Examination of The Use of Polycarbonate in Commercial Skylights
“If the project is in a coastal area, I always recommend polycarbonate,” — Eric Huffman, a Senior Fellow with Eneref Institute and President of Daylighting Solutions
Polycarbonate Surpasses OSHA Requirements. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates the safety requirements of rooftop skylights. Unlike acrylic, polycarbonate’s impact resistance far surpasses OSHA’s guidelines for fall protection or accidents in skylights.
High strength of polycarbonate ensures the least chance of injury from falls. The construction team of furniture retailer Rooms To Go examined samples of skylight plastics prior to installation at their warehouse facility in Dunn, North Carolina. “We felt the polycarbonate was a stronger, more durable product,” said Senior Construction Manager Bruce Wallick. “We had product samples in the office, and we stabbed them with a knife, twisted and bent them. The polycarbonate wouldn’t snap or break.” The facility installed VELUX skylights.
New technology eliminates yellowing. A significant advance in polymer technology is a UV-absorbing “cap layer” that nearly eliminates sunlight damage to polycarbonate. With the UV light absorbed by the cap layer, the polycarbonate no longer yellows, hazes or degrades.
Polycarbonate is able to withstand impacts of over 50-70 ft. lbs, while acrylic breaks at 1.75 ft. lbs. Only polycarbonate passes all test classes. Acrylic often fails the lowest level (Class 1). The highest level (Class 4) substantiates the “hurricane test” or “large missile test.”
Tuesday, Oct 25
1:00PM until 2:00PM ET.
Tom Niziolek, Architectural Segment Manager, Covestro
Ted Trautman, Ph.D., Technical Director, Covestro
Seth Warren Rose, Founding Director, Eneref Institute