Square Diffuser Caters to People Who Prefer Sharp-angled Shapes

The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

Round versus square. Sharp lines versus curves. The human brain processes each of these differently, according to a Harvard Medical School study led by Moshe Bar and Maital Neta. In their study with round and square objects, they found that most people prefer rounded objects and shapes to sharp-angled ones. Over the past 25 years, Solatube International has been catering to this majority with its round diffusers. But what about those who prefer sharper lines?

Solatube introduces a square diffuser for residential Solatube Daylighting Systems.

The patented Spectralight Infinity transition box takes the round tube into the square hole at the ceiling. The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs, which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs, which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs (also known as tubular skylights), which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings. Solatube Daylighting Systems are installed as part of energy-saving and sustainability efforts in residential and commercial spaces in over 122 countries.

Using patented technology, a Solatube Daylighting System harvests daylight at the rooftop, transfers it down a reflective tube (which bends up to 90 degrees and can be up to 70 feet or more long) and distributes it evenly into an interior space through a diffuser at the ceiling.

The BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership Installs Tornado-Resistant Daylighting Systems and Other Sustainable Materials

On the night of May 4, 2007, brothers Kelly and Mike Estes saw their BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership obliterated by an EF5 tornado nearly 2-miles wide (according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which rates the strength of tornados by the damage caused; view the scale on page 3). Astoundingly, 95 percent of their town—Greensburg, Kan.—was also destroyed that day. The tornado did much more than rip roofs off buildings and toss things around; it turned the entire community into what looked like kindling.

Rarely do communities get hit by an EF5 tornado, which can come about when air masses collide. Sometimes warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico rises above drier air from the Southwest deserts in the U.S. This can create unstable conditions resulting in thunderstorms and worse. A strong collision of air masses creates a strong storm. Additionally, wind patterns and the jet stream can magnify the storm, resulting in what people refer to as “the perfect storm”.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

Despite the large-scale losses incurred by the entire town, 100 customers and friends of the Estes family showed up the morning of May 5 to help them salvage what remained of their business. Shortly after the tornado disaster, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius stated her wish that Greensburg become the “the greenest city in the state”.

As part of their commitment to their community, Kelly, Mike and their family decided to rebuild their business in a better, greener way. They wanted the new 28,000-square-foot prefabricated metal building to be the world’s greenest farm-machinery facility; attain a LEED Platinum rating from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council; and use the least energy possible. One of the most important considerations was using building materials that could withstand future tornados.

DAYLIGHTING

To help achieve LEED Platinum and outlast any future high-velocity winds, they incorporated 12 Daylighting Systems in their retail area’s roof to showcase their merchandise; reduce lighting energy costs; and flood the area with natural light, a benefit for customers and employees.

The Daylighting Systems capture light through a dome on the roof and channel it down through a highly reflective tube. This tubing is more efficient than a traditional drywall skylight shaft, which can lose over half of the potential light. The tubing fits between rafters and installs with no structural modification. At the ceiling level, a diffuser that resembles a recessed light fixture spreads the light evenly throughout the room.

The dome is made from high-quality acrylic resin that is specifically formulated for increased impact strength, chemical- and weather-resistance, and high clarity (a polycarbonate inner dome is used for high-velocity hurricane zones). Domes are engineered to deflect midday heat and maximize low-angle light capture. The tubing is made from puncture-proof aluminum sheet coated with the highly reflective material for maximum light transfer. The units (independently tested by Architectural Testing in Fresno, Calif.) comply with various building codes including the 2009 International Building Code and 2010 Florida Building Code, including high-velocity hurricane zones.

“When our power went out one time for four hours, we were able to keep the shop open and operating due to daylight strategies, which includes the Daylighting Systems,” notes Mike Estes. “We didn’t anticipate this benefit but we’re really happy to have this bonus.”
PHOTO: SOLATUBE INTERNATIONAL INC.

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Projects: Hospitality & Entertainment

The Lobby, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail, Colo.

The Lobby, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail, Colo.

The Lobby, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail, Colo.

Team

Design Architect: Zehren & Associates, Avon, Colo.
Engineer: Monroe & Newell Engineers Inc., Denver
Owner: Vail Valley Foundation, Vail

Roof Materials

The Vail Valley Foundation envisioned an iconic entrance for the amphitheater that not only would accommodate guests, protect against the elements and provide facilities, but also would recognize and celebrate the Ford family and mirror the amphitheater’s atmosphere.

Under the Vail Valley Foundation, Zehren’s team of architects chose approximately 5,500 square feet of PTFE fiberglass membrane canopies to make the vision for The Lobby a reality. PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, is a Teflon-coated woven fiberglass membrane that is durable and weather resistant. The PTFE fiber coating is chemically inert, capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and immune to UV radiation.

Designer, fabricator and installer of PTFE fiberglass membrane: Birdair

Building Report

The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is a remarkable outdoor venue nestled along a hillside with a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains. The Lobby, which is adjacent to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Ford Park, serves not only as an impressive entrance to the amphitheater, but also as a shelter from inclement weather, a social gathering point prior to entering the amphitheater, and a place for ticket and bag check. The Lobby allows for a smooth transition into the venue.

Within the Lobby resides a mini-stage that can accommodate pre-show performances, along with a new stand for concessions and restrooms. Around the perimeter of the space rests informal boulder seating, and alpine landscapes border the surrounding walls. Overall, the aesthetics of the space mirror the pristine landscape and enjoyable outdoor atmosphere.

The Lobby also holds a Ford family tribute: a series of symbolic sculptures and interpretive elements intended to pay homage to President and Mrs. Ford and their family. This tribute is a new landmark in Vail celebrating the family’s commitment to their adopted hometown and the positive changes that they made to the community.

PHOTO: BIRDAIR

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Daylighting System Features Large Aperture

Solatube International Inc.'s SkyVault Series M74 DS Daylighting System

Solatube International Inc.’s SkyVault Series M74 DS Daylighting System

Solatube International Inc. has launched the SkyVault Series M74 DS Daylighting System. It features a 29-inch diameter opening to the sky and an increased aperture making it possible for more light to enter an area. More daylight means higher daytime illuminance and/or greater spacing between units with fewer roof penetrations. The product is well suited for large-volume spaces with high ceilings, such as airports, convention centers, lobbies, warehouses, manufacturing facilities and retail centers.

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