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Vitro Architectural Glass to Sponsor Rainforest Habitat Restoration at National Aviary

Vitro Architectural Glass

Posted: April 23, 2018 | Tradewinds

Starphire Ultra-Clear glass with bird-friendly, acid-etched surface will help sustain bird, plant life

PITTSBURGH, April 23, 2018 – Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) announced that it is a contributing sponsor to restoration of the historic Tropical Rainforest exhibit at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, and that it will supply 19,600 square-feet of Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, featuring AviProTek® bird-friendly Velour acid-etched finish by Walker Glass, to the $1.2 million project.

Richard A. Beuke, president, Vitro Architectural Glass, said sponsorship of the National Aviary project highlights Vitro Glass’s commitment to the core values of community involvement and environmental protection. 

“Vitro Glass is honored to partner with the National Aviary on this historic exhibit, which has attracted people from around the world for more than 65 years,” he said. “The renovation is an ideal showcase for the unique characteristics of Starphire Ultra-Clear glass, which will greatly enhance the aesthetics, performance and bird-friendly aspects of the Rainforest’s new glass dome.”

Architectural representatives from Vitro Glass worked with bird-safety experts at the National Aviary to develop a custom glass specification for the project, which incorporates complete acid-etched coverage on the exterior (#1) surface of an ultra-premium, low-iron glass. According to tunnel tests conducted by the American Bird Conservancy, this glass configuration has a threat factor of 5, which means that birds will avoid colliding with it at least 95 percent of the time.

The glass configuration also enhances bird safety by preventing birds of prey living outside the Aviary from seeing and attempting to reach potential prey living inside the building. In addition, the translucent finish will maximize ultraviolet (UV) and natural light transmittance to help sustain bird and plant life inside the habitat.

Vitro Glass will supply more than 3,100 panes of laminated glass to the project. The glass will be fabricated by Dlubak Specialty Glass Corp., Blairsville, Pennsylvania, and installed by Greenhouse RSI, Greater Cincinnati, which is nationally recognized for its greenhouse restoration work. Montgomery Smith, Inc., Burlington, Kentucky, experts in greenhouse and conservatory preservation, design and engineering, is the historic conservatory consultant.

The Tropical Rainforest habitat, which opened in 1952, still features the single-strength annealed float glass used in its original construction. In addition, the glazing compounds that hold the glass in place have become loose and chalky, damaging their ability to adhere the glass to its supporting framework and causing air and water leaks. The renovation, which began last month, is expected to be completed in July.

Beuke said the new rainforest exhibit will not only enhance the National Aviary’s status as a world-class attraction, but also further its mission to protect, care for and educate visitors about the vital role birds play in the life of the planet.

As part of the sponsorship, Vitro Glass will also help fund the National Aviary’s popular School Field Trips education program.

Introduced in 1990 and manufactured in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass is the clearest, most transparent commercial float glass available today. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of 91 percent in a standard ¼-inch (6 millimeter) thickness, the glass will maximize the color fidelity and translucency of the acid-etched Walker Textures product to make it safer for birds, and to give the Tropical Rainforest exhibit a whiter, opulent, more aesthetically pleasing look. 

To learn more about Starphire Ultra-Clear glass, visit or call (855) VTRO-GLS (887-6457).

About the National Aviary
The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in Allegheny Commons Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through exhibits create an experience unlike any other – an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world.

About Vitro Architectural Glass
Vitro Architectural Glass, part of Vitro, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV
:VITROA), is a new organization created from Vitro’s acquisition of PPG’s flat glass business unit. Now the largest company of its kind in the Americas, Vitro Architectural Glass manufactures industry-leading brands such as Solarban®, Sungate® and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glasses at U.S. plants in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California; Salem, Oregon; and Wichita Falls, Texas. The company also operates one of the world’s largest glass research and development facilities in Pittsburgh and four residential glass fabrication plants in Canada. For more information, please visit

Starphire Ultra-Clear is a registered trademark owned by Vitro.
The PPG Logo is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.
Walker Textures is a registered trademark of Walker Glass Limited, Inc.