In actuality, the building was constructed in 1994, undergoing a recent renovation with Pilkington Planar™ at the heart of the project, used in combination with the most modern of technologies.ALM Brand has a longstanding commitment to environmental responsibility, and the façade of its headquarters was cutting edge in its day as far as energy management was concerned.A ventilated double skin wall with integrated wind breaks and sun shades provided a best practice sustainable solution of its time. However, with a further 15 years of façade technological development now available, the original 12mm toughened external skin of the double skin wall has been replaced using a Pilkington Eclipse Advantage™ Blue-Green product. This glass gives a visually impressive contemporary feel to the building façade, whilst also delivering greater benefits in terms of both low-emissivity properties and solar control performance. In other words, the new façade allows the building to harvest incident solar energy, whilst protecting the building’s occupants working behind it from unwanted glare, solar gain or energy loss.
Undoubtedly the most exciting aspect of the renovation works is the transformation from passive energy management to active energy generation. The new façade at ALM Brand proudly boasts the first Pilkington Planar™ panels to incorporate Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics. The 84 point-fixed BIPV panels, which cover just 10 per cent of the new façade, are expected to generate 41.5kW of electricity, or 5% of the overall building energy needs. The 1500mm x 3600mm sized panels are considerably larger than the more standard product and comprise a 4mm-thick Pilkington Optiwhite™ front cover plate laminated to an 8mm Pilkington Optifloat™ structural component. The custom emerald green photovoltaic cells were specifically chosen by the ALM Brand team who then challenged the engineering and operations teams at Pilkington to develop the product from concept to full scale product within the programme of the renovation works.
In addition to upgrading the environmental performance, the renovation has updated its mechanical performance by changing the glass type from a point-fixed toughened system to a point-fixed toughened laminate, designed to stay in place within the façade even if all the glass components are broken. To deliver maximum cost saving during the renovation works, the original mullion system and fixing anchor points were re-used. This required the new Pilkington Planar™ panels to be equal in strength, size and weight to those in the original specification. Pilkington Planar™|SentryGlas® System was more than a match for the original technology, with two 6mm toughened glass panels laminated together with a 1.52 SentryGlas® interlayer.
An ambitious project of this type wasn’t however challenge-free for any of the teams involved. As Carsten Moller, chief architect at ALM Brand, explained: “This project was a new area for me in terms of technical detail and specification. Working with the NSG Group was therefore a great help, not only because the glazing options they offered were one of the few that met our requirements, but also because the expertise and knowledge of the team ensured this unique project delivered the goals we set out to achieve.”