November 2014

Welcome to ‘Stainless Solutions’ from IMOA. Each month, we will cover a different stainless steel issue with tips on design and specification, and links to technical resources. This month we are highlighting the advantages of second-skin façade weather screens.
Second-skin façade weather screens

Second-skin façade weather screens can help to significantly reduce a building’s energy consumption, a key objective of voluntary sustainable design systems and codes worldwide. Weather screens include traditional sunscreens and more complex systems that can shield fenestrations from buffeting winter wind.

A variety of technologies are being used including louvers, woven mesh, perforated screens and green (plant) screens. They may be controlled by a computer, actively changing with varying conditions, or remain passively fixed.

Weather screens are often difficult to clean and maintain, making stainless steel a logical material choice for durable screens in more corrosive environments with coastal or deicing salt or pollution.

COMFEN (below) is an exceptional free resource for determining the possible energy savings associated with fenestration design modifications.

The following resource links provide more information:

IMOA Second Skin Façade Resource Page

CTBUH Journal
The Use of Stainless Steel in Second-Skin Façades, December 2013, Issue III
Case Study: Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi, 2012 Issue II

The Construction Specifier
10 Key Questions about Exterior Shading, October 2014
Designing Sunshades into the Façade – Stainless Steel Selections, June 2012
Construction Canada
Complementing the Building Inside and Out with Metal Fabrics, October 2014
Designing with Stainless Steel: Bioclimatic hybrid façades, October 2011

COMFEN is free downloadable software developed by the US government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to allow designers to compare design choices so that fenestration can be optimized for maximum energy savings. The newest version, COMFEN 5 Beta, is based on US and international research and analyses of existing building performance and adds the ability to evaluate the impact of sunscreens.

The simple user interface makes it possible to compare the effect of varying key fenestration variables on energy consumption, peak energy demand, and thermal and visual comfort. The sophisticated analyses of the simulations are presented in graphical and tabular format. This flexible fenestration façade design system allows one or more zone modules with different design variables.

COMFEN 5 Software & Resources
Screen shots of COMFEN 5 modeling options

Stainless Solutions e-newsletter archive

For previous issues or to subscibe to the e-newsletter, please visit the archive page.

Continuing Education – American Institute of Architects (AIA)

IMOA is an AIA continuing education system approved provider with eight 1-hour programs that are registered for both live face-to-face and distance learning credit.

1. Stainless Steel Sustainable Design
2. Bioclimatic Design With Stainless Steel Weather Screens
3. Stainless Steel Structural Design
4. Stainless Steel Specification For Corrosive Applications
5. Deicing Salt: Stainless Steel Selection to Avoid Corrosion
6. Stainless Steel Finish Specification
7. Advanced Stainless Steel Specification and Problem Avoidance
8. Specification of Stainless Steel Finishes and Grades For Corrosive Applications

For more information or to schedule a workshop contact Catherine Houska, 412-369-0377 or email

What is IMOA?

IMOA (International Molybdenum Association) is a non-profit industry association, which provides technical information to assist with successful specification of molybdenum-containing materials. Molybdenum is an element. When it is added to stainless steel, molybdenum increases its resistance to corrosion caused by deicing salts, coastal atmosphere and pollution.

If you have a topic suggestion for a future issue of Stainless Solutions or need additional technical advice on stainless steel specification and selection, please get in touch here.

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In providing consultation or other assistance with respect to technical issues, any consultation, assistance or material is provided for the general information of the recipient and should not be used or relied upon for any specific application without first securing competent advice. IMOA and their respective employees, consultants and members (i) make no representation or warranty, express or implied, of any kind with regard to such consultation, assistance or material including no representation or warranty of  suitability for any general or specific use; (ii) assume no liability or responsibility of any kind in connection  therewith; and (iii) disclaim any and all liability for any claim that arises therefrom. 

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