December 12, 2022
What a year 2022 has been! And not just because we’ve had such an exciting World Cup tournament…
At GlasCurtain, we continue to reach new heights, even in this challenging global environment. This year, we started several exciting new projects, completed several more, exhibited at international conferences, completed advanced product testing, launched our own Podcast, and so much more!
So let’s break down the year that was and take a look at what we’ve accomplished in 2022 and what you can expect from our innovative Canadian company in 2023:
For projects, there’s a lot to cover! In the booming Ontario market, we’ve officially completed our first project in the Ottawa area: the Carleton University Engineering Design Centre. This building, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects, is a well-lit creative space for the next generation of Canadian engineering talent. We’re very proud of how this project came together! It also looks like the opportunities for high-performance projects are becoming more and more frequent in the nation’s capital as conversations about embodied carbon begin to take centre stage. (Did you know that fibreglass-framed curtain wall frames have 60% less embodied carbon than aluminum? You do now!)
Also in Ontario, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve secured our first project with Enbridge for their new Net-Zero Ottawa Operations Centre. Designed by WalterFedy, this high-performance low-carbon administration building is progressing quickly. Curtain wall fabrication and installation is scheduled for mid-2023, so we’ll keep you posted as this exciting project progresses!
Recently, we began fabrication for our first multi-family residential project with the new Mikinak project for Ottawa Community Housing. Designed by IBI Group, this series of three buildings will offer affordable, durable, low-energy rental housing for individuals and families in the Ottawa area. Occupancy is scheduled for 2023.
In Yukon Territory, the Kwanlin Dun Community Hub is finally complete! Located near Whitehorse and belonging to the largest First Nation in the Territory, this stunning new multi-use facility provides the Kwanlin Dun First Nation with a space for its government and administrative staff to connect with its community. Designed by Reimagine Architects, the building prioritizes sustainability, flexibility, and durability. GlasCurtain’s Thermaframe 7 provides excellent thermal comfort for freezing Yukon temperatures, minimizing the need for maintenance-intensive HVAC systems.
In BC, we completed our scope on our second project in the province, the Fort St. John RCMP Detachment. Designed by KMBR Architects, this beautiful new RCMP Detachment replaced an aging facility that was no longer fit for service in the 21st century. The new building aims to be much more future-proof by being one of the first institutional buildings targeting Net-Zero Energy (NZE) in BC. To achieve this goal, innovative building systems, including GlasCurtain’s Thermaframe 7, were selected to reduce heating and cooling loads, thereby extending the lifespan of “active” building systems and improving thermal comfort. Occupancy is scheduled for 2023 and we look forward to sharing completed project photos once it’s complete!
In Alberta, we began construction on our largest project to-date, the new Red Deer Justice Centre. Designed by Group2 and DLR Group for Alberta Infrastructure, this flexible 313,200 sq. ft. facility uses our high-performance Thermaframe 7 fibreglass-framed curtain wall systems throughout the undulating 8-storey facade to improve thermal comfort, reduce long-term operational maintenance, and enhance resiliency. Our scope will continue into 2023, and occupancy is anticipated for 2024.
Also in Alberta, we began fabrication for the New Academic Building (NAB) at Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE), our first to use Thermaframe 8. Designed by Reimagine Architects, this project will leverage next-generation Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG) units to increase the centre-of-glass performance by over 50% relative to conventional triple-glazing. This is an exciting showcase project made possible with the support of the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA) and, once complete, will offer the next generation of students the highest thermally performing curtain wall ever installed in North America!
Elsewhere on Treaty 6 Territory, we completed our installation at Métis Crossing Boutique Lodge. Designed by Reimagine Architects, this first-class accommodation centre is a gorgeous new destination for travellers and explorers from around the world. Book your next family holiday or business retreat there today! We certainly are!
Also in the area, we began work on fabricating material for Saddle Lake Elementary School, an exceptionally energy efficient K-6 school designed by Reimagine Architects. Saddle Lake First Nation is located approximately two hours northeast of Edmonton and this project represents GlasCurtain’s fourth project in the area, including two at Métis Crossing and one at Kehewin First Nation. Occupancy is scheduled for 2023.
In March, when many travel restrictions were still in place, Peter joined Passive House Network’s (PHN) virtual Fenestration Symposium for the session “Policy Mechanisms to Accelerate High-Performance Demand & Scale Manufacturing”. It was a great honour and privilege to share the stage alongside Dr. Helen Sanders from Technoform, Stephen Selkowitz from LBNL, Bronwyn Barry from Passive House BB, and Adrien Muskatewitz from Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany. We had an inspiring and wide-ranging conversation on the challenges and opportunities of accelerating adoption for high-performance glazing systems in North America!
As pandemic restrictions eased and we all looked for opportunities to connect in-person once again, GlasCurtain traveled to three in-person conferences this year! In May, we attended the Passive House Canada conference in Victoria, BC where we exhibited and Peter presented a lecture entitled: “The Surprisingly Difficult Journey of Component Certification (And Why It’s Still Worth It)”, which received great feedback from attendees in-person and online. It was so good to be back in-person with the Passive House community. The conversations there are always some of the most interesting and cutting-edge in the industry!
In September, we traveled to Toronto for the joint conference between the International Federation of Hospital Engineering (IFHE) and the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES). There, we exhibited our high-performance Thermaframe systems to the world’s leading architects, engineers, and facility operators in the healthcare sector. As buildings in this sector are typically very energy-intensive high-humidity environments with vulnerable populations to consider, we naturally highlighted the superior condensation resistance of our fibreglass-framed systems, which reduces the potential for mold growth and reduces draftiness thereby improving patient outcomes, but also improves envelope durability and enhances the longevity of both passive and active heating and cooling systems.
BUILDEX Alberta Panel with Chris Saunders (left), Craig Webber (left-centre),
Peter Dushenski (right-centre), and Sean Mochan (right)
Then in October we were featured in a panel discussion at BUILDEX Alberta entitled “Building for the Future: Hidden Risks and Big Opportunities for High-Performance Construction in Alberta.” Peter and Sean were joined on the panel by HIDI Group Managing Principal Chris Saunders and Group2 Principal Craig Webber. Leveraging shared experience designing the new $207 million Red Deer Justice Centre, which is currently under construction in Central Alberta, we explored the various challenges and trade-offs between high-performance facades and mechanical systems. We also discussed our views on the future of institutional architecture in this province, particularly in the face of environmental concerns, supply chain constraints, and labour shortages. The discussion flowed naturally and was incredibly well received by the packed-house audience, which brought up great questions and comments. That’s what it’s all about!
This year, we continued to expand our online marketing presence, starting with our next evolution in product names – Thermaframe – which contains a simple-to-remember product name for each R-value we offer.
Thermaframe 7 is R7
Thermaframe 8 is R8
Thermaframe 9 PH is R9 and PH denotes Passive House component certification.
You can watch the full Thermaframe video here.
This year we also released a new video explaining how to interpret Thermal Charts. We get this question a lot! And since U-values and R-values are so necessary to our understanding of thermal performance, we made this handy video to provide a quick visual introduction to Thermal Charts. You can watch the full Thermal Charts video here.
Over the past 12 months, we also returned to in-person Lunch & Learns, whole-heartedly engaging with architects, engineers, and contractors in a way that Zoom and Teams can never quite match. But, of course, the convenience of video calls is sometimes too good to ignore, especially when coordinating meetings with firms in multiple offices across the country. As such, we presented 6 in-person Lunch & Learns this year and another 17 virtual ones. We hope to flip that ratio in 2023!
But probably the most important lasting legacy of lockdowns is that we finally had the impetus to launch our Podcast series! With five episodes under our belt and a sixth currently on the cutting room floor, Curtain Wall Conversations has already made a splash in the glass industry for its insight and candor. What’s so special about CWC? Well, this series features one-on-one interviews between Peter and fellow industry experts to explore new ideas of what’s possible with glazed facades! And quite simply, you won’t find anything else like it anywhere but here. So be sure to check out these fantastic episodes:
Episode 1: Phil Parker (Integral Group)
Episode 2: Alex Worden (StudioTJOA)
Episode 3: Chad Howden (Blackcomb Facade Technology)
Episode 4: Brandon Gemme (RJC)
Episode 5: Andrew Peel (Peel Passive House)
Also on the digital front, we launched our new website in 2022! Cleaner, faster, and easier-to-navigate, our new digital footprint really puts our best foot forward. It was a major effort, and we’re proud of the result!
In July, we said a tearful goodbye to our previous Marketing Specialist, Veronica Johnson, as she moved to Ontario to embark on a new journey and we welcomed Sean Mochan to the GlasCurtain team!
Other Major Achievements
GlasCurtain technical team and installers in Texas!
BIG NEWS!! In September, with the support of Alberta Innovates, we traveled back to Intertek’s state-of-the-art facility near San Antonio, Texas, to test our updated Thermaframe series for flame-spread resistance (aka “non-combustibility”). Not only did we intend to update our 2018 CAN/ULC-S134 certification for our home market in Canada, but we also wanted to test Thermaframe to the closely related NFPA-285 test, which applies exclusively to the US market. And would you believe that we PASSED BOTH WITH FLYING COLOURS! Of course, those who’ve been paying attention to the new National Building Code (NBC) of Canada 2020 will already know that aluminum and fibreglass are equivalently “combustible” and therefore equivalently safe for window/curtain wall frame applications but it’s always great to have the test results to back this up even further.
Also, now that we have US market flame-spread certification in-hand, we’re looking deeper into market opportunities in the high-performance construction sector south of the border. As Canadian manufacturers, we couldn’t be more excited with the opportunity to export our innovative fibreglass technology in the not-so-distant-future. We’ll have more detailed information on these flame-spread test results as we put the finishing touches on our documentation with Intertek, so stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
This year, also for our new Thermaframe series, we completed and passed ASTM, AAMA, and CSA testing for air tightness, water tightness, thermal transmittance, and condensation resistance. We’ll also have a full write-up on the implications of Thermaframe’s best-in-class condensation testing later in 2023. So stay tuned!
What to expect for 2023:
While this very eventful year was our best yet at GlasCurtain, it proved challenging in many ways for the industry and the world. While pandemic lockdowns eased in much of the world, they continued in other parts. Tragically, as war returned to Europe, energy prices soared, interest rates rose, construction costs across the board got higher, financing new construction projects became more difficult, securing skilled labour became more challenging, supply chains were strained in new ways, and lead times became more uncertain. But through it all, GlasCurtain continued to work with our suppliers and partners to ensure that our projects remained on-time and on-budget. We remained positive and optimistic about the future, and confident that we’re on the right track towards building a more resilient and sustainable industry and economy, one curtain wall at a time. Looking forward, we’re hopeful that the world will find peace and security, and that we can work together to build a better world.
Our commercial launch at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia!
And no matter what, 2023 will be a BIG year for GlasCurtain. Believe it or not this coming year will be our 10th year of commercial production! What a milestone!!! A decade ago, who would’ve thought that this little start-up from the Canadian Prairies would be working with the top architectural firms in the country to make such a big impact on the built environment? Yet here we are! With a decade of product and market development under our belts, we intend to continue to push the envelope of what’s possible with fibreglass-framed curtain walls. There’s so much more work to do in the years and decades to come!
This coming year in particular, we look forward to continued engagement with North America’s best design and contracting firms through in-person and virtual Lunch & Learns, selecting the best conferences and tradeshows to attend, keeping up the momentum with our Curtain Wall Conversations podcast series, and so much more. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated through our blogs, emails, and social media regarding all this and more.
So to everyone that we collaborated, shared ideas, and built lasting relationships with, GlasCurtain thanks you for the role you played making 2022 so memorable, enjoyable, and productive. We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year. See you in 2023!
[Photo credits: Flynn Ottawa, WalterFedy, IBI Group, GlasCurtain, Alpine Windows, Red Deer Advocate, Reimagine Architects, Reimagine Architects, Passive House Network, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, GlasCurtain, Cooper & O’Hara]