Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: May 2022

Fenestration Challenges - Helen Sanders

The May SKINS newsletter focuses on fenestration, that is – windows, curtainwall, storefront, glazed doors and skylights. There are very few structures that are built without these elements, not just because they are so crucial for occupant health and well-being, but because glass has become such a tremendously flexible and aesthetically pleasing design material. However, fenestration is typically the weakest link thermally in the building envelope. The performance of fenestration in a building can be the difference between it being energy efficient or an energy hog, between its occupants being comfortable or uncomfortable, and between one that can keep people alive during a power outage during excessive heat or cold events and one that cannot. High-performance fenestration is also key to getting to net-zero carbon buildings, managing grid peak loads, and the transition to all-electric heating and hot water. So, it is fitting that we focus on them in the May issue of SKINS.

Read the rest from Helen Sanders>

Episode 03 DOE Does Windows


2012 Perspective on Future Window Technology

This 2012 article written by a team of researchers at the Windows & Envelope Group at Lawrence Berkeley Lab addresses early design concepts and prototypes for “superwindows”—triple-paned windows with two low-E coatings and krypton gas fill, highly-insulating aerogel windows and vacuum windows. At the time, these products were still in the research and development phases. However, all of these technological advances were considered critical to achieving better fenestration performance.

Read More.

Episode 12 Durability Adobe Stock 330522719


Where We Are Today

This article by Helen Sanders explores the barriers to adoption of existing high-performance fenestration and the correlation between energy code stringency and business-as-usual fenestration performance across the globe. It is a call to action to support transformative codes and incentive structures addressing carbon, resilience and human health in the built environment. We have the products, and we know what to do, so let’s do it.

Learn More.

daylighting building


Whole Building Design Guide

The Building Envelope Design Guide published by the National Institute of Building Sciences addresses both windows and curtain walls. It is meant to be a comprehensive look at thermal performance, moisture protection, fire safety, acoustics, daylighting and more.

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Designers viewing results on notebook computer.


Tools, tools, and more tools

The BC Reference Procedure is the first methodology using LBNL’s THERM software to be recognized by the Passive House Institute for use in certifying buildings to the International Passive House Standard. Applicable to both the Canadian and U.S. construction market, this methodology enables window manufacturers to calculate the performance of their existing products in Passive House terms.

The methodology also enables users to accurately determine the energy performance parameters required to qualify windows for use in Passive House buildings designed to the International Passive House Standard (IPHS). It guides users on how the industry-standard and publicly available LBNL THERM software, together with a customized Microsoft Excel worksheet, can be used to accomplish this in a manner recognized by the Passive House Institute.

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A planet of buildings with atmosphere.


NFRC Assesses Carbon Emissions through Windows, Doors, and Skylights

Decarbonization to fight climate change can take many forms, from clean renewable energy such as solar and wind, to more efficient or all-electric vehicles. A less discussed but equally important piece of the sustainability puzzle is windows, doors, and skylights. Since its inception in 1989, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has empowered homeowners to select the windows, doors, and skylights that provide comfort and save energy. As an independent nonprofit organization, NFRC has been a valuable resource over the last 30 years providing fair, accurate, and credible energy performance ratings of fenestration products, which are any opening in a building’s exterior.

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College students


Harvard Report Addresses Indoor Air Quality of Schools

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Report, Schools for Health: Foundations for Student Success, addresses environmental exposures in school buildings that can impact student health and performance. These exposures include mold, radon, asbestos, lead, and pesticides. Aside from remediation, natural ventilation from operable windows can help by bringing fresh air to the inside of the school building.

Read More.

Veiling and Scrims


Reflections on Views

Lisa Heschong, a keynote speaker at the Facade Tectonics Institute’s World Congress in October, is a strong proponent of daylighting and views. In this excerpt from her recent book, Visual Design in Architecture: Daylight, Vision, and View, she shares several examples to demonstrate their importance in buildings.

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Industry Calendar

May 11

Facade Tectonics Forum: NYC

New York, United States

Register Now.

June 6-9

FGIA Virtual Summer Conference

Register Now

July 6-8

ICSA 2022

Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Register Now

October 12-13

Facade Tectonics 2022 World Congress

Los Angeles, United States

Register Now

Previously Featured


Next normal: Advanced composites for a changing industry

Modern chemistry, analytics, material science, and other disciplines are causing an avalanche of new materials available to our industry. One of those, and one that has brought disruption to several other industries including the marine, transportation, aerospace, sports, and recreation industries, is commonly referred to as “advanced composites”.

Read On.


Thermal and Fire Characteristics of FRP Composites for Architectural Applications

The advantages and challenges for FRP in architectural applications as discussed in our 2015 paper are still very much true today. As the advantages of FRP are discussed comprehensively elsewhere in this issue of SKINS, I will focus my comments on FRP fire behavior.

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Designing With Composites: The Why, When and How

More than 30 years ago as a windsurfing nut and an engineering student I was building windsurf boards and became enthralled with composites. It was the intrigue of what structures you can make with. Composite use ranges from the most sophisticated fighter jets in the world to hot tubs.

Sail Away.

2020 World Congress Paper Spotlight

Passive House Facade Design and Construction

Architect Louis Koehl presented Passive House Façade Design and Construction at the 2020 World Congress. Passive House principles include a comprehensive approach to façade design that results in a highly efficient building envelope. This approach considers thermal conductivity, solar heat gain, airtightness, vapor control, window performance, and aesthetics.

Discover More.

Register NOW

For the FTI NYC: Forum 2022 on May 11th. Register here and as a member get discounted rates.

Not a member yet or are you a member and haven't renewed yet. Don't miss out on all the amazing benefits you get as an FTI Member (e.g. Discounted registrations, access to papers, podcasts, and more) Sign up here or renew here.

Organizational Members of the Facade Tectonics Institute


Kuraray, Schüco USA


Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Permasteelisa Group, seele, TriPyramid Structures


Dow, Finishing Contractors Association, Lerch Bates, Technoform North America, Valmont Structures, Vitro Architectural Glass, WRNS Studio, W&W Glass


Antamex Industries, Heintges, Kreysler & Associates, MdeAS Architects, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Roschmann Steel & Glass Constructions, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, SOCOTEC, Inc., The Architect's Newspaper, The Miller Hull Partnership, The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York

Academics / Nonprofits

Aarhus University, Denmark, IIBEC, National Fenestration Rating Council, Rainscreen Association in North America, Universidad de Concepción, University of Utah, Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association