Vitro Celebrates Glass
In February 2022, the United Nations oversaw the commencement of the International Year of Glass (IYOG). With more than 1,100 endorsements from 74 countries, IYOG 2022 celebrated the essential role that glass plays in society: supporting scientific and technical breakthroughs, serving as a medium for art and aesthetic design and aiding the development of just and sustainable societies.
At Vitro, our vision for glass is always expanding. In observation of the International Year of Glass, the Vitro research and development team introduced a series of new glass products and technologies that challenge what we thought we knew about architectural glass and how it can take our society to new heights, all while keeping sustainability and environmental responsibility at the center of everything we do.
VacuMax™ Vacuum Insulating Glass
Launched in late 2021, VacuMax™ vacuum insulating glass (VIG) by Vitro integrates with any traditional (and even non-traditional) glazing system to maximize insulation performance. With an R-value of R14⁺, VacuMax™ VIG is the ultimate in thermal glazing, delivering R-values close to those of a traditional wall.
Tempered VacuMax™ VIG units can be used alone as nominal ¼” glass to replace monolithic glass without needing to replace the framing system or as a substitute for the interior lite in any double- or triple-glazed insulating glass unit (IGU), where it forms a second airspace and creates a hybrid IGU. To learn more, visit VacuMaxVIG.com.
Solarvolt™ Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Glass Systems
In early 2021, Vitro announced it had launched Solarvolt™ building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) glass systems, which combine the aesthetics and performance of Vitro Glass products with CO2-free power generation and protection from the elements for commercial buildings.
Solarvolt™ BIPV glass systems can be used to enhance various components of commercial building exteriors, including balustrades and balconies, overhead glazing and skylights, façades and opacified spandrel glass – all while passively generating solar power, reducing air conditioning costs and even replacing conventional cladding materials. To learn more, visit VitroSolarvolt.com.
Watch: Project Insight from Industry Experts
Impressions of Glass in Building Design: JW Marriott, Monterrey, Mexico
The JW Marriott Hotel in Monterrey, Mexico is an icon of the international Marriott hotel brands worldwide. The thoughtful decor and architectural concepts of this luxury hotel pay tribute to the materials from which it was built: iron, steel, noble stones and glass. In this interview with Javier Roberto López González, head of marketing at Prisma Hotel Group, we learn more about this artfully curated hotel, where glass itself has become a main character.
Impressions of Glass in Building Design: Monterrey Technical Institute
Glass, one of the safest and most aesthetically pleasing building materials available today, is an ideal material for keeping us connected with the outside world even while enjoying the comforts of modern architecture. An ideal example of how today's architects can prioritize occupant comfort while maximizing daylighting and views is the Monterrey Technical Institute in Monterrey, Mexico. In this interview with faculty member Carlos Estrada, we learn more about the evolution of glass as a modern building material – and why today's architects feel like "kids in a candy store."
Impressions of Glass in Building Design: Phipps Conservatory
Located in Pittsburgh, Pa., Phipps Conservatory consists of a 14-room glass house and 23 gardens on 15 acres of space. While its many flowers, plants and trees are considered the main event, the facilities in which they live is a testament to the power and beauty of glass. Vitro Architectural Glass is proud to have supplied most of the glass that makes up the conservatory’s iconic structure, where it allows the sun to provide energy to the more than 50,000 plant species that thrive within it. Watch Vitro’s magnificent tour of Phipps Conservatory to learn how glass allows its diverse climates and habitats to flourish all year round.
Impressions of Glass in Building Design: National Aviary
The one and only National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pa., is home to more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world. Dedicated to animal care, conservation and education, the National Aviary connects visitors to nature with truly immersive, interactive experiences inside naturalistic habitats – many of which are enclosed in glass. Learn how the National Aviary partnered with Vitro Architectural Glass to secure more than 40,000 square feet of donated glass to restore its historic Tropical Rainforest and Wetlands habitats and construct a new events center known as The Garden Room.
Impressions of Glass in Building Design: The Tower at PNC Plaza
The Tower at PNC Plaza, located in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., is the commercial headquarters of the PNC Financial Services Group. The 841-foot-tall, 52-story structure is a symbol of PNC's forward-thinking strategies for setting the sustainability standard. Upon completion in 2015, the 1.5 million square foot tower was the greenest skyscraper in the world. Watch Vitro's latest "Impressions of Glass" video to learn how designers accomplished this ambitious feat using Vitro glass products, including Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass.
Investing in Vitro Communities
Great design is frequently inspired by nature, which is why Vitro Architectural Glass is dedicated to its preservation. In 2018, Vitro contributed a supply of 19,600-square-feet of Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass featuring AviProtek® bird-friendly Velour acid-etched finish by Walker Glass to support the restoration of the beloved and historic Tropical Rainforest exhibit at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pa. In 2020, the National Aviary opened The Garden Room, its event and education venue that features Solarban® 72 Acuity™ glass by Vitro with AviProtek® acid-etched markers from Walker on the first surface.
In 2022, Vitro partnered with the National Aviary for a third time to support the restoration of its expansive Wetlands habitat with 20,000-square-feet of Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, a portion of which will be AviProtek® glass with bird-friendly patterns.
“Vitro is proud of its longstanding relationship with the National Aviary, having, in the recent past, donated glass to the renovation of the Tropical Rainforest habitat and The Garden Room,” said Ricardo Maiz, president, Vitro Architectural Glass. “The Aviary is one of Pittsburgh’s jewels and Vitro is honored to contribute the glass that will allow the Wetlands habitat to shine for years to come.”
To learn more, visit aviary.vitroglazings.com.
Pittsburgh Glass Center
Vitro Architectural Glass is a proud partner of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, a nonprofit educational center that celebrates the innovation and creative potential of glass design. In 2022, Vitro sponsored the creation and installation of signage at the Pittsburgh Glass Center that present the history of glass in Pittsburgh and explain the types of tools and equipment used to create glass.
Vitro has also sponsored the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s annual fundraising events, which allow the Center to carry out its educational and community-building programs throughout the year.
In 2021, Vitro Architectural Glass donated Solarban® 70 solar control, low-e glass to the Weber State University (WSU) team participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon® 2020 Build Challenge. In addition to earning the energy performance contest win, the WSU team’s project – now a 2,540 square-foot home in Ogden, Utah – finished fifth overall in the 2020 Build Challenge.
The WSU team chose Solarban® 70 glass for the 2020 Build Challenge project after researching its benefits and determining its cost-saving features and increased efficiency would offer the best solution for meeting the project’s budget and performance demands. Ahead of the 2023 Build Challenge, Vitro is working with participating student teams to prepare for their construction phases and recommend energy-efficient glass products to be donated upon specification.
Making Glass History
- 1883: The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, which would later become PPG Glass, is founded as the first plate glass plant in the U.S.
- 1909: Vidriera Monterrey, a glass containers plant that would grow to become Vitro, begins operations.
- 1934: Solex® glass, which is now known as Solexia™ glass and is still manufactured today, is introduced as the world’s first “environmental” glass.
- 1945: Twindow® is introduced as the first successful double-paned insulating glass.
- 1964: PPG introduces Solarban® Twindow® glass as one of the first coated glasses designed to block solar heat gain and reduce air conditioning use.
- 1983: Solarban® glass is introduced as PPG Glass’s first MSVD single sliver, low-e glass – and is still the most specified brand of architectural glass to this day.
- 2016: PPG Flat Glass is acquired by Vitro S.A.B. de C.V., maintaining the proven products, plants, people and processes that made the company an industry leader.
- 2017: Vitro Glass becomes the first North American glass manufacturer to publish third-party-verified, product-specific Type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its flat glass and processed glass products.
- 2021: Ahead of the biggest year in glass history, Vitro launches three innovative glass products: Solarban® R77 solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glass, VacuMax™ Vacuum Insulating Glass (VIG), which offers the ultimate in thermal glazing solutions with R-values of R14+, and Solarvolt™ Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) glass lites, which combine the aesthetics and performance of Vitro Glass products with CO2-free power generation and protection from the elements.