A House in the Woods

Just outside Ames, Iowa, a 1930s house sits nestled into the hardwood forest. At the back of this charming home, the sun room faces on to a backyard. The majority of its surface is glass. The four windows are each four feet wide and six feet tall, and perfect for bird watching. The couple who live here, both professors at nearby Iowa State University, chose this space to enjoy their nearness to the forest and the wildlife within it. Yet to make sure birds will not hit this home, they’ve had to climb two stories up a ladder to attach and re-attach paracords to the roof. The cords hang there to ward off the birds who keep colliding with their sunroom windows.

When they bought this house with its bank of glass facing the woods, the couple didn’t anticipate how deadly it would prove to the local avian population. Then they watched as one bird after another flew toward the window, hit it, fell back, died. Or they discovered remnants of feathers and blood on the glass, tell-tale signs that a bird had crashed against it. Their temporary fix of hanging cords from the roof was no real solution. The cords came down over time, broken or blown loose by the wind. So if the professors stayed in this house by the edge of the woods for the rest of their lives, as they meant to do, it would be a lifetime of fussing with bird-deterrent cabling. That, or give in and get used to dead birds.

Like good academics, they set their minds to discovering a better solution. Their research brought them to AviProtek® T.

Did you know?

The professors in Iowa aren’t alone. Single-family homes cause more than a third of bird-to-glass collisions in North America each year.

Read more in our article,
Bird Mortality Hits Home

Transparent Bird Friendly Glass

AviProtek® T is a bird safe glass developed by Walker Glass in collaboration with Pilkington North America. This technology is based on research by eminent ornithologist Dr. Daniel Klem. It is an elegant solution which respects a building’s aesthetic while effectively reducing bird strikes.

Dr. Klem began work on this type of glass treatment in the late 1990s. This work was a way to make bird-safe building materials more attractive to architects and their customers. Traditional markers used in bird-deterrent glass create a visible pattern. Because of this, they can be off-putting to the building’s occupants as they interrupt the view through their windows. Klem realized that the market needed an option whose pattern would be visible to birds but not to humans. To that end, he explored ultraviolet-reflective technology. UV reflections are well suited to this purpose because birds can see into the UV range of the electromagnetic spectrum. On the other hand, humans have almost no vision of UV rays, so ultraviolet reflections are all but invisible to us.

AviProtek® T uses a patterned UV-reflective coating on the outermost window surface (surface 1) to signal its presence to birds. It’s important that the markers sit on the outermost face, where their visibility won’t be obscured by reflections or refractions from the window’s other surfaces.

Only the Best

The professors approached local Architect and Builder, Avec Design+Build, to renovate their aging home, including new bird safe windows for the forest-facing wall. Having thoroughly researched the existing options, the professors chose AviProtek® T as the best solution for their windows. These clients wanted the best bird deterrent glass on the market, one with a proven record of bird safety, longevity and visibility. It had to be AviProtek® T.

Avec made it happen. They worked closely with Mark Amdahl at Pella Des Moines to incorporate the AviProtek® T solution into window frames. Everyone involved in the project, including Walker, was committed to delivering the best quality solution.

Mark Amdahl explained, “If we hit a roadblock, we look for other avenues to give the customer what they want while still holding the quality and expectations of Pella corp. This was a great solution. We haven’t seen this [UV treated] pattern before.”

This dedication to meeting the customer’s needs is the way of the future. Today’s clients expect to see ecologically-sound building practices in their homes, and they’re prepared to advocate for their choices. Architects and suppliers like Avec Design+Build and Pella Des Moines understand this. With corporate principles founded on innovation and collaboration, how could they fail to?

Derek Quam, project manager at Avec, described how the professors approached glass selection for this project. “They were the ones that actually did the initial research, and figuring out what they wanted to use for the glass. [They said] ‘We want this Walker glass because it seems to be more proven.’ ” He went on, “I think Ames is a good community for something like this to take a foothold,” and explained that it’s a university town with a highly educated and environmentally conscious population. This is exactly the kind of community that will lead the way in bird friendly building practices for homes.

Fortunately for local wildlife, many homeowners want a house that they can live in for the rest of their lives. They want a home built with structural and moral integrity.

The view through AviProtek® T  transparent bird friendly glass.

Back to the Woods

With the interior renovations complete, the professors returned to their house in early October. Some things haven’t changed. For instance, they still enjoy their heritage home with its view of the forest. However, these days the view is clear and open, unobstructed by hanging cords or, more importantly, the marks of birds hitting glass. Thanks to groundbreaking research by Dr. Klem, innovative product design by Walker Glass and Pilkington North America, and the teamwork of Pella Windows with Avec Design+Build, birds will not hit this home.

About Avec Design+Build

We believe there is a way to do architecture that brings together designers and contractors collaborating with the client to deliver a built project, a process that energizes and empowers the design team, the construction team, and ultimately the owner.
Learn more at avecdesignbuild.com

About Pella Windows Corporation

Pella Corporation designs and manufactures windows and doors for both residential homes and commercial applications. Since our founding in 1925 by Pete Kuyper, we have been proud to support the communities where we live and work. We are headquartered in Pella, Iowa and employ more than 8,000 people with 17 manufacturing locations and more than 200 showrooms across the country.
Discover what makes Pella different at pella.com


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