October 2019

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OCTOBER 2019 | 21 Curtain Wall & Window Wall PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY BMG GLASS + ALUMINUM Curtain wall and window wall is seeing a massive shift due to changing codes by NATALIE BRUCKNER I ndustrial and commercial construction activities and the need for tech- nological advancements in the industry continue to drive the demand for curtain wall and window wall systems here in Canada. According to recent studies by ResearchAndMarkets, the window wall market alone is projected to grow globally from US$44.5 billion in 2018 to US$73.4 billion by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5 percent during the forecast period. However, as with most sectors, the industry faces challenges as high capital investment and government regulations surrounding carbon emissions are projected to inhibit the growth of the market. "The BC Energy Step Code is going to really change the way we do curtain wall and facades," explains Leonard Pianalto, associate at RJC Engineers. "Traditionally energy use has been driven by mechanical systems, so you could have buildings with over 60 percent of the exterior surface class clad in glass, but that's not going to be the case anymore because energy use intensity now shifts some of the burden away from the mechanical systems to the overall energy consumption for the building. This will be affected by how much energy is lost through the envelope. The Step Code will drive the fenestration industry to be more creative and put the burden on manufacturers and building envelope consultants to develop energy efficient facades." When it comes to technology, phase change material that allows natural light in hasn't really yet taken off as predicted, instead all eyes are now on active win- dow systems (also known as Smart glass). "You can change the opacity through dynamic glass as it modulates the opacity with the liquid crystals, however, the implications need to be studied more closely," says Pianalto. Dynamic Glass is a great example, as its smart glass windows let in natural light and enhance mental and physical well-being by significantly reducing headaches, eyestrain, and drowsiness. It also reduces glare and heat, improving the energy efficiency of buildings by up to 20 percent. "In my experience there are some developers who are putting smart glass on their buildings, as those developers are not so risk averse to technology. However, some commercial clients are a bit more hesitant as they are going to have to maintain the building, so want to see how this technology performs in the long term," says Pianalto. For RJC Engineers it is about educating customers to ensure whatever they choose is the best option for them and will help them meet codes and standards. Over at Starline Windows, a leader in the design and manufacturing of archi- tectural aluminum window systems, the team continues to seek out innovation to meet the needs of its customers Designed and engineered in-house, Starline Windows' new 9600 Series Thermally Enhanced Aluminum Window Wall system was created to meet increasing energy demands, not only in B.C. for the new Energy Step Code and the City of Vancouver's Zero Emissions Building Plan, but for other markets from San Diego to Seattle and Alberta, where there is increasing focus on energy reduction. We have created this new six-inch-deep system that accommodates four-and- a-half-inches of mineral wool in the frame cavities and features a 41-millimetre thermal break. Not only are the seismic compensation jambs and head deflection channels now fully thermally broken, but all of the thermal breaks used in the new window wall system are dual-strut polyamide and multi-chambered, which aids in providing the great energy values this system can achieve. Starline Windows' new 9600 Series aluminum window wall system is another product that can meet the higher levels of the BC Energy Step Code and achieve a fenestration u-value as low as 0.165. "Naturally, there are a number of factors influencing the building envelope's energy performance and Starline feels that with the 9600 Series you can still have a full 'skin-wrap' and a greater than 50 percent window-to-wall ratio. Starline encourages the architectural and design community to reach out well ahead of development permits so they can provide feedback on what can be achieved with aluminum window wall and the 9600 Series," says Mike Harrison, architectural representative for Starline Windows. Phoenix Glass, the supplier of innovative glazing solutions, has also been mak- ing great strides of late. One of the latest projects the company is involved in is The Post, a massive mixed-use project in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Scheduled to be completed in 2023, Phoenix Glass will be assisting with the design and planning of the glazing scope. The company will also be fabricating and installing the podium curtain wall and heritage building glazing along with interior glazing throughout the building. Also in the works will be Phoenix's exterior glass canopies. Facing Forward Georgian College, Barrie, ON.

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