Advancements in Commercial Entrances and Framing
07:04:44 AM on 03/24/2010
In my last post I mentioned the increased energy efficiencies of buildings and the security of building and entrance doors. This time I'll take a quick look at the framing we commonly call storefronts. The same issues of improved thermal performance and building security are on the minds of architects and owners for all glass areas not just the entrance doors.
We've come a long way in improving thermal performance relative to framing. We have gone from an aluminum frame with 1/4" glass, to an aluminum frame with 1" insulating glass. From there we moved to an aluminum frame with a polyurethane Pour & Debridge thermal break with 1" insulating glass to an aluminum frame with a polyamide strut thermal break with 1" insulating glass. All these improvements have taken place over the course of approximately 40 plus years. And, the thing is, we keep trying to improve the performance of the aluminum frame. In most cases, the entire opening is usually controlled by the glass infills as it generally consists of up to 85% of the opening. With the aluminum framing thermal break technology and high performance glass of today, are we at the limits of what we can expect for overall system thermal performance? I have an opinion. What’s yours?
Cross section of non-thermal Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) 450 framing with 1/4" glass shown at left and thermal Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) 451T framing shown at right with polyurethane pour and debridge thermal break highlighted in red.
Click image to enlarge >
Storefront framing and security - how do they go together? Over the years we have gone from aluminum frames with annealed glass to aluminum frames with laminated glass to meet requirements of smash and grab, bullet resistance, hurricane resistance and blast mitigation. All these can be accomplished with the use of aluminum frames and a variation of a laminated glass product. Even though the details may look similar, a piece of laminated glass structurally siliconed into an aluminum frame; the design and performance varies greatly. A good hurricane resistant design may not necessarily equal a good blast resistant design, nor does a good bullet resistant design necessarily equal a good blast mitigation design. The bottom line is that aluminum storefront framing systems combined with the correct glazing can equal building security for its occupants.
Now that I've shared a few more thoughts with you, I would like to know what you think. Do you think aluminum framing will continue to meet the challenging needs of building energy efficiencies and security moving forward? What changes do you see coming for future entrance and framing designs?
Storefronts, Entrances and Framing