Residential Showcase Utilizes Sto Ventec Glass Facade

Architect's stunning new home in Virginia is the first to incorporate Sto Ventec exterior glass panels.

StoVentec Glass facades have been widely used in Europe for years, and are just now being introduced in the U.S. The product works well as both an external rainscreen cladding system, and as an internal decorative option.

StoVentec Glass is an advanced ventilated rainscreen cladding system consisting of a glass-faced composite panel, thermal insulation, and sub-construction. The result is an engineered, high performance façade with a sleek, elegant look.

Architect Jeff Davenport, a principal at Perkins & Will, chose such a StoVentec Glass panel system for his private residence on Lake Anna in Louisa County, Virginia. It is the first such installation in the country, and based on the stunning results, will most certainly generate future use of this versatile, highly functional product.

The contemporary plan initially called for metal panels, but the contractor on the project, Pillar Construction, suggested StoVentec Glass panels, which would provide better insulation and incredible aesthetics.  In addition to the advanced rain screen cladding with a back-ventilated system and air cavities for drainage, StoVentec Glass panels also offer thermal and sound insulation.

Opaque glass panels wrap around the entire entertainment, fireplace area as well as the garage façade.

Part of the Ventec manufacturing process includes the fusion of color onto the back of the glass. The color melts into the glass, creating permanent colored glass panels that will not wear, scratch, fade or incur water damage. Vivid colors and different panel size options are available, offering many aesthetic choices for either new-build or renovation, which you can learn about here.


Mineral Wool For Building Exteriors

Mineral wool insulated exteriors offer tremendous performance as well as a wide range of aesthetics.

Sto Product Manager Karine Galla recently penned a piece in Construction Specifier on mineral wool as an option to enhance the thermal performance of continuous insulation on a building’s exterior.  While mineral wool has been around for over a century, the article provides an overview on how the insulation is produced today and outlines its many attributes for exterior facades.

Mineral wool is typically made from a combination of melted volcanic rock and steel slag spun into a mass of fine, intertwined fibers. These fibers conduct heat very well, but when pressed into rolls and sheets they create an excellent insulator. In addition to its thermal performance, mineral wool also appeals to designers and specifiers because of its fire resistance. Since mineral wool insulations are naturally noncombustible, they will not burn or release harmful smoke and hot gases.

Mineral wool is also vapor permeable, with a vapor rating of up to 50. This means water vapor can readily diffuse throughout the material; it will not retain water. Since most mineral wool products are made from more than 50% post-industrial recycled content, and contribute so significantly to energy conservation, they are also considered very “sustainable”.

As a result of these performance virtues, mineral wool is increasingly used in building exteriors. Especially when builders are looking to mitigate fire risk, noise intrusion, and energy waste, as well as ensuring moisture control in an “all-in-one-solution”.

Mineral wool insulation has been widely used in industrial settings such as petroleum refineries and power plants, as well as for lofts, cavity walls, flat roofs and heating systems. It has also been used as an insulation layer behind various claddings such as curtain walls, rainscreen facades and exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS).

While suggesting that mineral wool products warrant consideration, Galla also outlines some of the product’s challenges and important factors to consider in designing a wall assembly with mineral wool insulation. These include: air and moisture control, detailing solutions at the joints and seams, making wind load calculations, ensuring fastener longevity, and determining impact resistance.


Sto Awarded Coveted ISO Certifications

Sto manufacturing was once again awarded important ISO certifications confirming their commitment to the highest industry standards and building with conscience.

Sto Corp. has received renewals for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certifications at all of its US facilities, once again demonstrating the company’s commitment to excellence in product manufacturing, customer service and environmental safety.

The ISO certifications are granted by the International Organization for Standardization, which promotes proprietary industrial and commercial performance standards and sets the bar for organizations.  The certifications are a valuable trademark in the manufacturing sector providing a sales and marketing advantage to those who achieve ISO approval, as well as creating a benchmark and best practices for improving business processes.

The ISO 9001:2015 certification is for a proven Quality Management System that consistently provides products that meet customer requirements and deliver customer satisfaction while fulfilling legal and regulatory obligations. The ISO 14001:2015 certification recognizes an established Environmental Management System that meets the ISO standards for minimizing the environmental impacts of its company operations and practices.

“We are proud to carry both ISO certifications, as we strive to create an on-time, quality product while enhancing our company’s environmental performance,” said Teal Rooks, ISO Environmental Health & Safety Manager for Sto Corp.


Winter is Here & StoPanel Can Help

StoPanel installation can save valuable time and money, especially in the winter months.

As inclement weather descends upon construction projects across the country, now is a good time to remember the incredible value of prefabricated, insulated exterior wall systems by Sto.

Because panel manufacturing is done off-site and indoors, there are fewer weather delays.  Because the time to install a panel system is far less than a conventional building envelope, it enables builders to better weather the winter months and make the most of their construction calendar.

Regardless of the weather, prefabricated wall systems can compress a construction schedule, and make for a faster build time.  In addition to saving time, lightweight, continuous insulation StoPanels can also save money.

There are countless testimonials and examples of how StoPanels have saved on construction costs and greatly reduced the time of building envelope installation.


Discover the Inviting Sto Project Gallery

The Nike Headquarters in Oregon is one of the many projects featured in the Sto Gallery.

The Sto Project Gallery is a terrific visual resource for architects, developers and builders. Accessible via the Sto website, this library of portfolio images provides a snapshot of the company’s broad range of capabilities, showcasing finished projects that have utilized Sto products. Each profile illustrates how Sto building materials have solved technical challenges, improved efficiency, and enhanced aesthetic appeal,

 

The gallery can be cross-referenced by Building Type, Building Technology and Country.  Whether you’re looking to do restoration work or new construction, the site features case studies in 9 different building sectors – from medical facilities, to multi-family, and commercial office space.

The Forum in Barcelona, Spain is an entertainment complex featuring StoVentec Facade.

The projects in the gallery also highlight the company’s broad range of products — from air and moisture barriers to pre-fab panels and specialty finishes. After more than half a century showcasing the Sto brand, the global company has many milestones to share.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. is a study in continuous insulation with StoTherm ci Essence.

An excellent reference point and inspiration for design, the Gallery is continually being updated.


Why Tech Start-Ups Are Embracing Green Building

Tech start-ups are partial to Green Building and all things environmental...and with good reason!

Today’s technology companies — especially start-ups — are increasingly embracing the idea of sustainability. They are industry leaders when it comes to green buildings, green work spaces, and environmental stewardship.  Established companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are already on the technology cutting edge so it seems like a natural fit that their offspring also support innovative, energy-efficient building technology.

As Boss Magazine points out in a recent issue, the building industry should pay attention to this trend. The global tech market is expected to grow another 4% this year, making it a $3 trillion industry. Technology continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.

Technology companies also lease a reported 42% of all the commercial square footage in the major metropolitan markets of North America. For comparison, that’s double the space leased by the financial industry.

Going green is being driven by many factors in the tech company landscape.

Millennial employees and consumers prefer green companies: Both are a target market for most technology companies. The Millennial generation is more environmentally aware; they are looking for business practices that reflect an awareness of climate change. A recent poll indicated that three out of four millennials are willing to pay more to do business with enterprises they perceive as championing sustainability whether it with be solar-powered data centers, urban roof gardens or recycled building materials.

Saving money on energy costs: Early-stage tech companies are often strapped for cash; it behooves them to save on energy costs. Alternative energy sources, more efficient lights and appliances, can make a difference. For a start-up, amortizing an initial investment in energy efficiency can make for significant cash savings over time.

Remodeling is trending: Prime commercial real estate is difficult to find in high-demand areas. Start-ups looking to lease a space, as well as giants like Amazon looking to expand, may consider recommissioning an older building versus buying or building a new one. It can sometimes be more economical to remodel and incorporate new, green, energy efficient systems into an older building. But not always! Buyer beware.

Environmentally friendly practices: In addition to supporting green building and eco-friendly operations, many new tech companies also produce goods or offer services to help others become more environmentally conscientious.  Many tech companies not only practice eco-friendly operations, but also produce goods or services that help others live a greener lifestyle.  In fact, the demand for green building has driven growth in a new sector of tech startups – those focused on producing energy efficient systems and materials.

Tax incentives: Tax credits and rebates, at both the federal and state levels, are also driving green building. Financial incentives for green upgrades such as loan programs with reduced rates, grants, and rebates, can help improve a growing company’s bottom line.

Worker morale: Public health researchers have found that green-certified buildings improve employee decision-making and daily performance. One recent report indicated that people working in green buildings had  26 per cent higher cognitive function and 30 per cent fewer incidences of what’s come to be known as “sick building syndrome.” Healthy, happy employees are crucial for a company to thrive.

A Clear Trend

Green building for rapidly-growing tech companies makes good sense on many fronts. A green, environmentally conscious start-up can attract high-caliber employees in a highly competitive market where young companies are vying for employees with tech giants.

Using sustainable materials and reducing their carbon footprint also allows tech startups to resonate with new customers who are more environmentally minded. Most importantly, it also allows them to save money on recurring energy costs. And being profitable at the end of a start-up’s first year keeps investors happy!

It’s not just a “best practice” for new companies. More and more businesses are embracing sustainable, green building. Leaders in the built environment – architects, developers, construction and building material companies — are increasingly committed to using sustainable materials and buying from manufacturers with eco-friendly practices.

It’s all good news for Mother Earth!


STO Product Featured in Multi-Family Passive House

Passivehaus certification ensures a minimum of 90% in energy savings.

LUCHA, a leading affordable housing developer in Chicago, has just built the first multi-family Passive House in the state of Illinois. The landmark project in the Humboldt Park neighborhood has been certified by PHIUS — the Passivehaus Institute organization in the U.S. – with a projected energy savings of 90% over conventional construction.

The first multi-family Passive House in Chicago. Photo: Gordon Walek

The Passivhaus Institut was established in Germany in 1996, to promote design, construction and insulation practices that make a building envelope more energy efficient and resilient. The goal was to construct walls and windows that are airtight – keeping warm air inside during the winter and cool air contained during the summer.

In addition to an energy efficient building envelope, a “Passivehaus” building also incorporates advanced cooling and heating systems as part of the design. It encourages balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation as well as solar utilization. While advanced technologies, appliances and systems such as climate-controlled zone programming are important for energy conservation, most building professionals agree that the building shell is the most critical component in achieving a zero-energy design.

The Passivehaus organizations in the U.S. and in Germany both work to educate contractors and property developers about the PH standard and train companies on how to measure and certify buildings.

Certification Process

While there are differences between the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and PHIUS certification, the programs are aligned to encourage high energy-efficient performance in the built environment. Passive House certification also sets air quality and health standards and requires additional testing to ensure the standards are met. According to many industry experts, when it comes to green building and energy conservation, Passive House certification is rigorous, but the resulting construction delivers absolutely superior energy efficiency.

The Passive House project in Chicago was designed by Landon Bone Baker, and the six-unit multi-family residence, is part of LUCHA’s Tierra Linda Project which will include other affordable housing units in the area. To capture energy efficiencies and ensure an effective air and moisture barrier, the contractor and architect for the Passive House complex chose StoTherm® ci with StoColor® Lotusan® for the building’s exterior cladding. Having worked with Sto in the past, they knew the Sto products would ensure they received the coveted PHIUS certification.

The StoTherm® ci system integrates continuous insulation (ci) with air/moisture barriers and drainage, offering a wide range of textured finish options to create an aesthetically pleasing, sustainable wall cladding. This high-performance system not only saves energy but improves indoor comfort and air quality while maintaining maximum curb appeal and lowering overall life-cycle costs.

StoColor® Lotusan® exterior coating was chosen due to its water- and dirt-repelling characteristics, and self-cleaning qualities derived from the organic structure of the lotus leaf.  Sto Lotusan® enhances an exterior’s resistance to mold, mildew and algae with high water vapor permeability, and lowers maintenance costs by extending cleaning and re-coating cycles. Available in any color within the extensive StoColor System, Lotusan is UV-stable with excellent color retention.

With Sto’s advanced building science and materials, LUCHA was able to secure the PHIUS energy-efficiency rating. They also created a multi-family complex with pleasing aesthetics that is impervious to the extreme weather conditions of the region.

It is estimated that there are now more than 60,000 passive-house certified buildings worldwide with nearly 500 in Germany, and more elsewhere in Europe. And while there are only 46 PHIUS certified buildings in the U.S. today, there is a rising level of interest (especially in residential construction) in major metropolitan areas such as Chicago and New York.

LUCHA is to be applauded for the organization’s commitment to Passive House building and the Tierra Linda project – a sustainably-oriented development that brings affordable housing with green technology to low-income residents of Chicago.  In addition to improved heating and cooling efficiency – improving occupant comfort — this commitment will also help decrease energy costs for renters.