Introducing SoleraWall™: the biggest game-changer in daylighting in the last decade.
How a 10,000 square foot expansion at Protocase Inc. led to the piloting of SoleraWall™
NASA, IBM and Microsoft all turn to this ground-breaking company for custom electronic enclosures. With thousands of projects leaving their facility every week, hundreds of employees working around the clock and a constant investment in research and development, Protocase Inc. was bursting at the seams and needed more production space to fulfill client orders. This led to a 10,000 square foot expansion on one of their manufacturing facilities, transforming a former steel plant building into a modern, efficient and motivating space to work.
"Innovation is engrained in our corporate culture. In order to drive this forward, we work really hard at creating a workplace that gives our employees the optimal environment to be productive, creative and, ultimately, to thrive,” says Steve Lilley, President, Protocase Inc. “As we experienced rapid growth, our Building 2 production facility was getting more and more cramped. Aside from the space constraints, it was a very conventional steel-framed, steel-sided building from the ‘70’s and, actually, a dark and somewhat depressing space. This didn’t reflect who we are, so we needed to make big changes. This is where SoleraWall™ entered the equation.”
At the same time that Protocase Inc. was planning this 10,000 square foot expansion, Advanced Glazings Ltd. was in development of a new frameless glass based daylighting solution – SoleraWall™. A game changer in the industry, SoleraWall™ provides up to 5 times the overall system U value performance, significantly lower installation costs, faster build times and lower field labor requirements than traditional curtainwall systems. With SoleraWall, Protocase Inc. was able to achieve all the benefits of natural daylight, while working within budgetary and build time constraints.
Glenn Stevens, Project Manager with Protocase Inc., recalls: “This project seemed to have every challenge you can imagine from a construction standpoint – aggressive timelines, bitterly cold winter weather, and a need to maintain current production levels while construction was underway. It was kind of like changing the tires on a moving car going down a freeway. The team for this project included architectural firm, Archibald Fraser, general contractors, Lingan Builders, and Advanced Glazings Ltd. The decision to pilot SoleraWall™ on this project was something we all committed to, but we had our doubts about whether or not this was possible given all of the other pressures.”
For this expansion, 150 SoleraWall™ panels were used to occupy the top half of the vertical walls of the newly constructed addition. Outside, it has a modern and sophisticated look without the visual interruption and clutter inherent with framing and pressure cap. Inside, you can’t help but feel uplifted as you walk from the original building to the new space. Awash with tons of natural daylight, the production facility is a huge move forward for Protocase Inc
Stevens adds: “We got the natural light we wanted, and the space is really amazing to be in. But, also, the Solerawall™ installed flawlessly, speeding up construction and saving money (versus curtainwall). We see every type of weather here on the east coast of Canada. Whether it’s freezing cold, pouring rain, or hot and sunny, our facility is always the same—well-lit and thermally comfortable. I can’t say enough about what this has done for staff morale and productivity.”
In the following blogs of this four-part series, we’ll more closely examine SoleraWall™ and the dawn of a new day in daylighting.