By admin

Control Hospital Access with Care

Medical facilities such as hospitals and out-patient centers require more than the usual access-control and security systems.

 

Derek Trimble, Johnson Controls Inc.

 

Its difficult enough for facilities that must remain accessible to the public, such as museums, airports, and city halls, it is particularly challenging to concurrently maintain access and the level of security needed to protect the people, property, and assets contained in that building. It is fair to say that this challenge can be even more strenuous for hospitals and medical centers, where those who are most vulnerable are welcomed, housed, treated, and visited.

Hospitals and medical centers must provide access to many people, including visitors, patients, medical professionals, and support staff. However, access must be controlled by sophisticated systems to protect patients, patient information, pharmaceuticals, and medical professionals.

Because hospitals are considered by many to be a community resource, people want to easily enter a facility and come or go at their leisure and through any door.
On the other hand, the public is quick to criticize when a security incident occurs. Hospitals are not the sanctuary they once were considered, said Fred Roll, president and principal consultant with Roll Enterprises Inc., a healthcare security consulting and training firm in Morrison, CO.

Access control defined

Access control has traditionally been one of the most important elements of a hospitals security solution. Ideally, the phrase access control refers to controlling who goes where and when. This includes providing and limiting access to people, places, and things, as well as tracking and monitoring individuals and assets. It can be as simple as locking cabinets or as complex as a formal audit trail for card access into a pharmaceutical dispensary.

According to JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Oakbrook Terrace, IL), one element of performance by which a hospitals environment of care is measured is that the hospital controls access to and egress from security-sensitive areas, as determined by the hospital.

Roll advises his clients to think of the varying levels of security sensitivity as concentric rings with intensifying access-control efforts as the circles become more focused on security-sensitive areas. For example, the outside ring would start at the property perimeter, the next ring includes access points to the building, and the most concentrated ring involves the most sensitive areas, such as the nursery and pharmaceutical storage.

Employees and visitors

The original access-control device, the key-and-lock system, deters casual unauthorized access attempts but does not provide feedback, through an alarm for example, on these attempts. The advent of electronic access control allows monitoring of unauthorized access attempts. It also introduced a new class of keys that were not keys at all. The earliest key substitutes were insert devices, such as tokens, Holerith cards, and barium ferrite cards. Those were followed by swipe cards and numeric keypads. But insert/swipe cards and their readers are subject to wear and tear and require maintenance.

Unfortunately, some medical facilities are still using code locks as a level of protection, and they often do not follow protocols in changing the codes, said Roll. Most that use electronic access controls are still at the swipe card level of technology and are seriously looking to upgrade to proximity [technology].

Proximity cards use radio frequency (RF) technology. This contact-free solution reduces wear on cards and readers, and is more convenient for the staff.

Although not yet commonplace in hospitals and medical centers today, smart cards represent the state of the art in the evolution of the card. The chips in smart cards are capable of storing large amounts of data, performing calculations for encryption, or supporting an operating system on some of the more advanced cards.

Furthermore, data can be written to or read from smart cards on the fly. Thus a card used for access control could also hold additional information and carry other application-specific data.

The ability to incorporate many individual identifiers onto a single media makes this access control solution easier and more cost effective to administer, and provides a tighter degree of security. For example, hybrid solutions can handle a bar code for inventory control, a photo of the employee for identification, a dollar value for use in …

View More

By admin

No Noise, No Odor for Hospital Roofs

No Noise, No Odor for Hospital Roofs

Self-adhesive roofing membranes make hospital roof
replacement possible without disturbing patients.

 

Roofing a hospital involves special consideration for many reasons. Noise, odors, and safety are inherent concerns for a facility of this nature. Hospitals are also high-traffic, sensitive facilities that must remain functional throughout construction.

Using Polyglass Self Adhesive roofing membrane on the Flushing Hospital Medical Center in New York City, made it possible to replace the roof area above the maternity ward without generating the noise and/or odors that accompany installation of conventional roofing systems.

While the use of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in roofing has diminished, it is still a good part of the process. Because the smell of the roofing process makes its way through windows, ventilation, and mechanical systems, hospital building facilitators are looking for cleaner roofing systems for buildings with sensitive needs.

A prime example of a hospital that dealt with roofing odor issues was Flushing Hospital Medical Center, New York City. In need of a new roofing system, they had to consider not only VOCs and smell, but also noise. The maternity ward was located directly below the area that needed to be re-roofed. It was critical that the area be re-roofed, yet it had to be invisible and odorless to the tiny patients below.

The product of choice was a roofing membrane that, although somewhat new to the market, offers a strong alternative for special-needs facilities. The product is a self-adhesive roofing membrane that eliminates the VOCs associated with conventional roofing systems.

Self adhesive roofing membranes have met the need for sensitive buildings. They avoid the need for mechanical fastenings, which traditionally are the main cause of installation noise. They also do not use hot asphalt that can produce harmful odors, said John Martone, vice president of operation for L. Martone and Sons, Inc., Glen Cove, NY, the roofing contractor for Flushing Hospital.

The self-adhesive roofing membrane used on the Flushing hospital eliminated the need for mechanical fasteners and the noise that accompanies that type of installation. Reducing noise is critical in roofing applications involving special-needs buildings such as medical centers.

Across the continental U.S. and the Pacific Ocean, St. Francis Medical Center, located in Honolulu, encountered the same issues of finding a roofing system that would comply with the hospitals noise and odor restrictions.

Once we removed the existing roof, the project needed to be invisible, said Gui Akasaki, owner of Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing in Honolulu, and the roofing contractor of choice for St. Francis. Roof renovation for a hospital is a major event. We always recommend the use of self-adhesive membranes. The hospital does not want us to use a product that would smell. The self-adhesives eliminate odor along with noise, dust, and other logistical issues.

Known for its critical-care units and trauma center, the St. Francis Medical Center had specifiers, architects, and contractors working together to find a product that would be able to meet all of these requirements. We used Polyglass Self Adhesive roofing membranes, manufactured by Polyglass USA Inc., Fernley, NV. The self-adhesive technology of the membranes met every requirement the hospital established, Akasaki said. The hospital set the standards and we were able to design a roof system that would meet its needs.…

View More

By admin

Siding Puts Fresh Face On Military Base Conversion

In search of a siding product to remedy the warehouse problems, McClellan Park representatives contacted Advantage Building Products, Rancho Cordova, CA. “The condition of the siding was extremely bad,” said Mike Flanagan, Advantage president. “It got to the point where paint would barely adhere to the shingles, and the paint that did would crack and peel away quickly.”

According to Flanagan, the representatives were seeking a product that was appealing to the eye, durable, and, most important, maintenance-free, due to the hundreds of buildings they are responsible for maintaining at the business park.

“Based on their needs, it was easy for me to recommend [Columbus, OH-based] Crane Performance Siding’s CraneBoard solid-core siding as the best exterior siding product for the warehouses,” Flanagan said. “Having carried CraneBoard for more than six years, I’ve had the opportunity to view the success of the product. It has a proven track record of standing up to natural elements, such as the sun, wind, and rain, as well as abuse initiated by other factors.”

CraneBoard’s superior performance can be attributed to several factors, including the product’s ColorLife Fade Defense, an advanced color-protection formula using Florham Park, NJ-based BASF’s Luran S technology. Containing special pigments that reflect the sun and ensure minimal weathering or color distortion, the product’s colors remain fresh and true for the life of the siding. Its ability to endure the elements alleviates tasks such as scraping, painting, and staining.

Built with an insulated solid-core foam backing that strengthens panels, CraneBoard can handle manmade abuse as well. As a result of this construction, the product is 300% more impact resistant than typical vinyl siding-eliminating almost all possibility of unappealing dents. The foam backing also provides energy efficiency and noise reduction.

Through Dwayne Cody, Crane’s Western regional sales manager, Flanagan and McClellan Park management agreed to have Panther Corp., Jefferson, OR, outfit a total of six warehouses with CraneBoard Double 7 solid-core siding.

Panther used more than 600 squares of siding to encapsulate the six structures. Double 7 features a configuration of two, 7-in. boards on top of one another to match the profile and look of cedar, including a deep wood-grain texture and full shadow lines. Due to the product’s insulated foam backing, each board features a perfectly straight profile not found with typical vinyl siding.

The siding’s construction also eases the installation process. The product’s CraneSpan design allows manufacture of wider (than conventional) boards, which in turn increases the panel size. Compared with fiber cement, wood, and ordinary vinyl siding units, these panels cover more than twice the area.

“The wider boards and foam backing are very easy to install, especially on buildings with large, flat surface areas. CraneBoard goes up quickly and always provides a smooth, straight appearance,” said Keeton Epps, owner of Panther Corp.

Upon completion of the six warehouses, CraneBoard received nothing but rave reviews from McClellan Park representatives.…

View More

By admin

Rehabbed Building Gets “Green” Doors

The Univ. of Washington School of Medicine’s medical research and development facility is housed in a former utility building that was gutted and remodeled with wood-veneer doors from VT Industries.

 

 
Approximately 225 five-ply, wood-veneer doors from VT Industries were used in the renovation of the utility building that houses the Univ. of Washington School of Medicine’s new medical research and development facility.

When the Univ. of Washington (U of W) School of Medicine, Seattle, needed an off-campus medical research and development facility, it chose to renovate the former Washington Natural Gas utility building, which was known by those in the area as “The Blue Flame Building.”

The U of W’s School of Medicine, which is the only medical school within a five-state region and one of the country’s leading research and training institutions, was designed to be environmentally sound. Although the utility building’s shell remained in place, the building was gutted and renovated from the ground up. Builders Hardware & Supply Co., Seattle, became involved with this project because the architect and contractor had worked with Holstein, IA-based VT Industries Inc.’s area sales representative on previous projects.

While Doug Gerbing at Builders Hardware worked on the hardware specifications, VT’s Norm Jost worked with the medical research and development facility on its wood-door specifications. Martha Tackett, contract consultant, Builders Hardware, and VT Industries also worked together with Mike Matter, project manager, Turner Construction, Seattle, on the project. Builders Hardware provided the hardware, architectural wood doors, hollow metal doors, and frames for the entire project. The specification was written around the university’s desire to have an environmentally friendly project.

The majority of the wood doors throughout the project were non-rated and 20-min. units made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) SmartWood certified stave core lumber. SmartWood is a sustainable forestry program administered by the Rainforest Alliance, New York, an international conservation organization. The project also consisted of 60- and 90-min. singles and pairs, depending on their exact application within the building. “With this project, the university was very willing to be environmentally friendly with what they chose for the project,” Tackett reported. “It has never actually gone for LEED certification and, because of the building type, we probably would not have quite gotten there. Instead, it as all about using strong principles and doing what everyone thought was the right thing,” Matter said.

All of the approximately 225 doors used in the project are five-ply, wood-veneer construction. For the building’s common areas, the veneer is plain sliced American Cherry with a clear factory finish. The majority of doors are installed in laboratory areas and are plain sliced White Maple veneer with a custom factory finish.

“My role as the wood door consultant was to estimate, detail, and manage the wood door part of the project,” Tackett explained. The project involved several architectural changes, finish, and size approvals that needed to be met.…

View More

By admin

Update Automated Power Systems On The Fly

Many facilities require reliable power-control systems to keep HVAC, lighting, and critical equipment running at all times. Replacing outdated control systems is not always the most effective approach.

 

Douglas H. Sandberg

 

Prime, emergency, and standby on-site power systems that are more than 10 years old may be outdated and even incapable of providing adequate power to automated systems and conventional power loads that must operate around the clock. Why is that, considering that engine-generator sets and power-transfer switching mechanisms are so durable? There are a number of reasons.

Foremost is that equipment controls become obsolete comparatively quickly. While engine-generator technology has remained fairly consistent, controls have evolved from bulky electromechanical relays to basic transistors and now to programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Today’s controllers offer tremendous flexibility for designers, owners, and those who maintain them. The control logic remains pretty much the same as with relays, but changes and updates are made within a software program. There’s no need to add relays, timers, or to re-wire components. PLCs are faster, offer greater functionality, and are more precise and reliable than previous control technologies.

Exponential advances in control technology are the primary reason controls become obsolete relatively quickly. The result is an on-site power system that uses a mix of durable machinery (engine-generators, fuel systems, ventilation systems, and load banks) and controls that are subject to premature obsolescence.

This situation creates real problems for building managers, hospital engineers, consultants, and anyone else charged with maintaining life-sustaining infrastructures. It’s a dichotomy and raises a serious question: What can you do?

The first step is to understand the three basic control groups of an on-site power system:

  • Sensory inputs. These are sensors that monitor oil pressure, coolant and exhaust temperature, and fuel supply.
  • The brain. This is a central controller, such as a PLC, that acts on sensory inputs.
  • Active and passive outputs. An active output shuts down an engine when oil pressure drops below a pre-set limit. A passive output turns on an indicator light or sends an alert.

Besides engine-generators, two other systems are required for on-site, power-transfer switches and monitoring and control capabilities.

Automatic transfer switches
Automatic transfer switches also have experienced some of the same issues as engine generators. The switching mechanism has remained durable over many years, while advances in technology have greatly improved control technology. The transfer switch is the system that makes it possible to transfer loads from one power source to another. Without it, on-site power systems as we know them today would not exist.

There are four types of workhorse transfer switches: open transition, closed transition, delayed transition, and soft load.

The open-transition transfer switch breaks from one power source before it connects with another.

The closed-transition transfer switch also breaks from the utility, or normal, source when power fails before connecting to on-site power. When utility power returns, however, this transfer switch transfers loads back to utility power before it breaks the connection with on-site power. This ensures continuous power to critical loads.

The delayed-transition transfer switch delays load transfers to allow large electrical fields, associated with large inductive loads, to collapse before connecting with another power source. This limits potentially damaging in-rush current.

The soft-load transfer switch enables both normal and on-site active power sources to be simultaneously connected to loads. By paralleling the normal, or utility, source and the on-site power source, loads can be “walked” from one source to the other by increasing or decreasing engine-generator loading.

These transfer switches also are available with bypass isolation capability. A manual transfer switch is integrated with the automatic transfer switch, which allows the automatic transfer switch to be taken off line for maintenance while still protecting critical loads.

Monitoring and control capabilities
Advances in technology and computers, and the advent of the Internet, make it possible to be thousands of miles away, yet still monitor the operation of your critical system and, in some cases, control it as well. Controls may be managed with a PC, laptop, or PDA-type device.

Today, real-time monitoring, trending, and management of critical systems are realities from just about anywhere in the world. The ease of operation, flexibility, and functionality offered by current monitoring and control …

View More

By admin

Hospital Kitchen Gets A “Homey” Touch

At the heart of the kitchen is a Cambria peninsula-style kitchen table surrounded by perimeter countertops. Cambria’s Nottingham color, a choice from its popular Quarry Collection, is featured throughout the kitchen. It was selected because of its rich, radiant color, and blends beautifully with the entire kitchen design. Cambria donated nearly 100 sq. ft. of product and installation services for both the kitchen renovation and a bathroom update.

The children’s hospital and the DIY network were looking for a countertop manufacturer partner that offered a food-safe and easy-to-maintain product so families needn’t spend a lot of time cleaning or worrying about food-safety issues. Cambria fit the criteria because it is virtually non-absorbent and is certified for commercial use by the National Sanitation Foundation Int’l., Ann Arbor, MI. Additionally, no special maintenance is required and the countertops do not need sealing, buffing, or reconditioning.

The kitchen renovation project can be viewed one the…

View More

By admin

Avoid the Landfill by Recycling Vinyl Roofing

The time has come to establish a post-consumer, vinyl-roof recycling program in the U.S.

 

Carl De Leon, Vinyl Roofing Div., CFFA

 

Skyrocketing raw-material costs, higher landfill tipping fees, legislation to restrict disposal of construction materials-and an architectural community that demands the lightest environmental footprint that can be achieved-all are leading toward the mainstreaming of post-consumer recycling. In the not-too-distant future, specifiers will call for post-consumer content in a roof project. With its European counterparts blazing the trail, the North American vinyl (PVC) roofing industry has entered a new phase in its commitment to environmental sustainability through recycling.

Because thermoplastic single-ply vinyl membrane can be heated and reformed repeatedly over its lifespan, it has long been an industry best practice to recover production trimmings and scrap and recycle the material into new membrane. Well-run, properly equipped vinyl-membrane production plants are capable of converting virtually all of the raw material and components that go into making the membrane into the final installed roof system (or other applications).

The re-roofing of Boston’s Marriott Long Wharf hotel was a pilot project with an ideal recycling scenario. The project was close to the membrane manufacturer’s head office, and a local recycler had an established program for handling thermal insulation.

Typical post-industrial recycled products have included accessories such as roofing walkway pads, commercial-grade flooring, and concrete expansion joints. In addition, scrap can be reintroduced as a raw material into a subsequent membrane-manufacturing process. Some roofing manufacturers collect their customers’ scrap, as well as the general-purpose scrap of other vinyl fabricators, for reuse in production of new membranes.

Building on this track record, the member manufacturers of the Vinyl Roofing Div. of the Chemical Fabrics & Film Association (CFFA), Cleveland, have initiated a feasibility study to evaluate strategies for making post-consumer recycling workable on a broad scale, as it has been in Europe for many years.

Where it began
Vinyl roofs have been in use for more than 40 years in Europe, and roofing manufacturers there have been recycling retired roofs into other useful products since 1994. That was the year a consortium of companies funded the construction and operation of a facility in Germany to reclaim the growing volume of vinyl membranes at the end of their service lives, and return them to the original manufacturers.

Over the years, the material taken back has been used in a variety of applications, including as feedstock in the production of new roofing membranes. Typically incorporated into the back side of the sheet where potential color variations are not a factor, the recovered material can comprise 5% to 15% by weight of the finished product. Reports from the field indicate that, at 10+ years of age, the first membranes made with recycled post-consumer material are performing the same as membranes produced of virgin raw materials.

Today, RoofCollect, a European Single Ply Waterproofing Association (ESWA) program, (www.eswa.be), coordinates the recovery and processing of post-consumer vinyl roofing membranes. In conjunction with the European Commission, ESWA sets annual targets for post-consumer roof recycling. In 2006, 4.4 million lb. of roofing membrane were recycled due to the efforts of the association.

ESWA is now working with the recycler Interseroh (Cologne, Germany) to establish a pan-European collection system that would facilitate recycling in closer proximity to the job site. ESWA is also investigating strategies for incorporating higher percentages of recycled material into finished membranes.

Less is more
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, construction and demolition waste total an estimated 136 million tons annually. The vinyl roofing industry is committed to combining existing post-consumer recycling technologies with logistical expertise to limit its contribution to these numbers.

Post-consumer recycling of vinyl roof membranes in the U.S. began in 1999. Working in tandem with a vinyl membrane manufacturer, a Massachusetts recycling company produced a highway cold-patching material made from old vinyl roofing membranes and other recovered plastics. Today, state-of-the-art grinding equipment makes it possible to process roofing membrane and convert it into feedstock for new materials.

Only membranes that have been mechanically attached or loose laid have been reprocessed in North America. There is no experience as yet with membranes that have been adhered to insulation or to other substrates, but …

View More

By admin

Laundry Facility Goes HighTech, Inside and Out

To meet current and future laundry demands, SOMC consolidated its laundry services and highlighted the building’s exterior with metal composite wall panels.

 

SOMC’s new laundry facility features a FormaBond exterior with a deep-blue coating.

To consolidate laundry services into one building, house new equipment, and make ergonomic and efficiency improvements, Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) built a new facility and highlighted the structure’s administrative area. The new facility allows the department, which handles more than 7,000 lb. of laundry each day, to meet current and future needs and creates the capacity needed to begin marketing linen services to other healthcare providers.

SOMC is an acute-, health-care system in Portsmouth, OH, comprised of a primary-care hospital, five satellite centers, an urgent-care center, a long-term care facility, and a retirement center. Departments and facilities located at the East Campus include Hospice of Southern Ohio, Staff Development, Community Relations, and the laundry facility.
To put the spotlight on the administrative area, SOMC used approximately 1,360 sq. ft. of FormaBond from Centria, Moon Township, PA, with a deep-blue coating called night horizon blue. The SOMC project marked the product’s debut. The project also specified three Centria exposed-fastener panel profiles and the Formavue 200 window system.

“We were very pleased with this project and hope to specify FormaBond again,” said Bob McGregor, project architect, Tanner Stone & Co. architectural firm in Portsmouth, OH.

FormaBond metal composite wall panels are formed, complete with rain screen, pressure-equalized joinery, and delivered from the factory to the job site, ready to install. This minimizes shipping and fabrication costs and time delays associated with traditional aluminum composite materials, where fabrication represents an additional step. FormaBond offers a dry seal, complete design flexibility, and customization with crisp folds, smooth curves, and sharp corners. The smooth aluminum face and liner is 60% thicker than conventional aluminum-composite materials and features a standard highly cross-linked polymeric core that meets fire-code requirements for both low- and high-rise buildings.

Exposed-fastener-profile wall panels are highly versatile and can be installed horizontally or vertically. These field-assembled panels feature all-weather installation capability that minimizes delays and allows fast-track scheduling. The panels are available insulated in combination with a metal liner panel or as the exterior single skin element in a multi-component wall design and can be used as walls, roofs, liners, and soffits.

Formavue window systems are designed to integrate with the company’s panel joinery, resulting in a high performance window/panel interface, and eliminating the problem of coordinating window and metal panel intersections. The advanced, thermally improved design features a thermal barrier that minimizes through-metal conductivity, while maintaining structural integrity.…

View More

By admin

Cladding With Copper

The versatility, appearance, and durability of copper cladding have increased demand for the material both as an exterior covering and building trim.

 

Mark Kenville

 

Long life and low maintenance are the driving forces behind any commercial building exterior treatment. Of the many available options, metal has emerged as the cladding of choice in many parts of the country. In New England, there has been a notable trend by designers and builders to use copper cladding for new construction and renovations. The metal has become particularly popular in school designs.

“Our firm uses a lot of metal cladding in our educational designs,” said Pip Lewis, AIA, a senior associate at HMFH Architects Inc., Cambridge, MA. “More often than not, we use copper panels over other manufactured metals. We like using copper because of its longevity, as well as its appealing look. I like to add copper for some punch to a design, even if it’s only in a canopy over an entryway. Copper adds a tactile depth of texture and conveys a great sense of quality as you’re entering the building.”v

The entrance to the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Beaver Country Day School uses copper cladding to visually connect the new building with the old classroom building. Brick further enhances the architectural integration.

Additionally, Lewis noted that copper is a slightly less expensive than brick and does not require any maintenance. “Copper lasts for years. Although the patinas will change slightly, it doesn’t need repainting like other metals,” Lewis said

Similarly, Dan Flanagan, division manager for institutional work at Erland Construction, Burlington, MA, commented that, in his experience, metal has become more popular in school building projects. “We’ve been involved in the construction of several educational buildings where metal cladding has been used prominently. Metals are more flexible in design and aren’t as costly as brick,” he said. He added that his company had completed a number of school projects recently that incorporated copper in a variety of design elements.

This movement toward use of copper on building exteriors is driven by its durability and attractiveness. It is a highly malleable metal that is easily fabricated, will not rust or corrode, and never needs painting. Because of its environmentally friendly qualities, copper is being incorporated into many university projects to generate LEED credits and certification.”

An example of this trend can be seen at the Beaver Country Day School, Chestnut Hill, MA, where copper cladding was instrumental in integrating the modern design of a new visual and performing arts center with the architecture of 80-yr.-old New England brick structures.

Beaver Country Day School was incorporated in 1920 by a group of Boston-area parents who wished to have a “progressive” school where students were taught through creativity and play, as well as hard work. Today, the school is a private, independent, co-educational, college-preparatory institution with 410 students in grades 6 through 12. In 1999, the school initiated a master plan to meet its growing academic program and an anticipated increase in enrollment, while maintaining its standard of educational excellence. HMFH Architects was hired in early 2002 to plan and design an expansion and renovation of the existing 17-acre wooded campus to address program needs in performing and visual arts and athletics.

One of the priority projects was to address the need for a substantial amount of additional space for visual and performing arts. Although renovating and expanding underused existing space was initially considered, the decision was made to construct a new facility and connect it to the existing main classroom building.

For Lewis, being charged with designing the school’s new Visual and Performing Arts Center involved incorporating a state-of-the-art facility with the existing buildings of the school’s campus-some of which dated back to the 1920s. It was a project full of endless creative possibilities.

“Officials at the school did not place any restrictions on the facility design,” Lewis said. “There were no preconceived thoughts on how it should look.” Yet, Lewis recognized that the building was part of a long-established New England educational environment and needed to harmonize with the surroundings. While several designs were proposed, a brick structure with exterior copper cladding and accents helped bridge the …

View More

By admin

Window Film Repels Solar Heat

Occupants of Inlow Hall at Eastern Oregon Univ., an historical building, used a spectrally selective window film to reduce the effects of solar heat while not compromising the building’s appearance

 

According to the California Energy Commission, 30% of a building’s cooling requirement is a function of heat entering through existing glass. Carol Kroll, director of human resources at Eastern Oregon Univ., La Grande, OR, certainly is a believer in that statistic. Her office in Inlow Hall, the university administration building, faces a wall of glass through which the sun often raised temperatures to more than 90 F.

Thanks to V-Kool’s clear, spectrally selective window film, Inlow Hall occupants are able to work in a cooler environment.

“It was impossible to work in the afternoons,” Kroll declared, explaining that an air-conditioning unit in an outer office did little to cool things down. In an effort to block incoming solar energy, Kroll applied gold- and silver-colored heat reflective film to the interior of her office windows. The result was not much of a drop in temperature but a definite raising of administrative eyebrows.

“Inlow Hall is an historic structure whose appearance can’t be altered,” Kroll explained. The use of colored film on her office windows was very visible and substantially changed the external appearance of the two-story building, which was built in 1929 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Rather than jeopardize the revered building’s enlistment in the National Register, Kroll removed the colored film from her office windows and tried less-obvious heat blocking options, including traditional window blinds and shower curtain rods from which was hung a room-darkening fabric. Nothing seemed to bring the temperature to acceptable levels.

Fortunately, Kroll learned about V-Kool clear window film, manufactured by V-Kool Inc., Houston. The product was originally developed for the United State’s space and defense programs and with a process known as sputtering in which tiny particles of exotic metals are embedded in optically clear, durable polyester film. A durable, pressure-sensitive adhesive is adhered on one side of the film. On the other side is a durable scratch-resistant coating to ensure a long life. V-Kool is spectrally selective and allows in 73% of visible light, while blocking more than 90% of the infrared spectrum. This means windows remain visibly clear but cut out 55% of the solar heat.

“We were particularly interested in V-Kool because it is a clear film that blocks heat, reduces the temperature, and does not change the appearance of a building,” Kroll explained.…

View More