Glass Panels Being Installed

Posted 7 January 2015 1:44 PM by TCAuthor3

Glass Panels at ThedaCare Medical Center - Shawano

By Carol Ryczek, community relations manager, Shawano Medical Center

Call it a “Mythbuster” moment. We used to think that glass was just a stiff liquid, and windows would eventually puddle at the bottom and sort of ooze away. You could see it in the stained glass windows of old churches…the glass was thicker on the bottom of many glass panels. It took no less than the glass researchers at Corning to announce that glass is pretty rigid stuff, and the stained glass in old churches probably had a thicker end and a thinner end from the very beginning. Their windows are thicker on the bottom because it made sense to install heavier stuff on the bottom.

It is comforting to know the huge glass sheets that bring nature into the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano will be around for a while. They’re not going to ooze, crumble, or let the heat out. But what kind of glass is it? And how strong is it? Matt Peterson, project manager from Oscar J. Boldt Construction, and Jeff Corcoran of Corcoran Glass and Paint shared some answers.

1.     What kind of glass is being installed at the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano?

The glass is typically used in commercial/health care applications. It is insulated and has a high performance low-e coating. (This means it keeps heat in but also allows light to pass through.)  The glass is heat-treated for strength.

2.      How strong is it? Will it stand up to Wisconsin weather?

The coating used to make low-e glass can have an impact on its strength. To make sure it continues to be structurally strong, the glass is heat treated before the low-e coating is applied. This process makes the glass strong enough to hold up to traditional forces of Mother Nature. Because of the heat treating process, the glass will actually stand up to thunderstorms better than traditional insulated units. It is far stronger than most people realize.

3.     How can we be LEED certified if there is so much glass? Isn’t that very energy inefficient?

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program focused primarily on new, commercial-building projects. LEED certification includes the amount of square footage of glass in the entire building envelope, and the thermal value of the glass (which is why the low-e glass is so important). The architect took this into consideration in the building design. To maximize LEED credits for glazing, we have selected a vendor from within the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the natural resources to allow manufacturers to mine the sand for the glass, apply the low-e coating, and make it into an insulated unit. Because this entire process is done within the state of Wisconsin, we are able to contribute to the LEED credits.

4.     Who will clean it and how?

A service will be hired to take care of cleaning the outside glass, but the interior glass will be cleaned by the plant operations staff. They will use a lift to reach the upper stories.

5.     What does glass do for the people inside, in terms of designing a structure? Does it affect people’s mood?

There have been recent studies on the effects of allowing natural daylight into the center of buildings, and more and more architectural designs permits daylight to penetrate the interior of buildings. Studies show that natural daylight does seem to have an effect on the people within the building.