GKD Metal Fabrics Contribute To Eastern Michigan University Achieving LEED Gold

June 17, 2013

Project: Eastern Michigan University, Mark Jefferson Science Complex

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan

Architect: Lord Aeck & Sargent

Customer: Eastern Michigan University

Completion Date: 2011

GKD Metal Fabrics Product: Omega 1510

For the Mark Jefferson Science Complex, Eastern Michigan University and architectural firm Lord Aeck & Sargent found an ideal solar management solution in GKD metal fabrics. Providing an environmentally sustainable solution, GKD collaborated with the design team at the Ann Arbor-based architecture firm to develop and engineer a series of sunshades for the façade of the building.

This solar management solution shields the building from direct sun while providing enough daylight for students and staff to utilize the building with less energy usage and reduced environmental impact. The project was awarded LEED Gold in 2013 (New Construction v2.2), and, in the energy and atmosphere category, it achieved a 31.5% improvement relative to the baseline building performance rating.

Featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of stainless steel metal mesh in 89 panels, the Science Complex offers a revolutionary façade that is both functional and aesthetically stunning. The sweeping three-tier building exterior incorporates cutting-edge solar-management techniques.

The new facility did not come without its share of setbacks. Design and production challenges arose, particularly with finding a manufacturer that could weave panels at the lengths needed to span the height of the building. As one of the leading metal fabric manufacturers in the United States, GKD was brought onto the project to specifically tailor the series of sunshades and outriggers. With the length not being an issue, GKD then developed and engineered a custom-designed outrigger attachment system. In this new addition to GKD’s attachment capabilities, top and bottom arms serve as the primary anchor support while smaller intermediate supports stabilize at every floor plate, imparting no vertical support reactions back to the curtain wall mullions. The metal mesh panels in GKD’s Omega 1510 weave, range in size from 11 to 71 feet in length and were custom woven using a matte finish wire to further minimize glare. The result is solar control at every floor level.

After building completion in August 2012, temperature readings were performed on adjoining locations on the building’s exterior on a sunny 75°F day. The portion of the curtain wall that was shaded with metal fabric was 9.3% above the air temperature 82°F, while the adjoining un?shaded portion was 25.3% hotter 94°F than the air temperature. This substantial temperature difference reinforces the capabilities of GKD Metal Fabrics.

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