by Joe Erb and Brian Ludwig
We’ve spent a few recent posts exploring the ways fabricators and glaziers can meet some of the biggest challenges in the commercial space. Modern, cutting-edge building design incorporates oversized glass, massive glass facades, curved and shaped glass with code changes driving higher performance in all of it.
Not every project is a showstopper, though, and the bread and butter of our industry is delivering quality glass for quality buildings, no matter how aesthetically innovative the design. But all the same performance demands still apply and, for that reason, ongoing industry education is critically important as we move forward as an industry.
We recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the 2019 Architects’ Forum™ and Glass Expo Northeast™ ʼ19 in Uniondale, N.Y., a well-attended regional show where the appetite for information and education was as strong as you’ll find anywhere. Here are a few of our team’s takeaways:
Delivering performance with the right products. Energy efficiency has been the name of the game for a considerable time in our industry, and it’s increasingly hard to ignore the occupancy benefits that come from more, better glass throughout the indoor environments where we live and work. And beyond just energy performance, overall sustainability is moving the needle for building and construction.
Making those benefits come to life in every building is possible with readily available technology. Flexible warm-edge silicone spacers can help enhance the durability and sustainability of glazing, providing excellent thermal efficiency and structural integrity for insulating glass. Meanwhile, meeting stricter codes in commercial punched-opening applications can be simplified by selecting PVC or composite materials over the traditional framing options.
What’s more, implementing automated technologies in the plant for use with flexible spacers can help further drive efficiency for the fabricator. There’s decreased potential for errors, fewer rejected units, increased production and improved safety and ergonomics for plant employees.
The three-legged stool. Seizing the benefits provided by today’s technology in real-world applications, of course, depends on the right audiences being armed with the right information.
That includes architects, who are continually seeking new ways to enhance their designs (it’s why they attend events like Architects’ Forum in the first place). It also includes local and regional fabricators and installers, who complete the “three-legged stool” of key stakeholders required to make quality, healthy buildings a reality wherever there’s new construction happening.
There are obviously other key stakeholders in the process, but when these critical parties see value—new ways they can meet their collective challenges—they’ll seize it. But it takes united buy-in and education throughout the value chain, and that includes at the local, regional and national levels. Continued engagement and cross-functional collaboration, like what we see at shows and events like the Architect Expo, are important for the glass industry’s ongoing, united success.