Brewery Throws Shade on Solar Heat Gain

AIA Priority Category:

  • Energy




Sierra Nevada Mills River Brewery


Mills River, N.C.

Design Team:


Product Specs:

M Screen Deco 5%

Originally Published:

Situated above the French Broad River just outside Asheville, NC., the Sierra Nevada Mills River Brewery features a warehouse and bottling facility, taproom and restaurant, gift shop, amphitheater, and indoor music venue, making it a “temple to craft beer.”


To increase brewing capacity, Sierra Nevada decided to open an East Coast facility— their second brewery—in North Carolina. Longtime collaborator, R.G.A. in Chico, Calif., was selected to serve as the principal design firm for the project.


Comfort, daylighting, and solar heat gain control were integral to the design, and shades would play a role in meeting all of these needs. “We realized the brewery was getting too much sun, so the incorporation of the shades was necessary,” says Russel Gallaway, principal architect, R.G.A. “Several solar studies had been conducted, and there were some unanticipated lighting challenges that the shades helped mitigate.”


In terms of sunlight control, thermal performance and occupant comfort, Mermet’s shade fabric, M Screen Deco 5%, was a well-crafted solution for the extensive project. Manufactured with high-quality yarn comprised of fiberglass and vinyl, M Screen Deco is a designer fabric featuring a unique rib weave and bi-colored yarn that adds rustic elegance to the space through its texturized appearance. The shades, which were specified at 5% openness, block approximately 95% of UV rays and transmit only 7% of total solar energy. With a visual transmission of only 7%, Mermet M Screen Deco 5% in Hazelnut substantially reduces glare in multiple spaces throughout the brewery while retaining a crisp, clear view through. Reduced glare on screens not only affects office workers, but also provides better viewing experiences for patrons watching any of the TVs on the property.

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