Project DescriptionNationwide Insurance opened a $90-million campus in Westover Hills, Texas. The company’s new building earned a first-ever FORTIFIED for Safer Business designation from the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) for its ability to withstand natural disasters, such as tornados and windstorms.
To optimize the building’s picturesque location in the Texas Hill country, the design team – 360 Architects and SpawGlass – sought to balance views with visual comfort and productivity. Daylighting and shading solutions – including RB 500 motorized roller shades with 3% and 5% openness fabrics – became a key component in the success of the building.
The clients wanted the building’s design to be energy efficient and eligible for LEED certification. This required solar control systems that would moderate the heat of San Antonio summers, while maximizing views to the outside. The final approach needed to include motorized systems to integrate with the building’s lighting and HVAC systems. And of course, the specified solutions had to fall within the project’s budget.
360 Architects incorporated daylighting strategies into the early stages of their design and planning. The architects selected the RB 500 roller shade operating system with Whisper Motors™ because of its durability and ability to integrate easily with other building systems. The technology also provides the system with over 46,000 unique command capabilities. This ultimately means a virtually unlimited level of control for the owners and facility managers. Acoustics were also a factor. The system operates with Whisper RQ motors that can lift larger shades while operating at a quieter sound levels, in line with normal office conversations.
The motors’ powerful torque also helped reduce the project cost. One motor can operate up to six panels of fabric with an overall width of 30 feet. That high performance allows designers and architects to save resources on motorization and to reduce the cost of the overall system.
For integrated control, RB 500 roller shades were linked into a Siemens BACnet building management system. This system in turn connected to HVAC systems and Crestron light controls. As the amount of natural light entering the building changes, the system adjusts accordingly. Roller shades are raised or lowered, interior lighting brightens or dims and the AC system powers up or down.
San Antonio’s climate influenced the choice of roller shade fabrics with different levels of openness to maximize the building’s energy efficiency. The Nationwide datacenter features fabrics with 3% openness to the East and West, where the most amount of sunlight strikes the building, and 5% openness to the North and South. The 3% fabric will block 97% of ultraviolet radiation entering the interior. A dark color fabric was selected to reduce glare and preserve views to the outside, while allowing subtle but natural light to enter the workspace.