BAU 2011 Features Glass, Framing Innovations
January 28, 2011

BAU 2011 welcomed approximately 235,000 attendees from all over the world to Munich, Germany's Trade Fair Centre January 17-22. The trade fair featured 16 separate buildings with displays focused on architecture, building materials and systems for industrial, commercial and residential construction and for interior work. Under the theme of sustainability, the organization featured a special exhibition dedicated to the green envelope, specifically regarding windows, facades and doors.

"There were a lot of glass companies, to my impression," says Mathias Farnebo of Brunkeberg Industriutveckling AB in Sweden who attended the show. Farnebo adds, "From the glass perspective it was not as large as glasstec."

Show organizers report that more than 235,000 visitors from around the world attended BAU 2011 in Munich. Photo courtesy of BAU.

Mark Silverberg, president of Technoform North America in Twinsburg, Ohio, also attended the event. "The scale of the show is daunting; each hall seemed about as big as our Glassbuild show in total," Silverberg says. "Halls were organized along themes: window and door systems, glass, hardware and plumbing, etc. … For the window industry, the most interesting hall was one dedicated to window systems. The big European system providers - Schuco, Wicona (Hydro), Reynaers and others - had large, impressive displays."

Indeed, Thomas Lauritzen, head of corporate coordination for Schüco International KG, says, "We were virtually overrun on our stand. And we saw a big rise in the proportion of visitors from abroad, including from outside the EU. For BAU we developed a new open stand concept, on a space of 2,800 square meters. Only here can we implement this kind of design. The message was: Save energy with windows, gain energy with solar and use both together."

The company showed a wall system with interchangeable panels that use an electronic control system to select the insulating, solar or louvered panels depending on the time and temperature outside, Silverberg reports. He notes that Schuco and Reynaers both showed aluminum window systems that qualify for passive house standards (0.7 Uf and 0.8 Uf respectively- an equivalent Uf in the U.S. market for a high performing commercial aluminum frame system might be 0.16 to 0.18 Btu). Several aluminum system companies showed a variety of systems that are under 0.1

Viewers in the Schuco booth watched a live panel on architecture and energy use in construction. Photo by Mark Silverberg.

"The bar for high thermal efficiency fenestration products continues to move higher. In Germany the passive house standard is now what companies are marketing their windows to," Silverberg says. "This could be seen all over the show in many booths." He adds, "The passive house standard is reachable with aluminum systems, in addition to the other benefits of high structural performance, coatability for different colors and paint performance requirements, design flexibility and others."

Silverberg says that among his "take-aways" from the show for the North American market was: "The substantial improvement in thermal performance of window frames moves the short circuit of heat loss to glass and edge of glass. This is one reason that in the commercial market the broad emphasis and market acceptance of warm-edge spacer has been slow to grow. Now with the new high thermal performance framing systems where the frame mass has much lower thermal conductivity, the thermal performance improvements at the edge of glass improvements are magnified. Some warm-edge systems accomplish this in an extremely cost effective manner relative to other performance improvement options."

Giesse's Essenza window system with "nearly invisible" frames attracted attention at BAU. Photo by Mark Silverberg.

Among other products, Giesse premiered its new Essenza full-glazed window system at BAU. The frames are nearly invisible with minimal interruption to the inside or outside view through the unit. The manufacturer quips, "Essenza removes all disturbing structural elements and allows glass to be what it should be: transparent." Silverberg says the sliding door on display at the show attracted a lot of attention.

Farnebo says he found himself impressed by seele's display of what the company called "the world's first self-supporting insulating glass pane."

"I was most fascinated with Seele Sedak's display of a 6-meter-tall (nearly 20 feet) triple insulating glass that can be made up to 12 meters (39 feet)-and remain so rigid that no load-bearing frames are needed," Farnebo says.

The manufacturer reports that its IG features load-bearing frameworks, meaning a post-and-rail system is no longer needed. Its vertical structural strength without glazing bars results in what the manufacturer is calling a totally new form of transparency for glass facades. The multi-cavity system with its triple insulating glass ensures an outstanding thermal performance, while low-E coatings and bespoke printing can be selected as required.

Solarlux presented a new façade concept with its "Co2mfort façade," a double transparent building envelope that promotes natural ventilation. An initial heat-insulated façade made up of folding wood and glass doors envelopes the space. In front of this, a frameless floor-to-ceiling slide-and-turn system is used as a non-insulated glass layer. Both façades can be opened independently to varying degrees and may even be folded back fully, allowing bldg occupants to individually determine their preferred ambient room temperature. At BAU, the company demonstrated the façade concept using a 2-story structure with SL 65 wood and glass folding doors as the enclosure to the room and, in front of that, a transparent SL 25 XXL slide-and-turn system as a second façade skin.

The 20th BAU will take place January, 14-19, 2013, at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre.

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