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Category: Sustainable

Guardian’s Keynote at GANA’s BEC Conference

Net Zero Envelope

Commercial Facade Value Chain

I  just returned from the BEC Conference in Las Vegas and wanted to share a few golden nuggets from the show floor. Although there were a number of interesting presentations, it was the Keynote by Guardian President Scott Thomsen, entitled “State of the Glass and Glazing Industry” that I found captivating. Thomsen’s address felt fresh and truly relevant to the evolution of the glass and glazing industry.

Thomsen, at the helm of Guardians Global Flat Glass Group is advocating a different way of doing business, based on what he called the “Battle for the Wall”. He defined this effort as the increasing competition of various materials for exterior wall space. He noted that there are a number of systems that are gaining market traction, such as stucco, stone, precast, etc. In addition, the latest ASHRAE standards attempted to reduce the maximum prescriptive window to wall ratio from 40%, down to 30%. This limiting attempt, was a narrow and short sighted view of a how to improve building energy efficiency.

Guardian is determined to support our industry as a whole, to maintain the window to wall ratios and grow that percentage of glazed area by enhancing the communication, cooperation and integration of the supply chain.  This new approach also advocates and embraces the innovation of game changing products like those from View, which are installed with our own Net Zero™ Envelope Systems from BISEM.

As a Guardian partner, I have experienced this strategy first hand, and felt the company’s engagement and support for super energy efficient envelopes.  They are perfectly in line with what I see as the future of the glass industry. They have made a direct commitment by shepherding disruptive technologies from cool ideas by scientists to cost effective, manufactured, tested products.

In summary, what I took from this exciting and relevant conversation was a reminder that Glaziers must be involved in the early phases of design, as the mechanical and electrical systems are developed. We have to bring our expertise and understanding to the table and advocate for more day lighting and visual light transmittance through the use of high efficiency glazing systems.

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero, Net Zero Energy Design, News, Nick's Opinions, Sustainable, Uncategorized 4,803

Net Zero Envelope TM

The latest issue of Glass Magazine highlighted one of BISEM’s mid-rise retrofit projects. Turner Construction used our Net Zero Envelope to create a beautiful, energy efficient new facade for an aging, leaking; building that looked like something out of Stalin’s Russian. The system used high performance Low E Glass by Guardian Industries and ACM Panels to create a beautiful collage of colors and geometric designs. The flexible grid and cassette system allows for simple removal of any panel on the wall. It also accommodates Electrochromic Glass and Photovoltaic Panels into a pre-wired BIPV Curtain Wall system.

 Please take a look at the article: Glass Magazine

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 783

BIPV and the Glass Industry

There was an article today in Glass Magazine that talks about BIPV and the glazing industry. See the LINK. The glass business moves slowly, and the idea of electrifying curtain walls, is a little too scary for most glaziers. The only way to make Net Zero Envelopes a viable option is to educate the architectural community, and give glaziers tools or systems to make the process simple.

I am presenting a PV Curtain Wall seminar the the NGA’s Glass Build America show in Las Vegas on September 14th (Solar Power Symposium). There will be four hours of product description, industry standards, and the trends established by some of the largest manufacturers in the US. I hope you can make it. I will show you how to make it simple!

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 626

SMUD & BISEM-USA complete first ever PV Curtain Wall Retrofit project in USA

Net Zero Envelope - BISEM-USA Curtain Wall Retrofit at SMUD Headquarters

BISEM-USA just completed the first ever BIPV Curtain Wall Retrofit (LINK to full article) in the United States. This sustainable installation was completed in partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) architectural teams. The UL Approved System is a tested waterproof integration of energy generating photovoltaic panels into a proprietary screen wall, that can be installed onto ANY vertical curtain wall in North America. The installation is very cost effective, and competitively priced with rooftop PV.

There are 338,000 office buildings in the US that account for more than $1.2 billion square feet of vertical wall area. This innovative Net Zero Envelope™ solution makes that existing building stock available to produce energy. As developers recognize the ROI (return on investment) of energy efficient retrofits, existing vertical walls are a logical place to capture the energy of the sun to augment the electrical supply of the building.

There is a revolution happening in the building products industry. Super efficient scientific discoveries are be transformed from lab tested ideas, to cost effective mass produced products. An example is Guardian Industries with their unique mix of technical research ability, and decades of price sensitive manufacturing. BISEM is teamed up with corporate giants like Guardian, to provide expertise in system design, installation procedures, and product testing.

Johnson Controls Inc. is using BISEM-USA’s  system to add energy production to buildings that, until now were unable to generate electricity on site. The PACE program, administered by Ygrene and supported by the Carbon War Room supplies funding for cost effective retrofits of old, inefficient buildings. The money saved from lower energy bills, is used to pay for the cost of the building retrofits!

We are on the path to Net Zero Energy buildings. Join us!

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 762

GSA’s Commitment to Net Zero Energy

AIA 2012  Net Zero Envelope Solution

AIA 2012 Net Zero Envelope Solution

I attended the AIA National Convention in Washington DC this year with my new Net Zero Envelope partners, Guardian Industries, Pythagoras Solar, and Soladigm. Take a look at the video: BISEM-USA AIA 2012. We are building the walls of the future now, and the first implementations are happening for the General Service Administration or GSA.

While I was at AIA 2012, I listened to Dirk Meyer (National Advisor Building Enclosures) for GSA give a 6:30 AM presentation on exterior enclosures. I am a certified curtain wall geek, so I was up at 5:30 to make sure I heard every word of his presentation. The Federal Government is leading the way in exterior envelope efficiency, and Dirk provided insight as to their goals and direction. GSA now requires Performance Based Contracts for Deep Energy Retrofits. The government wants to build 100 year buildings that live up to their Design Excellence Program. GSA does not design its own projects, they rely on the architectural community and building systems experts, like BISEM-USA to provide 100% of the design and specifications to meet the ‘Dignity, Enterprise, Vigor, & Stability’ of America’s buildings.

The buildings of the future will provide opportunities for behavior changes through building controls that are tuned to the occupant’s needs and requirements. The exterior envelope is a critical piece of this puzzle.

I am excited about the challenge, and our cost effective Net Zero Envelope solutions ready to meet it!


Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 659

Breaking Down Net Zero: Reality or Wishful Thinking?

 By Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice

www.bisem-usa.com Sustainable building is becoming more and more of a focus, both from a private organization sector and governmental perspective. Furthermore, net zero is becoming an eager approach to building and design initiatives–that is, net zero consumption–meaning that over the course of a year (the benchmarking period) a building has produced as much energy as it’s consumed. 

 It seems overly eager, but there are some considerable achievements happening coast to coast. Additionally, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires all federal buildings achieve net zero by 2030, and all commercial buildings by 2050. So, it’s become a largely expected achievement over the next few decades. 

 Using McCormick’s recent achievement of converting a 363,000 square foot distribution center to a net zero facility as an example, the Sustainable Manufacturing Manager at McCormick says, “The most important maneuver in a net zero makeover is to focus on energy efficiency first, reducing consumption–making a facility as efficient as possible.” Addressing inefficient operations and upgrading things like HVAC and lighting systems. 

 After the facility retrofits were made, McCormick had a series of photovoltaic solar panels (PV) installed that produced enough energy to equalize the consumption/production ration. 

 In the case of new building initiatives with the ultimate goal being to achieve net zero consumption, the experts suggest four major considerations to keep in mind throughout the design, construction, and post-occupancy stages: 

  • Pre-design initiatives and meetings should integrate the insights of all key people involved in a project including: stakeholders, board members, chief officers, bankers, designers, builders, and management team insists Anderson.
  • Implement precise cost-modeling early on in the project planning phase. Energy prediction can be difficult to accurately calculate pre-occupancy. Bisson says, “Energy modeling allows you to better figure out how to reduce cold air, absorb sunlight, and understand insulation.” 
  • Don’t miss financial incentives or funding opportunities. Some projects can benefit from state and/or federal funding or tax incentives. In fact, Bisson suggets, “You can build a net zero energy building–with state incentives–at very close to the same cost as traditional construction.”
  • There will be challenges along the way and regular oversight is essential. Performance can wander over time. Crawley reminds us, “It requires a commitment from the building owner and operator to ensure the design intent is carried out.”

Read the original story here to hear what the experts say about the future of net zero building. 


Ashley M. Halligan
Facility Management Analyst
Software Advice

(512) 539-0016

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Guest Articles, Net Zero Energy Design, Sustainable 600

Net Zero Envelope Imagined:

Guardian Net Zero Envelope Solution

Guardian Adds BISEM-USA to thier Advanced Glazing Technology group

I was at the Guardian Industries STC (Science & Technology Center) last week. This is an elite group of 125 scientists that are devoted to developing the most energy efficient glazing products in the world. Hundreds of pieces of equipment, used to test ideas for improving Solar Heat Gain Coefficients, U-Values, Sound Transmittance, and energy generation in transparent envelopes. They monitor twenty nine glass manufacturing facilities across the globe to insure the highest levels of quality.

I was there, as a representative of BISEM-USA to work on Guardian’s Glaziers Advantage program. The program introduces Guardian’s quality control, and vast array of energy efficient products to key glazing installers around the United States.

Guardian manufactures a vast array of glass products, with high performance coatings. Their highly efficient glass is the key component architects use to design beautiful transparent curtain walls, and at the same time, keep up with energy efficient requirements of modern buildings. The next generation of Advanced Glazing Technology, includes Electrochromic Glass and PVGU (Photovoltaic Glass Units).

Their first channel partner in this new world of Net Zero Envelopes was Pythagoras Solar. Pythagoras has a proprietary transparent photovoltaic panel that is encapsulated into an insulating glass unit…or PVGU! The second channel partner is Soladigm Glass. They manufacture an electrochromic glass product that can tune its SHGC and transparency to match the requirements of a building. Both systems require electrification of the curtainwall. BISEM-USA was chosen as the third channel partner to integrate Low E glass, Pythagoras PVGU, and Soladigm’s electrochromic glass into electrified curtain walls.

BISEM-USA started working on photovoltaic curtain wall solutions in 2007. In 2009, we received UL Approval of our electrified walls. Now, in 2012, we are part of a group of globally significant partners that plan to change the way architects and owners think of the exterior envelope. Together we will define the Net Zero Envelope.

Posted 5 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 2,327

PV Curtain Walls for Net Zero Buildings


PV Rainscreen in Sacramento, California www.BISEM-USA.com

I just read an article about BIPV products, in BuildGreen.com.  A noted expert commented that the US is not ready for BIPV. Well he is wrong, and there are a lot of people who believe that NOW is the time for a true see change in the way buildings are designed. If standard size photovoltaic panels are used in a BIPV Curtain Wall, a private developer can achieve a 24 month, 100% payback of the photovoltaic premium.

Then, the energy production is free for the next 23 years! I know your local utility will never give you that deal.

Energy prices will rise over the next twenty years, just look at the cost of gasoline. There are very cost effective solutions for introduction of photovoltaic’s into building envelopes. This is one of the first steps in creating a Net Zero Energy Building community.

BISEM Inc has solutions that allow simple integration of photovoltaic panels into any new or existing building for a very reasonable price.

Posted 6 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 230

PV-Photovoltaic-Curtain-Wall Zero-Energy-Building-Solution


PV Photovoltaic Curtain Wall www.BISEM-USA.com

PV Dry Screen www.BISEM-USA.com










BISEM Inc has a cost effective solution to help you achieve a Net Zero Energy Building

1.   RETURN ON INVESTMENT: The spread sheet below defines the Federal Tax credits that are available with any of the Focus Materials BiPV Systems. They are as follows:

  • The BiPV Federal Tax Credit which allows a 30% direct tax credit in the first year after installation. President Bush signed this into law in 2003, and President Obama again signed the bill and extended it until 2017.
  • The second tax advantage is the MACRS accelerate depreciation. This reduces full depreciation time from 39 years to 5 years.
  • Every city in the US has local utility subsidies that differ per municipality. I have included the rebate offered by SMUD of Sacramento in June of 2011.
  • Energy production for 25 years.
      100% Payback in 28 Months        
Assumption: Five story office building with 40,000 square feet of curtain wall
Assumption: South elevation of the curtain wall is 10,000 square feet
        Square Feet $/sf Cost  
Standard Curtain  Wall:   10,000  $ 100  $ 1,000,000  
BiPV Curtain Wall Premium: 10,000  $ 100  $ 1,000,000  
Total Taxable BiPV:        $ 2,000,000  
Federal Tax Credit 30% of total BiPV in First Year                       
     $     576,000  
MACRS Depreciation Year One:      $     147,533  
SMUD – Sacramento’s Utility Rebate:    $       85,000  
MACRS Depreciation Federal/State Year Two:  $     147,533  
MACRS Depreciation Federal/State Year Three:  $     147,533 110%
MACRS Depreciation Federal/State Year Four:  $     147,533 15%
MACRS Depreciation Federal/State Year Five:  $     147,533 15%
Energy Production for 37kW:     $20,000 Yr+/-


2. EASY, TURNKEY, POWER-PRODUCING WALL FOR YOUR BUILDING: BISEM’s power-producing wall is a complete solution for mid-rise and high-rise projects. The solution brings together four, usually separate, trades. These are: DC Electrical, AC Electrical, Curtain Wall, and Waterproofing.

  • The DC & Photovoltaic Design calculates system size and determines PV module selection, DC wiring, UL Rated harnesses, inverter size, lifecycle replacement, and the monitoring solution for the project.
  • All AC Electrical Coordination and integration from start to finish. BISEM designed and developed a shop installed, UL  Approved wiring harness, which reduces field labor by 85%.
  • Curtain Wall Design and Installation is the skill set that sets BISEM’s apart. We have 25 years of experience with large curtain wall projects. The U-Value, Shading Coefficients and AAMA water testing procedures are all included in our turnkey, multi-trade solution.
  • Waterproofing  is the final piece of manufacturing and installation of the building’s exterior skin. The systems are water tight and we have 25 years of experience in keeping building dry.


3. ZERO ENERGY BUILDING SOLUTION: These products were designed to fulfill a portion of the energy production that is required to achieve a ZEB (Zero Energy Building). We took our passion for sustainability and created our own ZEB manufacturing facility. Using our experience of building a ZEB, and our extensive knowledge of exterior envelope design, we leveraged the lessons learned to create BISEM product line. To have a successful ZEB, developers and architects must design to reduce energy usage, figure energy needs, and finally add energy production. BISEM provides a key piece to the ZEB puzzle.

4. COMPATIBLE WITH FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES: The BISEM Wall flexible aluminum chassis was designed to incorporate utility grade PV panels, but it can easily swap the installed panels for the newest technology innovations. With our system, innovations in technology can be updated into your wall, at any time.

  • Examples of recent product improvements are: the elimination of field installed conduit with innovative parallel wiring, incorporation of thin film technology, use of Sage Electrochromic Glass, Pythagoras Solar Technology, and Dow Corning’s R40 VIP (Vacuum Insulated Panel).
  • Examples of ongoing research and development include: hot water generation from the exterior envelope, captured warm air from exterior envelope, LED lights powered by PV on sunscreens, day-lighting technology, building controls for smart envelopes, smart windows, smart sunshades, smart glass, and DC office lighting solutions to eliminate the use of inverters and computer DC power supplies.


5. UTILITY GRADE RELIABILITY is the basis of all of our design. This standard allows BISEM to provide surprisingly cost effective solutions with extremely high performance.

 6. FLEXIBLE OPTIONS are always available, but remember, with color and transparency comes increased cost and decreased performance.


Posted 6 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Sustainable 96

Zero Energy Building ZEB Products: Photovoltaic PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc PV Sunscreen

BISEM PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc PV Sunscreen

BISEM Inc Poly Crystalline Sunscreen

BISEM Inc Poly Crystalline Sunscreen

… Photovoltaic Sunscreen is an economical, pre-engineered sun shade that can be installed with the BiPV curtain wall or with any manufacturer’s pressure plate curtain wall. This is a perfect product to help generate energy if your goal is a Net Zero Energy Building.

  • The BiPV Sunscreen can also be installed as a stand-alone sunscreen onto any wall substrate.
  • Our Engineer’s were tasked to use standard curtain wall installation practices and devise a system that could be easily installed by any qualified glazier in the United States.
  • Clear instructions for mechanical and electrical installation are included with this versatile product.
Posted 6 years ago by admin in BiPV Curtain Wall, Net Zero Energy Design, Photovoltaic Curtainwall, Products, Sustainable 1,125