Energy Efficiency, Sustainability in the Limelight at Facades Design Conference
September 8, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

The first day of the 2nd Façades Design & Delivery Conference was filled with several examples of best practices examples projects, attendees say.

The conference takes place September 7-9 in Los Angeles. USGlass magazine is a co-sponsor of the event. The first Façades Design & Delivery Conference was held in New York in January.

John Rovi, who handles business development for Curtain Wall Design & Consulting Inc. in Dallas, spoke today on reflectivity of buildings and how to avoid problems by modeling any building in the world and view the sun's rays any day of the year for any hour of the day. "We [had] an example of several existing buildings with reflective issues and compare it to some of the new buildings being built," he says.

"The conference had a nice balance of architects, installers, and owners as speakers," Rovi adds. "The conference is run very well with a schedule that is fitting to the content. The need for open and honest dialog is important when a conference like this is held. There were two occasions to exchange ideas between the panel and audience to talk through some of these issues."

About 70 people are attending the conference, says Mic Patterson, director of strategic development at Enclos Corp. in Eagan, Minn., adding that the tightly honed attendance is deliberate. "It's a very focused group, and they want to keep it close-knit and hands-on," he says. The three-day conference is filled with workshops and there are only three booths or exhibitors.

This conference has successfully picked up on where the first conference left off, Patterson says. "Some new topical information has been introduced, but both the conferences are rich in dialogue, and are very valid forums for exploring trends," he says. "They are educational, and I'm seeing things emerge and becoming trends, like shading systems, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), new photovoltaic (PV) products and rationalization of complex of façade geometries. BIPV is coming on slowly. Electrochromic glass seems to be moving fast, with some significant improvements in cost and availability imminent. Energy efficiency is increasingly about energy balance - daylighting and solar gain. A new version of COMFEN by LBNL is proving to be a robust front end conceptual design tool for architects and facade designers. There also has been more dialogue on double-skin facades and project delivery."

Integrated project delivery has been a major topic of discussion, says Allen Davidson, architectural products manager at W&W Glass LLC in Nanuet, N.Y. "Architects are looking for facades to be integrated in project delivery," he says. "A lot of projects have been discussed, and their architectural challenges, such as the Sea-Tac central terminal, the Gugenheim and the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. Energy-efficient innovations in Europe also have been a topic of discussion."

While Rovi says the L.A. conference has been comparable to the N.Y. event in terms of content, the space and ability to network is much better in LA than N.Y.

Patterson adds that the goal is to have the conference both on the East Coast and the West Coast, but there has been talk of one in Chicago as well.

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