Mountain View Corporate Center (MVCC) in California’s Silicon Valley invested in Linetec’s Copper Anodize panel façade to update their three buildings. The MVCC (owned by Rockwood Capital) hopes to attract and retain high-tech tenants with the new attractive exteriors. To achieve the intended appearance, Linetec finished more than 23,000 sq ft of aluminum panels in its proprietary Copper Anodize finish. Along with the high-tech aesthetic, the long-lasting anodized finish supports the property’s sustainability goals and protects the aluminum panels fabricated by Morin Corporation and installed by Sheet Metal Systems (SMS).
“Linetec’s unique copper finish is achieved through a three-step electrolytic coloring process, rather than the standard two-step process,” said Ray Kroll, anodize plant manager. “This process involves using actual copper to color the aluminum while isolating the copper in the coating.”
Material (in this case aluminum 5005 series panels) is anodized and then introduced into two separate coloring tanks where elemental metals are placed into the pores of the anodic coating. The first color tank contains tin, and the second contains copper. Isolating the actual copper in the coating results in a striking visual effect. This rich copper color that is observed is copper that will not patina and will remain stable to provide many years of service.
The company’s automated hoist system guides the aluminum panel material through the entire anodize finishing process, eliminating any chance of manual variations in pre-cleaning, etching, anodizing, coloring, or sealing. The system ensures a consistent and durable finish for every load.
Furthermore, the computer-controlled system tracks all aspects of the process including tank sequencing, time, temperature, voltage, current, etc. The results make the copper color very stable and consistent, keeping the MVCC project’s aluminum material and process specification moving through the same solutions for the same amount of time to yield the best results.
Analyzing the Quality
Anodized material at Linetec is tested and sampled to ensure the production quality meets the AAMA-611 Class I industry-leading specifications for corrosion resistance, color and gloss retention, chalk resistance, and resistance to erosion. Laboratory testing includes checks for coating weight, seal quality, anodic coating thickness, and several other criteria. Test records are kept on file, with the production date for a minimum of five years.
A rigorous, in-line quality assurance (QC) program is conducted before any material is allowed to leave Linetec. A Linetec QC associate visually checks the anodized aluminum for flaws and color variations, comparing the metal to a set of internal control samples. The control samples consist of two samples that represent the extremes of appearance to be expected on the finished components.
Convenient and Sustainable
Originally built in the late 1980s as a corporate campus for a former single tenant, Rockwood Capital acquired the MVCC’s 16-acre property with five buildings housing 266,000 sq ft of space in 2014. Recognized as a strong Silicon Valley submarket, the buildings now are home to multiple, high-tech tenants including Mozilla, a web software company, and Coursera, an ed-tech company.
Jason Oberman, director at Rockwood Capital, explained the importance of sustainability to his company. “A key foundation of our investment strategy is acquiring and enhancing properties in evolving locations which benefit from close proximity to public transit and surrounding mixed-use amenities,” he said. “This comes from our belief that these well located properties can help support healthy living, a higher quality of life, and environmental sustainability.”
Linetec’s copper anodize panels are eco-friendly, adding to the sustainable nature of the building that Rockwood Capital would like to emphasize. The eco-friendly anodizing process is also more energy-efficient than traditional caustic anodize and produces 90% less landfill waste. Their anodize process by-products are recyclable, and at the end of its life on a building, the anodized aluminum they provide also is recyclable. In addition, customers can specify that their aluminum is made with recycled content.
Linetec recently earned the Declare “Red List Free” label as part of the Living Building Challenge™ (LBC) for its aluminum anodizing process. This means that the company’s anodized finishing, including Copper Anodize, is in full compliance with the highest level of LBC criteria established through the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The Declare label for Linetec’s anodized aluminum lists a life expectancy of 40 years and indicates that there are no applicable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with the product.