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USA-made Fire Rated Glass Helps UC Merced Achieve Triple Zero Sustainability

Project Name: University of California Merced in Merced, CA
Architects: SOM, Mahlum, Page Southerland Page, WRNS Studio
General Contractor: Webcor
Glazing Contractors: Ranker AMG, Royal Glass, Architectural Glass and Aluminum
Developer: Plenary Properties

USA-made Fire Rated Glass Helps UC Merced Achieve Triple Zero Sustainability
1 Hour Door Assembly at the Sustainability and Research Building brings light and transparency, promoting wayfinding. Products used: GPX Builders Series 60 minute Temperature Rise Doors with SuperLite II-XL 60 and GPX Architectural Series Wall with SuperLite II-XL 60.

The Merced 2020 Project, an ambitious, $1.2B, extensive expansion of the UC Merced campus, is “the largest public-private partnership social infrastructure project completed in U.S. history,” according to the university’s website. This includes new facilities used for academic, administration, laboratories, housing and recreation. This was truly exciting new, and it struck a chord with SAFTI FIRST because Merced is home to our manufacturing facilities.

When this ambitious project was first announced, Mike Augustine, SAFTI FIRST’s Director of Architectural Promotion at made sure that the University and building team knew that we were here to support them in all their fire rated glass and framing needs. This included an educational presentation and plant tour of our fire rated glass, framing and door facilities for the UC Merced Fire Marshals. Rafael Valencia, SAFTI FIRST’s West Region Territory Manager, and Mike Vizcarra, SAFTI FIRST’s Norther California Architectural Representative attended job site meetings with Webcor to ensure that all their design, performance, schedule and budget needs we addressed.

USA-made Fire Rated Glass Helps UC Merced Achieve Triple Zero Sustainability
Daylight penetrates further into the Biomedical Sciences and Physics Building thanks to the 2 hour wall assembly. Products used: GPX Architectural Series Wall with SuperLite II-XL 120

The sheer size and scope of this project – with multiple buildings, architects and glazing contractors – meant that coordination was of utmost importance. Paolo Mercado, SAFTI FIRST’s Project Manager, worked with all the players involved to ensure that our delivery is on time and within budget.

SAFTI FIRST was part of all three phases of the project, supplying interior and exterior 1 and 2 hour fire resistive, ASTM E-119 rated walls using SuperLite II-XL in GPX Architectural Series Framing, as well as 60-90 minute full vision GPX Builders Series Temperature Rise Doors to 8 buildings:

Sustainably was one of the main priorities for the building team. This project was designed to be “Triple Zero” – zero net energy, zero landfill waste, and zero net greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the first public research university in the U.S. to achieve carbon neutrality.

To help achieve this goal, the exterior fire resistive glazing systems included high performance energy efficient glazing to bring vision, daylighting and a connection to the outdoors while maintaining occupant comfort. The transparency that the interior fire resistive glazing systems extended natural light into the building, promoted shared artificial lighting between spaces, as well as promote wayfinding. Last but not least, having all the fire rated glass and framing systems manufactured within 10 miles of the job site helped in reducing impacts from transportation emissions and fuel costs.

USA-made Fire Rated Glass Helps UC Merced Achieve Triple Zero Sustainability
Daylight penetrates further into the Biomedical Sciences and Physics Building thanks to the 2 hour wall assembly. Products used: GPX Architectural Series Wall with SuperLite II-XL 120

Today, 11 of the buildings have been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, giving UC Merced has the distinct honor as the only higher education campus in the U.S. to have all buildings certified LEED Platinum.

Needless to say, SAFTI FIRST is proud to be part of such a groundbreaking project!

Do you have a current or upcoming project that needs fire rated glass and framing? Contact us today!