HOUSTON — Hess Tower, a business structure in central downtown Houston, has surpassed the LEED Gold mark and reached LEED Platinum with the completion of high-performance glazing. Joining only a handful of other buildings in Texas with that rating, the 29-story Class-A office space was able to reach the highest rank largely due to the glass and metal façade done by Rogers, Minn.-based Quality Metalcrafts and Wausau, Wis.-based company, Linetec.
“The south side of the tower’s curtainwall is entirely glass with external solar shading, while the north side is clad with a combination of insulating metal panels and glass,” said Gensier designer Kristopher Stuart, who designed Hess Tower. “This high performance skin, in combination with a number of other energy-efficient features, dramatically reduces the building’s energy usage resulting in a significant savings in operating costs.”
The building’s curtainwall system helps filter ultraviolet rays and allows ample daylight to the interior, which permits the building to remain green in terms of costs and energy.
The exterior finish on the tower faces daily challenges in terms of durability, which made finding a product with a long lifespan difficult. The coatings meet the most demanding exterior, architectural specification of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. The coating reduces the need for maintenance and replacement, which minimizes time, cost and materials.
“Along with the finish’s environmental and performance qualities, it needs to meet aesthetic requirements. For Hess Tower, the panels’ finish accentuates the glass curtainwall as it the surrounding landscaping and neighboring buildings,” said Tammy Schroeder, Linetec’s senior marketing specialist and LEED green associate.
In addition to meeting these requirements, keeping the project on a timeline and making sure it was completed quickly was one of the main challenges according to Stuart. With the groundbreaking taking place in 2008, it was completed within the desired 36-month period.
“To reduce the delivery time of the tower, we collaborated with the curtainwall contractor to design a unitized curtainwall system that was shop-fabricated prior to its delivery on site,” says Stuart. “The benefits of this approach included better quality control and faster on site erection, resulting in a quicker completion schedule.”