The University of Washington Life Sciences Building, recently named one of the best green building projects of 2021 by the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (AIA-COTE), features integrated photovoltaic windows to the building (BIPV) and a highly transparent glass facade. made with Solarban® 72 Starphire® glass.

Devin Kleiner, AIA, LEED AP BD + C, Senior Project Architect, Associate Director, for the Seattle office of Perkins + Will, said Vitro Glass products were integral to meeting the aesthetic and performance requirements of the project. , which produced a shiny glass – wall appearance which belies its deceptively narrow window-to-wall ratio (WWR) of 48.2%.

Solarban® 72 Starphire® was selected because of its thermal performance, neutral glass color and transparent low iron glass, which made the interior even more welcoming when viewed from campus ”, he added. he explains.

This last point was essential, as the University wanted the new 12,400 square foot, 7 storey building to be more than just a laboratory and classrooms. The school also wanted an attractive location that would accommodate the thousands of students who walk across campus each day or jog along the 27-mile SeaBurke-Gilman Trail, which passes the building and its adjacent greenhouse.

“Glass transparency was important to achieving these goals while also meeting the 57% energy reduction target needed to help achieve LEED Gold certification,” Kleiner added.

As a triple silver coated low-e glass on a premium low iron glass substrate, Solarban® 72 Starphire® the glass has a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.28, offers visible light transmission (VLT) of 64% and offers U values ​​of 0.26 in summer and 0.28 in winter. The building is also 2030 challenge compliant, which means that the design, materials and products have been selected to achieve a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuels.

The atrium features extra large panels 5 feet wide by 14 feet high. Solarban® 72 Starphire® glass suspended in a point-supported glass system manufactured by Novum Structures. Reinforced with cables instead of frames, the fully glazed facade offers occupants a panoramic view of the campus. It also allows passers-by to see down the open staircase to the hall and the large landings where students, professors and researchers spontaneously interact.

On the southwest facade, tall 11-foot-tall windows bring daylight deep into the floor where the open labs are behind the offices, and the perimeter break rooms provide occupants with magnificent views of the Olympic mountains.

The same openings incorporate photovoltaic (PV) fins manufactured by Onyx Solar, which generate enough energy to meet the electrical lighting needs of the installation. “The thin-film solar technology is layered between two panes and has electrical wiring built into the design of the curtain wall,” says Kleiner.

The glass, wood veneer, metal and fiber cement facade is complemented by a cantilever box at the southwest corner. “Here, the glass was important so that the reflection of the sky and clouds was visible as the volume projected beyond the rest of the building,” he says.

To refine WWR and thermal performance. Perkins + Will performed advanced energy modeling and calculated solar heat gain for each orientation and specific uses for each interior space. This validated the decision to design an all-glass wall for the northwest elevation, which is further shaded by an adjacent building, as the opening of this space allowed it to tolerate larger temperature variations. This contrasts with the office spaces on the southeast elevation, which required more air conditioning and the use of smaller windows.

For more information on Solarban® 72 Starphire® glass and the rest of the full range of architectural glass from Vitro Glass, visit or call 1-855-VTRO-GLS (887-6457).

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