The Outdoor Connection

Guardian SunGuard glass products balance high performance with light transmittance and the right aesthetic at state-of-the-art Owego Elementary School. Architect Highland Associates were charged with replacing a structure destroyed by Tropical Storm Lee with a high-performing envelope that meets LEED Silver certification.

“The spaces have a sense of relaxed vitality that comes only with a strong connection to the outdoors,” explains David Degnon, senior associate, Highland Assoc. “This would not be possible without the strategic use of specialized glass products such as Guardian SunGuard glass. With glass making up such a large part of the façade, the color and appearance had to be right.

The neutral cast of SunGuard SNX 62/27 coated glass complemented the palate extremely well, says Degnon. “We designed with the thought that the day-to-night appearance, color and transparency of the glass was an expressive façade material.” The use and placement of glass on the façades allows the building to glow and expose its inner activity, and be a lantern to the community.

The design provides unobstructed views of the outdoors in more than 90% of occupied spaces, an important consideration given that multiple studies prove students perform better with natural light and outside views.

Degnon explains, “SunGuard SNX 62/27 coated glass was selected as the base glass because of its balance of performance vs. light transmittance. To increase the thermal performance, we initially looked at a triple-pane system. Because of the added complexity of the laminated glass, the curtainwall system would have become a custom system. This would have dramatically increased the cost of the façade. The solution was to use argon for the airspace and to couple that with SunGuard IS 20 coating. This combination achieves triple-pane performance in a laminated, double-pane system.

SunGuard IS 20 coated glass helps bring the U-value performance of double-glaze units closer to that of triple-glaze and improves performance in buildings and climates where maximum heat flow resistance is desired while still allowing abundant natural light. This combination of SunGuard products, fabricated by J.E. Berkowitz and installed by Forno Enterprises, has a 60% visible light transmission and a 0.26 solar heat gain coefficient, for an impressive light-to-solar gain ratio of 2.34.

“Having Guardian involved early in the process helped us avoid any challenges that may have otherwise manifested themselves during the design and construction phases,” says Degnon. “We looked at numerous glass types and configurations until we selected a glass that met the specific needs for this project. From general questions to field conflicts, the Guardian team was a trusted resource on a very complex project.” 

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