight the laws or you can find the solutions you need,” he said.

For example, he suggested communicating with architects and engineers and asking about the performance levels they want and how the industry can help design a façade that delivers.
Selkowitz suggested a need for better predictive tools, as well as better integrated systems, and encouraging value-added products with higher profit margins.

“You still address codes and standards, but satisfying owners and occupants is becoming increasingly important,” he said, adding there is a need for solutions with broad applicability for building types, location, climate, orientation—all are solvable.

Selkowitz proposed building a “suite of tools” that can validate and verify this type of work. He said this should be done in partnership with architects, engineers, contractors, etc., and there needs to be outreach to owners/developers.

“It needs to be an industry-wide service platform,” he said.

Selkowitz pointed out there is already a platform to build on, pointing to the work being done through the various LBNL programs. One example is Berkeley’s FlexLab, which was built to provide real-world performance data.

The lab allows users to test energy-efficient building systems individually or as an integrated system, under real-world conditions. Test beds can test HVAC, lighting, windows, building envelope, control systems and plug loads, in any combination.

Selkowitz’s discussion proposed GANA to serve as the program manager. A consortium meeting will take place next month the day before Greenbuild to further discuss the possibility. The goal, he said, is to add to what we’re already doing to meet the specific needs of this industry.

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