Date: 9 November 2018
Dr. Dolittle learned a lot from his friends. The fictional character in a series of 1920s children’s books used his abilities to speak with his pet parrot Polynesia and other animals to understand their unique habits and learn more about nature.
A similar albeit less-mythical approach was taken by Opsis Architecture of Portland when they designed the Oregon Zoo Education Center. With a primary goal of keeping birds safe, architects closely observed and studied how birds see and fly, and identified the biggest hazards they face when flying near buildings.
This knowledge ultimately led the firm to specify Walker Textures® AviProtek® E bird-friendly, acid-etched pattern on Solarban® 70XL solar control low-emissivity (low-e) glass by Vitro Glass for the building.
Intended to be a hub of environmental learning and activity to excite and inspire the inner conservationist in visitors, the 20,000-square-foot facility, which opened in March 2017, features extensive use of bird-friendly floor-to-ceiling glass with an etched pattern of varying line widths and spacing. This visual “marker” enhances visibility and prevents bird collisions, while supporting the center’s mission of education.
Designed for net-zero annual energy use, the center also capitalizes on the energy-saving proficiency of Solarban 70XL glass, which blocks more than 70 percent of the sun’s heat energy while transmitting nearly 65 percent of its ambient light.
By diminishing the need for artificial cooling and lighting, the glass plays a vital role in the center’s integrated energy management system, which includes passive ventilation systems, 760 solar panels, LED lighting and high- efficiency heating and cooling systems.
Other sustainability strategies such as rainwater harvesting, a wildlife garden and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood products are designed to help the center achieve Living Building Challenge (LBC) Net-Zero Energy certification. If certified, the center would become Portland’s first and only net-zero public building.
In addition, the facility is pursuing LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. It also won the 2017 Daily Journal of Commerce’s (DJC) TopProject Energy Trust High Performance Building Award, which is part of the premier awards program for the Portland region’s built environment.
With center-of-glass visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban 70XL glass is one of the industry’s highest performing solar control, low-e glasses. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, a member of the Vitro Certified™ Network, was the glass fabricator.