The aesthetics of efficiency: Why green building is more attractive than ever

The Genesis Centre of Community Wellness was conceived as the heart of Alberta, Calgary, Canada. The building was designed to be a 225,000-square-foot hub of sports facilities, meeting rooms, a medical center, and a public library. The structure — an octagonal open space surrounded by eight glass towers — would achieve the stunning visual appeal that community leaders were seeking.

But all that glass posed problems to the project’s aggressive thermal efficiency goals. Calgary has more than 300 days of sun each year, not to mention the extreme winter cold, both of which could undermine the building’s energy efficiency. The glass towers, while eye-catching and welcoming, could draw in too much sunlight and overheat the interior, or leak heat outside on cold winter days.

Genesis Centre

Fortunately for cases like this, architects and developers have more green building materials at their disposal than ever before. The nearly 62,000 commercial LEED green building projects around the world draw on components that achieve structural and aesthetic requirements in a more environmentally friendly way. These materials can have a significant impact given that commercial and residential buildings account for 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.

The Genesis Centre architects needed an exterior glass with high thermal stability, enhanced heat gain protection, and optimal thermal insulation values, as well as a unique aesthetic. They chose NARIMA eco insulating dichroic coated glass, a material that maintains a 60-70 percent shading coefficient even before it’s insulated, a feature that reduces heat transfer, cuts cooling costs, and saves energy.  Plus, it changes colors depending on the viewing angle, providing buildings with a one-of-a-kind look. SCHOTT supplied the Genesis Centre project with blue-gold NARIMA glass combined with an interior pane of clear glass with a solar control coating that added an insulation barrier.

Ultimately, the glass served as the key piece to maintaining the building’s design aesthetic while also offering insulation and heat-repelling properties. Through smart design, the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness now serves as a facility that’s welcoming to the community, doesn’t sacrifice design, and operates at peak energy efficiency.

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Hi, I’m Rina Della Vecchia, Marketing Communications Manager for SCHOTT North America. I manage the internal and external marketing and communications efforts for the SCHOTT corporate office, as well as our eight business units. I’ve been a part of the SCHOTT team for more than six years, but before joining the company, I worked in the trade show management industry and prior to that I conducted philanthropy work for the Westchester Philharmonic. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Pace University. On a more personal note, I’m a summer-loving girl and can spends hours on the beach. My husband and I also enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling, and trying new restaurants.

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