Building green with channel glass

The lobby of the museum is clad in low-iron channel glass in a translucent white ceramic frit, spanning more than 7 m (22 ft) in height. Photo © Alex Fradkin
The lobby of the museum is clad in low-iron channel glass in a translucent white ceramic frit, spanning more than 7 m (22 ft) in height.
Photo © Alex Fradkin

Bird-friendly solution

Bird strikes are a real and common hazard of today’s visually stunning, glass-enclosed buildings, and a potentially jarring experience for building occupants. It is estimated more than a billion birds are killed each year due to collisions with glass in built structures.

The enormity of the ecological impact is enough that some municipalities, including Toronto, San Francisco, Oakland, and Palo Alto (California), Highland Park, and parts of Cook County (Illinois), as well as the state of Minnesota, have in recent years mandated or promoted bird-friendly architecture for new construction. Additional regulations aiming to reduce avian fatalities are being considered throughout North America.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the authority on avian-friendly architecture, tested and certified channel glass as bird-friendly. The Bird-Smart certification confirms birds can see the channel glass, helping them avoid collisions.

“Everyone has seen or heard a bird hit a window, but few realize how common it is—adding up to hundreds of millions of birds each year in the United States alone,” said Christine Sheppard, bird collisions campaign manager at ABC. “By working with companies to evaluate their glass products, we are able to proactively reduce future collisions and prevent thousands of avoidable bird fatalities.”

Channel glass corner detail at mid-point wind clips. Image courtesy Bendheim
Channel glass corner detail at mid-point wind clips.
Image courtesy Bendheim

Conclusion

Designing and constructing sustainably with “green” materials continues to remain a growing trend. According to a Dodge Data and Analytics World Green Building Trends Report, the global green building sector doubles every three years. There are more than 93,000 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects in 167 countries. Among these, channel glass has made its mark on many, including

  • Champlain Land Port of Entry, Champlain, N.Y.;
  • Silver Lake Branch Library, Los Angeles, Calif.;
  • Plymouth Library, Plymouth, Minn.;
  • Martha Washington Library, Alexandria, Va.;
  • Bronx Library Center, New York City, N.Y.;
  • Sarah Lawrence College Heimbold Visual Arts Center, Bronxville, N.Y.;
  • Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula Marina Campus Wellness Center, Marina, Calif.; and
  • New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC), New Orleans, La.

For green projects of the future, channel glass presents an opportunity to achieve sustainability in parallel with a striking design esthetic.

Michael Tryon is the general manager of the channel glass division at Bendheim. He has more than 20 years of experience in office interiors and architectural products, as well as 15 years of experience in interior and exterior channel glass wall systems. Tryon is an expert on the production, installation, esthetic requirements, and architectural applications for the 3D, U-shaped channel glass. He can be reached at mtryon@bendheim.com.

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