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SOLARBAN Glass Enhances Sustainable Design of Swarthmore College Buildings

The PRR Apartments at Swarthmore College. Photography by Andy Shelter

Vitro Architectural Glass products promote daylighting, energy performance for buildings at Swarthmore College

Vitro Architectural Glass and Walker Glass recently teamed up to provide AviProtek-E® bird-safe glass for two new buildings on the campus of Swarthmore College: The Whittier Hall pavilion and The PPR Apartments at Swarthmore.

Heated via geothermal energy, The PPR Apartments at Swarthmore’s suite-style living spaces are located near downtown Swarthmore, a short distance from local eateries and shops.

As one of the first projects constructed under Swarthmore College’s new sustainability framework standards, AviProtek® E bird-safe glass by Walker glass was combined with Solarban® 67 glass by Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) to enhance the eco-friendly character of the PPR Apartments.

In a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban 67 glass provides a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.29 and visible light transmittance (VLT) of 54% to deliver abundant daylight while reducing loads for artificial heating and cooling. The glass also provides clear views of the Swarthmore College campus, which further enhances its connection to the community.

Designed for Swarthmore College’s art department, the 19,000-square-foot Whittier Hall pavilion features overhead skylights that provide natural lighting for the painting and drawing studios. The building also houses studios designed for sculpture and ceramics work, along with a student workspace and an outdoor sculpture garden.

A signature element of the pavilion is a glass curtainwall that unites bird-friendly AviProtek patterns acid-etched on Solarban® 60 solar control, low-e glass by Vitro Glass. In addition to providing a safer environment for the school’s abundant bird population, the curtainwall delivers year-round heating and cooling cost savings. Even finished with Walker Glass’s bird-friendly acid-etched patterns, Solarban® 60 glass provides a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.39 while allowing 70% of its visible light to pass through. Whittier Hall also incorporates sunshades to further reduce solar heat gain, a photovoltaic array for electricity generation and a large geothermal well field for heating and cooling.

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AviProtek® E bird-safe low-e glass by Walker Glass helps architects and building owners to achieve their environmental goals, earn LEED® credits and meet solar-performance targets. The only bird-safe glass product available with an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), the product features a selection of patterns that can be applied as horizontal, vertical or decorative visual markers on the first (exterior) surface of clear, Acuity™ low-iron and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass substrates by Vitro Glass; and with Solarban® 60 glass or Solarban® 70 glass on the second (interior) surface of an IGU.

For additional information about Solarban® 60 and Solarban® 67 glasses and Vitro Glass’s full line of architectural glasses, visit or call 1-855-VTRO-GLS (887-6457).

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