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Choosing fabrics and accessories

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Marygrove Awning Co., Livonia, Mich., is one of the largest retractable awning companies in America. Marygrove doesn’t offer heating and cooling components directly; customers are referred to a reputable contractor that has performed this type of work with Marygrove in the past.

When incorporating awning components and accessories into clients’ venues, the type of fabrics used with those accessories is paramount. Currently Andy O’Neil, director of commercial sales at Marygrove, points to his company’s extensive work with hospitals and their large enclosure areas and walkway enclosure areas, which include lights and electric heat panels.

“In these applications, we are using Ferrari 17.5 ounce vinyl-coated polyester and [Cooley Group] Weathertyte® acrylic top-coated reinforced PVC,” he says. “Both are flame retardant and waterproof, and the seams can be heat welded.”

Textiles that integrate light or generate their own power range in style from flexible light-emitting textiles by Philips Lumalive, a business specializing in textile-based LED solutions based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to the PowerMod line of power-generating shelters from New York-based FTL Solar. CeeLite Technologies LLC, Colmar, Pa., is an innovator in researching, developing and commercializing CeeLite® Light Emitting Capacitor (LEC) technology. The LEC panels are thin, flexible and lightweight light sources that may be used on flat or curved surfaces to illuminate the surface itself and to provide illuminated advertising, signs and architectural surfaces.

While creative lighting is vital to fabric structures, fabrics that aid with heating and cooling are also paramount. To streamline the use of heating and cooling components with fabric structures, Birdair Inc., Amherst, N.Y., has created a new layered composite called Tensotherm™ to help prevent heat loss and solar heat gain. The composite is comprised of Nanogel® aerogel placed between two layers of PTFE to enhance the R value of the fabric. AeroLite Fabric Pty. Ltd., a division of Fabritecture LLC based in New South Wales, Australia, has created AeroLite™, a three-layer fabric composite that offers greater thermal efficiency while allowing for the flexibility and translucency that is desired for fabric structures.

Maura Keller is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor.

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