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Commercial Applications

Case study: Calvert High School

The beautiful, new addition to Calvert High School celebrates the sun, inviting daylight into virtually every corner of its multi-use media center. The addition features huge skylights, each more than 35 feet in length, pitched at a 16-degree angle.

Lutron “meet-in-the-middle” skylight shades help the school make the most of all the beneficial daylight in the space, while overcoming the design challenges. The Lutron system offers five preset configurations that can be quickly recalled at the touch of a button, allowing the right amount of daylight into the space for any situation or activity.

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Lutron Sivoia® QS meet-in-the-middle shades provide dramatic effects in school addition

The challenge:

The skylights in Calvert High School are not only 35 feet in length, they are also 31 to 41 feet above the floor, span 17,000 square feet, are steeply pitched, and provide limited space for shades.

The Lutron meet-in-the-middle shade system was custom-designed to fit into the assembly, which accommodates

Shades can be adjusted to just the right setting for any activity.
four independent components: the skylight structure itself, sprinkler piping, sprinkler enclosure, and the shade frames. Avitecture, Inc. in Sterling, Virginia installed all components, assisted in the design of the systems and worked with Lutron engineers throughout the entire process to successfully complete the design and installation of this challenging project. The end result is dramatic in its subtlety. The system looks seamless and simple, and the structure is virtually invisible to occupants in the space, until the shades are opened or closed.
Opening the shades allows daylight to light the space.
Ran Ilkovitch, AIA, NCARB and Principal in Charge at SEI, describes the opening and closing of the shades as an event, akin to opening the roof of a stadium. “The shades open and close silently, and move in total unison. It’s awe-inspiring. The area is large and dramatic, and when the shades move you completely change the experience of the space.”
The results: One of greatest benefits of the school’s shades installation comes in the form of energy savings. The Lutron meet-in-the-middle skylight shades allow for varying openness levels to control heat and reduce operating costs. In the closed position the shades increase space flexibility, enabling the space to be used as a media center and projection facility at any time during the day. By using thermal imaging, Avitecture estimates that closing the skylight shades in the summer will reduce heat gain by 10 - 30%, and subsequently reduce air conditioning costs. Alternately, by opening the shades in colder months, the school can take advantage of the thermal heat gain to reduce heating costs.
Bill Coutz, Manager of Shading and Lighting at Avitecture, summarizes the effect of the completed installation. “To see the system work on a day-to-day basis and to meet the objectives that were originally defined by the architects – that is total satisfaction.”
Thermal imaging shows how closing shades can reduce heat gain, and air conditioning costs, on a hot summer day.

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