Mermet USA Brews Up Sun Control Solutions
for Sierra Nevada Mills River Brewery
- FABRICM Screen Deco
- ROOM TYPEHospitality & Commercial
- ARCHITECTRGA, Chico, CA
- LOCATIONMills River, NC
- PHOTO CREDITKris Decker, Greenville, SC
In terms of sunlight control, thermal performance, and occupant comfort, Mermet’s shade fabric, M Screen Deco 5%, was a well-crafted solution for the extensive Sierra Nevada Mills River Brewery project.
To increase brewing capacity, Sierra Nevada decided to open an East Coast facility—their second brewery—in North Carolina. Longtime collaborator, R.G.A. in Chico, CA, was selected to serve as the principal design firm for the 320,000-square-foot project.
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“Having worked with Sierra Nevada on their Chico brewery gave us a working knowledge of project needs as well as the company’s goals,” said Matt Gallaway, A.I.A., LEED, principal architect for R.G.A. “Starting the Mills River project from scratch allowed us to really work on juxtaposing form with function. We wanted to create a very linear building as brewing is a linear process.”
The project began with the warehouse and bottling facility, which were completed in 2013. The taproom and restaurant were added two years later. Ensuring a consistent look throughout each space was key. To help keep a consistent look on the interior, the shade fabric was installed in the main dining area, exterior patio, bakery, gift shop and main offices. Additionally, R.G.A., the design team at Sierra Nevada, and Glen Walters Landscape Architecture, worked to create an entrance that would showcase the customer experience separately from the productdevelopment portion of the property. Comfort, daylighting, and solar heat gain control were integral to the design, and shades would play a role in meeting all of these needs.
“We realized the brewery was getting too much sun, so the incorporation of the shades was necessary,” said Gallaway. “Several solar studies had been conducted, and there were some unanticipated lighting challenges that the shades helped mitigate.”
Built with sustainability and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) in mind, Sierra Nevada worked to ensure the specified glass achieved energy efficiency needs while the shades provided additional performance—or the “icing on the cake” according to Gallaway. The brewery was able to reduce the building’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) from .227 to .221 by adding M Screen Deco shade fabric. That is a 20.2% SHGC improvement – a noticeable impact that glazing alone could not have achieved. Sierra Nevada Mills River Brewery was awarded LEED® Platinum in 2016, making it the first production brewery in the country to earn the certification.
Manufactured with high-quality yarn comprised of fiberglass and vinyl, M Screen Deco is a designer fabric featuring a unique rib weave and bi-colored yarn that adds rustic elegance to the space through its texturized appearance. The shades, which were specified at 5% openness, block approximately 95% of UV rays and transmit only 7% of total solar energy.
With a visual transmission of only 7%, M Screen Deco 5% in Hazelnut substantially reduces glare in multiple spaces throughout the brewery while retaining crisp, clear view through. Reduced glare on screens not only affects office workers, but also provides better viewing experiences for patrons watching any of the TVs on the property. Comfort is an essential part of the brewery experience, and the usage of M Screen Deco prevents guests from having unwanted sunlight while they enjoy a cold beverage or delicious meal.
“The use of Mermet’s M Screen Deco fabric in Hazelnut was an excellent selection,” said Dominic Sarno, owner at D.F. Sarno Enterprises Inc., the project’s fabricator/installer. “Aesthetically, the fabric blends with all the wood stain finishes on the inside and complements the exterior finishes. M Screen Deco also allows view through when shades are down, and controls direct sunlight.”
“For Gallaway, the project extends beyond the completion date. “The brewery is often referred to as the ‘destination for beers,’ and we truly enjoy having been a part of creating something that brings people joy. We have said before that the best projects are the ones where you make lasting friendships. This is one of those— great teams that built strong friendships.”
“Watching this project grow over the years as the brewery expanded and more people were drawn to it was a wonderful experience,” continued Sarno, “Working with Sierra Nevada, the architects, and Mermet to create a beautiful, quality-driven facility really underscored it all.”
A New Angle to Solving Solar
- FABRICE Screen
- ROOM TYPEEducation
- LOCATIONChicago, IL
- PHOTO CREDITBarry Rustin, Evanston, IL
This beautiful facade features unique angles and breaks in the glass. The problem was finding any solar shading that would work.
The University of Chicago Lab School had a problem. The school was building a brand new arts facility, the Gordon Parks Arts Hall, funded in part by a donation from the George Lucas Family Foundation. It was a high-profile project, making use of daylighting.
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“They had a beautiful façade design with unique angles and breaks in the glass,” explained Clint Childress, LEED® AP, solar control solutions product manager at Draper, Inc. “With this design, they had a problem with finding any solar shading that would work.”
Bryan B. Biggers III, president of Beverly Venetian Blind Company, agreed it was a complex project.
“We weren’t the only people asked to bid on this project but we seemed to be the only ones that were willing to take on the complexity of this project with its unique angled windows,” Biggers said. “It’s something we had never done before, but I felt that it would be a great opportunity to do something very special even though we really didn’t know how we were going to accomplish it.”
Biggers and his team talked to the designers in charge of the project to share some ideas on how to develop a solution.
“This is where my thoughts went straight to Draper,” he said. “I knew that if anyone could help pull this off, it would be Draper.”
Biggers’ request came to Draper’s Solar Control Solutions (SCS) division, which designs and manufactures custom solutions for customers around the globe.
“SCS is about bringing solutions to solar shading problems,” Childress said. “There may be too much heat gain, a unique glazing design, an operation that is not standard, or anything that makes standard products not an ideal option.”
Draper’s designers discussed the project with Biggers and, after several conversations, proposed a solution. After some back-and-forth exchange of ideas and on-site meetings, a final design was agreed upon: a custom motorized shade system on tracks, with re-directional rollers to help the shades follow the changes in slope. The shades would be operated via wall switch, and feature Mermet E Screen Charcoal/Gray with a 3% openness factor. “The fabric choice was made for performance, as well as aesthetics. The school’s firsts selected a lighter color fabric. After consultation with our client, we changed the color to achieve both concerns,” Bryan Biggers said.
“The design process with Draper was very interesting,” Biggers said. “As you can imagine they had quite a challenge on their hands. Draper hadn’t done this type of project before, and neither had we.”
The custom solution was actually based on Draper’s Motorized FlexShade® and Skylight 2. One of the biggest challenges for the Draper design and production teams was the different brackets required.
“With the changing break-line in the curtain wall glass per shade, each shade was slightly different. Different length tracks (both left and right side for each shade), different length brackets, and different numbers of brackets,” Draper’s director of engineering Harold Seib said. “Another issue was bending the side channels/tracks. We used 3D engineering rapid prototyping machines, and developed a process using printed plastic inserts that allowed us to use a gym equipment tubing bender to bend u-channel.”
The project continued to be challenging as installation got underway. Biggers’ crew had to make some on-site adjustments and fabrication changes because as they moved across the glazing it soon became apparent that there were changes with the angles.
“At some points, it was a hot mess but we knew that it was going to come together in the end and be pretty spectacular,” Biggers said. “Draper did a great job as I knew they would and I know that it was a learning experience for them as well as for us.”
Biggers has returned since the initial installation to make a few adjustments and said the Lab School is extremely happy with the unique shading solution.
E Screen with KOOLBLACK Enhances
- FABRICE Screen with KOOLBLACK
- ROOM TYPEResidential Living Room
- FABRICATORBlinds in Style
- LOCATIONSydney, Australia
KOOLBLACK Technology dark sunscreen fabrics provided the window coverings solution for a luxury home in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
When Blinds In Style was asked to consult on the best window coverings for a new home in Ramsgate Beach, its interior design manager and business partner Kirk Fitis recalled a fabric he first saw at the BMAA Super Expo last year. The homeowner sought two main features for a downstairs living area that looked onto a lap pool and an expansive garden setting.
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They wanted great visibility and a reduction in heat transfer through the window. “KOOLBLACK ticked both those boxes,” Fitis says. While E-Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology was not yet available in Australia, the home owner was willing to wait for its arrival as the building was still under construction.
To produce the window coverings, Fitis worked with the homeowner at each planning stage for the architect-designed home, which was being built from scratch. “I worked with him every step of the way,” he says. “For example, we decided the blind should sit in a cavity rather than be mounted on the wall or ceiling.” As a result, the size of the cavity needed to be addressed to ensure there was enough room for the blind to rotate and sufficient space to accommodate the fabric when it was completely rolled up. Fitis recommended motorization and plans were made to incorporate the electrical work required during construction. “If you’re building a lovely home, the last thing you want are chains hanging around,” he says. “And with big blinds, chains can be difficult to operate.” When the glass was installed in July 2013, the first measure for this job was taken. Production, from factory to completion, took three weeks after the final measure with installation completed in December last year. “In this instance, the blinds were made before the owners were ready for them to be installed,” he says. It’s a strategy he likes to put into effect to ensure customers are not waiting for their blinds to be made when they’ve already moved into a home. “No one wants to wait for their blinds and live in a house that’s like a fishbowl,” he says.
Blinds In Style produced 12 roller blinds in four metre drops to accommodate the high ceilings. The windows to be covered spanned 26 metres in an L shape, one section looking onto the lap pool and the other, onto the garden setting.
KOOLBLACK a Win-Win for Melbourne High-Rise
- FABRICE Screen with KOOLBLACK
- ROOM TYPEOffice
- LOCATIONMelbourne, Australia
An iconic commercial building called for a number of key requirements. Mermet's E Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology Provided the Solution.
The new 26-level office building located at 567 Collins Street, Melbourne is seen as a cutting edge icon of the city, offering state-of-the-art commercial office space as well as retail and recreational spaces. As Helioscreen business development manager (VIC & TAS) Elizabeth Damcevski confirms, the window coverings project at ‘number 567’ entailed a very specific brief, involving 13 levels of the building being fitted with dark colored blinds.
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“Both sides of the fabric had to be a dark color, with a high visibility and high co efficiency factors. Mermet’s E Screen with KOOLBLACK ticked all those boxes.” Damcevski says the project used Helioscreen internal roller blinds, entailing a combination of chain operated and motorized blinds, for which the fabric used was E Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology 5% openness, color 3535 Charcoal/Charcoal.“
Helioscreen originally came across the KOOLBLACK technology at the BMAA Superexpo in 2013 where it caused quite a stir,” Damcevski says. “When the project at 567 Collins Street came up, we got in touch with Mermet, who provided us with samples. It quickly became apparent that the fabric met the architects’ key requirements. They wanted a dark color fabric, for aesthetic and glare reduction reasons, which also allowed occupants to see out of the building. An added benefit is that, because the fabric is so efficient , it keeps the building cool and therefore reduces energy costs.” “Mermet provided technical stats for the project and compared the fabric characteristics against competitors’ fabrics, in which KOOLBLACK had higher efficiency factors,” Damcevski confirms. “Mermet’s specification data and sample cuttings enabled me to specify the project, with Helioscreen producing the prototype blinds. Specification was completed in June of 2013.”
A key challenge in the project was the high number of performance requirements required, Damcevski adds. These included a dark fabric requirement, a max of 5% openness factor, less than 6% Visible Light Transmittance (Tv), 30% Solar Reflectance (Rs). “We had to be able to meet as many of these as possible,” she says, adding that key to the project’s success was the resolution of the opposing needs of a sustainable building that also required dark fabrics.” “Regular dark shade materials consume energy and raise the solar heat gain in space, thus resulting in a waste of energy and creating an unpleasant environment. As such, this restricts the use of dark screen fabrics in sustainable building design where heat reflection specifications are presented in a shading solution.”
“The new KOOLBLACK technology resolves this issue by making use of new heat reflecting characteristics. KOOLBLACK technology adds to the energy efficiency of solar-shade materials to equivalent levels with light colours, which lowers about 23% of solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC), which means improved heat control and increased energy savings.” Mermet comments: “While E-Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology was not even available in Australia at the time of the specification in 2013, its benefits were so apparent when it launched at the Superexpo that Helioscreen was quickly committed to utilizing it.”
Energy Efficiency Increases 50% in
Christian Brothers Automotive Facility
- FABRICT Screen with KOOLBLACK
- ROOM TYPEOffice
- FABRICATORHunter Douglas Architectural
- ARCHITECTPowers Brown Architecture
- LOCATIONHouston, Texas, USA
KOOLBLACK Technology roller shades and Hunter Douglas RB 500 deliver improved solar reflection to help corporate building beat the Texas heat
When Christian Brothers Automotive Company (CBAC) built its new corporate headquarters, they wanted to ensure employee productivity and comfort. Located in Houston, the concrete headquarters building needed features to help combat the harsh Texas summers. “The heat was obviously brutal, but so was the glare, especially on the east, west and south sides of the building,” said Steve Palmer.
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In consultation with the CEO of CBAC, Mark Carr, Steve Palmer and his team at Creative Blinds specified Hunter Douglas’ motorized RB 500 roller shades and Mermet’s specially heat-reflective fabric, T Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology™, to help block the intense sun pouring in from all sides of the CBAC headquarters.
The design called for motorized shades on the top floor, ensuring ease of use and creating a sharp appearance from both the interior and exterior of the building. “The shades look good, and the employees really like them,” said Carr. “I would estimate it’s probably about 10 or 15 degrees cooler with the T Screen with KOOLBLACK Technology™ fabric, which allows our team to feel more comfortable and be productive.”
CBAC has also noticed significant monetary savings, which they attribute partially to the shades: “We budgeted a substantial amount monthly for electricity costs,” said Carr. “With the help of the shading fabrics, our average monthly bills are less than half of what we initially expected for heating and air conditioning costs. We are anticipating break even costs for the shading system in about two and a half years.”
According to Robert Beals, Product Manager at Mermet Sun Control Textiles, other customers have experienced similar effects after installing T Screen with KOOLBLACK™ Technology shade fabrics. In fact, the fabrics have been proven to reflect 65% of all solar energy, reducing heat gain, as well as blocking 91% of visible light to control glare, enhance visual comfort and increase workspace productivity.
A Habitat for Productivity and Comfort in
the Lone Star State
- FABRICE Screen with KOOLBLACK
- ROOM TYPEOffice
- FABRICATORTexas Sun and Shade
- LOCATIONAustin, TX, USA
Mermet helps optimize sun control at new Austin Habitat for Humanity headquarters
Habitat for Humanity, one of the most philanthropic companies in the building and construction industry, has helped thousands of people settle into safe and comfortable homes since it was founded in 1976. As the need for the non-profit’s services have continued to grow, so too has its need for a new Austin, Texas headquarters that could house both its corporate offices and Habitat’s local ReStore retail facility.
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While initial, conceptual plans did not include window treatments, glare and heat from the Texas sun quickly made Mermet solar shade fabrics with KOOLBLACK® technology a necessity for the new building. Once the site was identified, Habitat enlisted the help of other philanthropic partners to outfit the building with the advanced shading fabrics and other building products, ensuring its corporate team could focus on what really mattered: giving back.
Habitat requested installer Texas Sun & Shade (TSS) provide sun control fabrics to create a comfortable office environment for its employees. TSS owner Ben Skoldeberg tapped Ken Fletcher, VP of Operations for local distributor VASA Window Coverings, to help recommend the best solution to mitigate intense sunlight, especially on the building’s eastern and southern exposures. The two agreed that specifying Mermet shading fabrics – the top selling line for both companies – was a “no-brainer.” TSS first used charcoal-colored E-Screen fabric with KOOLBLACK® technology for the motorized shades installed onsite.
Mermet also suggested its T-Screen fabric with KOOLBLACK® technology be installed to optimize thermal efficiency and UV protection throughout the office space. The attractive look of T-Screen with KOOLBLACK® in a white, charcoal and cocoa color palette matched Habitat’s design vision and maintained great visibility with three percent openness.
“Habitat trusted us to determine how to use shade fabrics to optimize energy efficiency, glare control and overall occupant comfort in the office space,” said Skoldeberg. “Mermet’s E-Screen and T-Screen products fit well aesthetically, and were already proven to be effective with heat reduction, which was critical for this project.”
VASA worked with Mermet to provide the fabrics for Habitat for Humanity. The distributor gives to a nonprofit monthly, and was particularly excited for the opportunity to contribute to a project in the local Austin community. For its part, TSS donated nearly 20 hours of installation time, in addition to a full warranty, and anticipates a further contribution in 2016.
“Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that helps a lot of people, but can also be overlooked on occasion,” said Fletcher. “Mermet helped us make sure Habitat received the attention it deserved, not only by effectively communicating shipment statuses and deadlines, but also through its understanding of the value and importance of serving our local community.”
Conveniently located just a few miles from downtown Austin, the new site has already become an asset to the community and others who depend on Habitat for Humanity. The building offers the general public easy access to the ReStore retail facility, and with its beautiful design and high performance products, is set to be a local landmark for years to come.
Shades with KOOLBLACK® Technology Complete Office Retrofit for California Architectural Firm
- FABRICE Screen with KOOLBLACK
- ROOM TYPEOffice
- ARCHITECTLittle Diversified
- LOCATIONNewport Beach, CA, USA
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, an international architecture and design firm, was faced with a key design challenge when they selected new office space for their LA offices.
Little Architectural’s expertise extends beyond architecture, combining human-centric engineering, interior architecture, occupancy planning and applied building technologies to deliver big-picture solutions that boost performance, aesthetics and occupant comfort. Key among these focuses is a keen understanding of the elements such as lighting, heating, traffic flow and more tangibly affect its occupants.
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One of the biggest areas of focus: the complex interplay between daylighting and interior lighting. Little takes lighting seriously—all the way down to specifying the correct color temperature for replacement lightbulbs. So it comes as no surprise that the firm stipulated replacement of the old-school dark-tinted glazing in their new offices in Newport Beach, California prior to move-in.
The current façade featured four openings, as well as two doorways, with glazing from the mid-80s that utilized interior-applied dark film to block heat and glare from the sun. While this glazing solution performed as expected, it did little to elevate the interior or exterior aesthetics of the building – a compromise that wasn’t acceptable to the Little Architectural team.
Seeking a cost effective way to optimize daylighting and modernize design, Little stipulated that the glazing on the key front entrances on the east and south sides of the building be replaced with clear glazing prior to move-in. For the sake of aesthetic consistency, the street-facing north and west sides of the building couldn’t be changed.
The building management complied with the request, swapping out the existing glass on the east and south façade while retaining the current framing, allowing the current film to handle the harsh heat from the western façade and retain a modicum of exterior aesthetic consistency.
However, the introduction of clear glazing on the east and south facades created new challenges – increased glare and solar heat gain on the interior, reduced privacy from the exterior, and visual inconsistency with the rest of the building fenestration.
In order to solve all of these challenges, Little turned to solar shading from Mermet.
Having utilized Mermet solar shading in numerous projects, the team knew that black on black E-Screen with KOOLBLACK® Technology would be the perfect solution to mitigate all of the newly-introduced issues in one fell swoop.
Following installation of Mermet’s E-Screen with KOOLBLACK® Technology, the Little offices were transformed from a space in an outdated office park to a customized location that is a showpiece for the team.
With Mermet, Little realized across-the-board benefits, including:
Glare Reduction – By reducing the amount of visible light transmitted to the interior, direct and reflected glare from glazing or computer screens is dramatically reduced, leading to a more comfortable and productive work environment.
Solar Heat Gain – While dark shades generally absorb more solar energy and trap heat in a building interior, KOOLBLACK Technology integrates reflective properties of light-colored fabrics into dark-colored fabrics, delivering the aesthetic benefits of dark shades while minimizing solar heat gain to the interior. Little benefits from reduced cooling loads and a more comfortable work environment.
Viewthrough – Little knows the power of establishing connection to the outdoors – a key element of “Well”design that Little advocates – and selected black fabric for its excellent view-through characteristics.
Interior Aesthetics – All of the elements above combine to maximize the interior aesthetics. With optimized viewthrough and solar control, combined with the modern look of black shades, the Little team benefits from an aesthetically beautiful installation that also ensures comfort and productivity.
Exterior Aesthetics – The appearance of black shades from the exterior delivers consistency with the glazing of the rest of the building, without the visual inconsistency of traditional blinds or the “snaggletooth” look that white shades can impart. Plus, with manual control, Little can raise and lower the shades in order to deliver the level of light desired at any point in time.
The new offices are now a major draw for prospective clients and a showcase space for Littles unique brand – and for the unique technology that goes into Mermet’s line of KOOLBLACK Technology shades.