Architects' Viewpoint

AIA National Convention Recap

aia_wiLast month I had the pleasure of attending the AIA National Convention in Chicago. This was an opportunity to meet with architects, customers, and to observe the direction of the building and construction industry. It was exciting to see how multiwall polycarbonate and Lumira® aerogel products play a critical role in the construction industry.

The products featured at the Expo and in the Keynote presentations continue to show the importance of sustainable and green design. Speaker Ed Mazria, AIA, highlighted the impact that buildings have on the environment; they are responsible for 75% of all carbon emissions. He also outlined aggressive goals, such as striving for carbon neutrality by the year 2030. What was most encouraging is that the efforts of architects and designers utilizing new design methods. Advanced products are starting to make a difference, making goals such as carbon neutrality obtainable.

This is why it is exciting to have an advanced daylighting product like Lumira® aerogel filled multiwall polycarbonate. Carbon neutrality will require thermal efficient buildings. With an R-10, a 40mm THERMOCLICK™ panel filled with aerogel is one of the most thermal efficient glazing products available. Panels filled with Lumira® aerogel provide thermal efficiency as well as quality, diffused light. These features are important as architects and designers work to achieve important climate change goals, such as daylighting and sustainable design.

The AIA National Convention showcased what architects are doing to achieve these goals in local communities and around the world. AmeriLux International is also working towards achieving these goals, not just with our product offerings, but also with our technical and support resources.

Tim Fikkert, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Lumira® aerogel is a registered trademark of Cabot Corporation

THERMOCLICK is option a trademark of SABIC Innovative Plastics IP B. V.


Architects' Viewpoint

AIA Northeast Wisconsin Eat & Earn Program

Daylighting with Aerogel-Filled Multiwall Polycarbonate

Provider: AmeriLux International

Tuesday, June 17

  • 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
  • Appleton: Holiday Inn Appleton, 150 S Nicolet Rd, Appleton

Wednesday, June 18

  • 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
  • Green Bay: Titletown Brewing, 200 Dousman St. Green Bay, WI

Thursday, June 19

  • 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
  • Sheboygan: Highland House, 820 Indiana Ave, Sheboygan, WI

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Chemical make-up, production methods, sustainable nature, and high performance of aerogel?
  • How natural light improves our moods, health, and productivity. Sustainable features of natural light over artificial lighting?
  • Aerogel’s ability to overcome past daylighting issues such as thermal loss and glare?
  • Combining the thermal performance and light diffusion with the strength and usability of multiwall polycarbonate?
  • How aerogel filled multiwall polycarbonate is easily integrated into existing daylighting systems?

1.0 AIA/CES Learning Unit  |  Pre-registered members can attend for Free




Architects' Viewpoint

Part Two of: “What do the Performance Values Mean?”

(This is 1 of 3 Posts dedicated to: “What do the Performance Values Mean?”)

Visible Light Transmittance (VLT)

Visible Light Transmittance (VLT) is the amount of visible light that transmits through a product. Specifically, visible light transmittance is referring to the visible portion of the light spectrum – the portion that we can see. VLT is often used interchangeably with the term “Light Transmittance”.

To obtain the correct light levels with daylighting, it is important to use products with the proper visible light transmittance. Using a product with a higher VLT will often allow for less glazing, which can be a huge cost savings. As with the U-Value, standardized testing is important and the NFRC has third party testing requirements for VLT.

Another important consideration is the quality of the light that is being transmitted. While VLT is the most common requirement for light levels, diffusion can be equally impactful on the lighting of a space. Light diffusion distributes the light equally to all areas of a space and reduces glare. An even, glare-free light is easier for the eyes to adjust to and creates a more pleasant interior environment.



Architects' Viewpoint

Part One of: “What do the Performance Values Mean?”

(This is 1 of 3 Posts dedicated to: “What do the Performance Values Mean?”)

The need for high efficiency and sustainability is bringing greater performance requirements for buildings. For this reason it is important that all the products used in these buildings meet the specific requirements of the designers. To provide architects and engineers with the proper information, several performance values are commonly used with glazing products.

Part One of the Three Part Series: U-Value

U-Value is the overall heat transfer coefficient of a material. In simpler terms, it is a measurement for the insulation value of a product and is the inverse of the R-Value. The US unit of measurement is BTU/(h F ft2) and the value is between 0 and 1. This is important to know as the European value will look quite different than the US. The lower the U-value a material has, the better its thermal insulation. In short, a lower U-Value = Better Insulation = A More Efficient Building.

An example of a very low U-Value is a 40mm LEXAN™ THERMOCLICK™ panel filled with Lumira® aerogel at .10, this equals an R-Value of 10.

1/U-Value = R-Value or 1/.10 = 10

There are several ways to determine U-Value. Because thermal performance changes depending on conditions, such as temperature and humidity, designers and manufacturers rely on standardized test methods. These include calculations such as the ISO 10077 or a physical test like the ASTM C 1363. To ensure standardization across manufacturers, designers often require products tested by a Third Party, per NFRC requirements. The NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) oversees a variety of test methods and design calculations for windows, skylights, and doors. By using a standardized test completed by a third party, designers can confidently specify a product based on its ability to perform as needed. To best serve designers and customers, AmeriLux has approved NFRC testing for a variety of products.




Architects' Viewpoint

Distance Learning Options

With the end of the year less than two months away, many architects are looking to meet the last of their AIA Continuing Education requirements. AmeriLux International’s Distance Learning Program is an excellent way to get required Learning Units and to learn more about daylighting and multiwall polycarbonate.

If you are an architect looking for additional Learning Units, please take a look at the options below. If you have customers or contacts who are architects, please share this information or sign up yourself to learn more about your customer’s needs.


AEC Daily Course:

New in August, this course provides an excellent overview of multiwall polycarbonate and daylighting systems. The easy to use format involves reading through a presentation, taking a simple 10 question quiz, and can be completed in under an hour. The ability to take this course at any time, from any location, makes it one of the most convenient ways to get Learning Units.



Webinars are offered online and can be attended from any location with an internet connection. Through the remainder of the year, AmeriLux will be offering a webinar every 2 to 3 weeks. These webinars offer convenience with the added benefit of live instruction. There are four topics to choose from and a webinar on each topic will be scheduled before the end of the year.

Daylighting with Aerogel-Filled Multiwall Polycarbonate:

Vertical Translucent Glazing Multiwall Polycarbonate Systems:

Daylighting and Energy Efficiency with “Green” Polycarbonate Solutions:

  • Scheduled Time: TBD

Achieving Sustainable Design with Polycarbonate Standing Seam Products:

  • Scheduled Time: TBD

If you would like to schedule a webinar, please contact Tim Fikkert at 888.602.4441. For more information on the AmeriLux AIA Approved Distance Learning Program, please click here to visit our website.


Architects' Viewpoint

Committed to Product Development and Testing

On a recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to visit the Architectural Testing facility located in Fresno. The timing was perfect as several of our products are in the process of getting tested per NFRC.

Equipment for testing SHGC at Architectural Testing Fresno Facility.
Equipment for testing SHGC at the Architectural Testing Fresno, CA Facility.

This advanced level of testing starts with a selection of products based on market needs, past usage, and customer input. Products are selected for testing that will provide the highest benefit to customers and end users. While the actual testing is the responsibility of the lab, AmeriLux International stays closely involved throughout the testing process ensuring accurate materials are tested.

The most recent testing completed was for the Lumira® aerogel Consortium. A Lumira® aerogel-filled 40mm Clear Lexan™ Thermoclick™ panel was tested per NFRC. The test results of .10 U-Value, .42 SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient), and 38% Light Transmittance verify the high performance of Lumira® aerogel and Lexan™ Thermoclick™. The combination of light transmittance, U-Value, and diffused light put Lumira® aerogel-filled Thermoclick™ panels in a category of its own in the glazing and daylighting market.

Product development and testing have become a permanent part of the building and construction industry. This is especially true with the high demands placed on glazing and daylighting products. AmeriLux International and its partners are committed to developing superior products that exceed our customer expectations and requirements.

If you would like more information on any of our products or if you have any testing related needs, please call 888.602.4441 or send an email to

Tim Fikkert, AIA


Architects' Viewpoint Uncategorized

Achieving Sustainable Design with Polycarbonate Standing Seam Products

Standing Seam Multiwall Polycarbonate Systems are an ideal option for canopies and translucent daylighting. Familiar to roofing and glazing contractors, these systems utilize the many advantages of multiwall polycarbonate in a standing seam system. The Lexapanel™ Standing Seam is the first variable system offering panel widths other than 2’-0”.

To help educate architects, contractors and end users about the benefits of multiwall polycarbonate and standing seam systems, AmeriLux is hosting a distance learning webinar, Thursday, May 2nd at 12 pm Central Time. Registration is free and AIA continuing education learning units are available for this webinar.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the many benefits of using multiwall polycarbonate and standing seam systems. For more information and registration, please see links below:

Webinar Overview: Achieving Sustainable Design with Polycarbonate Standing Seam Products

Available Webinar Times: Thursday, May 2nd, 1:00 pm EST | 12:00 pm CST | 11:00 am MST | 10:00 am PST – Click Here to Register



Architects' Viewpoint

What is Aerogel?

Samuel Stephens Kistler, the inventor of aerogels, was born on March 26, 1900. Kistler’s invention of aerogel in 1931 is a notable event and has led many to declare March 26th as “Aerogel Day”. Over 80 years later, aerogels are still considered the lightest solids and are being used in a remarkable number of uses.

Safe mass-production of aerogel was not possible until the start of the 21st century. As with many products, it is this mass-production process and common use that has shown the real value of aerogels. For example, Lumira® aerogel, a silica aerogel, is now available for any building project. No longer is aerogel only for NASA and government research labs.

Through the Lumira® Consortium, AmeriLux International fills multiwall polycarbonate panels with Lumira® aerogel for use in skylights and high performance glazing. The unique characteristics of Lumira® aerogel, such as natural light diffusion, high thermal resistance, and light in weight, make it ideal for daylighting.

  • The natural light diffusion and glare elimination provided by Lumira® aerogel-filled panels helps light reach deep into the corners of a space.
  • The high thermal resistance means there is no longer a need to choose between daylight and high R-Values.

While we don’t get this day off, the achievements of Steven Kistler are impressive none the less. And even though the chemistry and significance of this discovery may be above most of us, we all experience its benefits. The combination of polycarbonate panels and Lumira® aerogel is proving these are still high performing products decades after their invention.

Lumira® aerogel is a high performance product that is now available in many ways that would make Steven Kistler proud. If you would like more information on daylighting with Lumira aerogel®, please click here to visit our website or email to


Architects' Viewpoint

Lunch and Learn Sessions: Sharing, Learning, and Networking

Recently I had the opportunity to give a Lunch and Learn at TCI, a design-build firm located in La Crosse, WI. (A Lunch and Learn is a training event scheduled during the lunch hour. This type of training is usually less formal and less structured.) The Lunch and Learn at TCI was a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge about multiwall polycarbonate and receive direct feedback from their architects and designers.

Over the past six months, the number of AmeriLux International AIA presentations has doubled. Our focus for 2013 is to continue to grow our course offerings. The Lunch and Learn presentation given at TCI provided an overall understanding of multiwall polycarbonate. The presentation provided an in depth look into the many possible uses of polycarbonate, the manufacturing process, and polycarbonate applications. Specific attention was given to the daylighting opportunities of multiwall polycarbonate.

While I enjoy sharing the polycarbonate daylighting knowledge that I have gained, the real enjoyment that I receive from giving Lunch and Learn presentations is the interaction and feedback from the men and women doing the actual design work. Hearing their ideas and answering their questions is the best way for me to stay current on what is needed in the construction industry. The connection I have with the design community is very important to me and being able to help in the execution of their ideas is why I am here at AmeriLux.

If you are an architect looking for learning opportunities such as the Lunch and Learn presentation I gave at TCI or have a great polycarbonate application idea you’d like explore further, please contact me at 800-602-4441 or send an email to

Let’s partner together in making your design ideas become a reality!

Tim Fikkert, AIA


“Tim was a pleasure. He held himself with confidence and had proper command of the seminar.” – Paul Cassem, TCI Architect


Architects' Viewpoint

Alternative Uses for Multiwall Polycarbonate

When contacting architects and designers, it’s always interesting to hear about alternatives uses for multiwall polycarbonate products. Sometimes this is only brainstorming discussion. Other times, the conversation is about possible real life applications that have not yet been tried in the real world. Speaking from experience, architects love finding unique and exciting uses for materials.

Translucent glazing is the most common use of multiwall polycarbonate. The strength, clarity, and added thermal performance of a multiwall polycarbonate structure make it a natural fit for this type of application. Even thought bringing natural light into buildings is a great use of multiwall polycarbonate, it would be a disservice to not explore other uses.

Interior applications provide almost limitless opportunities for polycarbonate use. Multiwall polycarbonate can be used to replace safety glass in guardrails, create translucent partitions, or for printed visual displays. Polycarbonate is already used as a common alternative in light fixtures.

Adding a textural element to an interior space is easy with the variety of multiwall polycarbonate structures and colors available. Polycarbonates endless design uses can truly create one of a kind interiors. Rather than just selecting from a standard product line, multiwall polycarbonate offers designers a desired flexibility to use the material as they see fit. Often it is through these unique applications that the true character of a product is discovered.

Below are a couple of examples of unique polycarbonate applications:

LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ panels were used at Wild Blue Technologies, an innovative strategic design company located in De Pere, WI, to separate a kitchen from the employee fitness space. Images were designed and selected by the employees and direct printed on the polycarbonate panels.

LEXAN™ THERMOCLICK™ was used to create the partitions and divide the space in this SABIC trade show booth. THERMOCLICK™ is light in weight and can easily be disassembled. Like the blue chosen for this booth display, a variety of colors are available to create a custom “branded” look.

If you have any original ideas on how to use our polycarbonate products, please give us a call at 888.602.4441 or email us at We’d be happy to help you make your ideas a reality!

Tim Fikkert, AIA