What is Kalwall?

Museum-Quality Daylighting | Highly Insulating | Load Capacity, Codes and Certification | Details and Technical Summaries | Assembly and Installation | Operation and Maintenance | Availability and Cost | The Daylighting Story | The Inspiration, The Original, The Innovator | Email

Metea Valley High School, Aurora, IL
DLR Group, Architects
Photo by James Steinkamp
Kalwall is the most highly insulating, diffuse light-transmitting, structural composite technology in the world. The company has perfected a unique composite fenestration sandwich panel that combines controlled, usable, natural daylight with the ultimate in energy efficiency. Lightweight, shatterproof, and rapidly installed, Kalwall has unrivaled structural integrity.

Kalwall can be all or part of the walls or roof of any building or be an entire freestanding structure. Typical configurations and systems include Wall/Window Systems, Skylights, Clearspan Skylights/Skyroof®, Walkways/Canopies, Window Replacements, and Complete Structures.

Kalwall is NOT a plastic, polycarbonate or glass. It is far superior in integrity, performance and value to products that superficially may appear similar. Kalwall's primary element is a structural composite sandwich panel formed by permanently bonding, under heat and pressure, specially formulated, fiberglass-reinforced translucent faces to a grid core constructed of interlocked, structural aluminum/composite, thermally broken "I" beams. The panels can be curved or flat, 2-3/4 inches (70mm) or 4 inches (100 mm) thick.
The David Geffen Foundation Building, Beverly Hills, CA
Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects
Tom Bonner Photography

Kalwall dates back to 1955 to the invention of the translucent, true sandwich panel by inventor and company founder Robert Keller. No other company in the world has dedicated more years, resources, creativity and innovation into the science and art of daylighting. Kalwall provides building designers and owners with the most advanced technologies in the world to fulfill their own visions of creating better buildings.

Here is an 8-point introduction to the dynamic world of daylighting with Kalwall…

1. Museum-Quality Daylighting

The process of tapping into the free energy of the sun to effectively illuminate a space is the art and science of daylighting. Kalwall has the unique ability to fill a space with well-balanced, diffused, natural daylight. Millions of prismatic glass fibers imbedded in Kalwall's face sheets refract sunlight to provide a balanced, diffuse wash of glare-free, usable light.
Crocker Art Museum Sacramento, CA
Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects
Bruce Damonte Photography
On bright sunny days, there is no harsh glare or overheating of the space. Even on cloudy days, the quality of light is truly exceptional and there is no need for shades, curtains or light shelves.

Kalwall provides a wide range of light levels to suit virtually every task-level requirement and desired mood or atmosphere. Natural light can be correctly planned, predicted and demonstrated in advance by utilizing Kalwall's unique Daylight Modeling service.
This is the ultimate in scientific daylighting analysis. Site specific, 3-D imagery and computer modeling shows the end result of how a space will look, feel and perform. It is now possible to see the potential impact of design variations accurately portrayed in order to assure better daylighting, and avoid disappointment. Architects can see for themselves and easily demonstrate to owners the impact of their daylighting designs.

The positive impact of proper daylighting upon building occupants is well proven. Kalwall's properties are receiving more recognition than ever as medical science continues to proclaim the significant positive role that exposure to daylight plays in the general health and well being of all living things.

2. Kalwall Is Highly Insulating

Kalwall is exceptional at reducing thermal heat/cooling loss and controlling solar heat gain to deliver significant savings in HVAC costs while creating a more balanced and comfortable space. During the manufacturing process, the panels are infilled with translucent insulation in various densities, including the revolutionary Kalwall+ LumiraTM aerogel. Optional thermally broken panels yield the ultimate in energy performance and condensation control. U-factor performance ranges from a standard .29 to include options from .53 to .05. Unlike gas-filled technology, which eventually leaks out, Kalwall's highly insulating properties remain constant.

3. Load Capacity, Codes and Certification

The structural integrity of Kalwall building systems significantly outperforms other products that may appear to be similar. Stringent testing, demanding code compliance, and advanced engineering result in proven performance that stands up to hurricane-force winds and the rigors of virtually any climate world-wide!

Kalwall products are linked to building code-, insurance-, designer-, and owner-driven performance requirements. They are tested and approved to meet or exceed the most demanding requirements and field-proven in virtually every climate. Kalwall is engineered and manufactured to these optional standards…

  • Factory Mutual approved Class I Wall and Roof Systems for unsprinklered buildings

  • FM approved for Pressure Venting Systems

  • U.L. tested and listed

  • South Florida Hurricane Systems developed, (Windborne Debris compliant)

  • ICC-ES requirements of "Criteria for Sandwich Panels and Systems" AOC177

  • AAMA 1503.1-88 tested for air and water infiltration, structural integrity and overall thermal properties

  • NFRC thermal and solar certification

  • UFC 4-010-01 DoD Anti-Terrorism Specifications

  • European Technical Approval certificates for CE mark

  • Kalwall's impressive quality control, product design and engineering are driven by standards that ensure life-safety, product durability and an ongoing commitment to meeting and exceeding the most demanding requirements to endure the life cycle demands of the buildings. Anatomy of the Kalwall panel.

    4. Details and Technical Summaries

    Complete CAD details, 3-part specifications and technical summaries are available on this web site or by contacting Kalwall directly at info@kalwall.com. The Technical Service Department is eager to assist and Kalwall personnel are available worldwide to become a key member of your team during the design stages of a project. The support, people and expertise of Kalwall are considered an invaluable resource by the most noted architectural and design firms.

    5. Assembly and Installation

    All Kalwall Systems are pre-engineered and factory prefabricated to the greatest extent practical, delivering the ultimate in quality control. Large, lightweight modular units are created in the factory to eliminate most field joints. Installation costs and time are reduced and performance greatly enhanced. Although Kalwall panels are created from standard specifications, a wide variety of options are available to meet the needs of every application. Every system is job-specific, factory-fabricated to precise specifications.

    Prefabricated curtainwall panels arrive by the truckload,
    factory pre-finished and ready to install.
    No need for cranes; a come-along-scaffolding scales
    the building and panels are lifted into place.

    As a unitized curtainwall, Kalwall arrives on the job site in complete, factory-assembled 'Panel Units' whenever possible or practical. The superfluous structure required with most other systems is eliminated. No additional finishing or assembly is required; the panels are ready for final installation. Kalwall employs a system of interconnected structural components, forming rigid, modular units that replace the heavy mullions and floating panels of other curtainwalls. Normal loads are dispersed throughout the panels, rather than converging on the mullions. Clamp-tite closures at the perimeter and panel-to-panel serve only a sealing function in most cases.

    As a skylight or Skyroof®, all perimeter systems are factory-sealed and installed. The components' unique construction and superior structural strength permit even the largest panels to be installed quickly, efficiently, and for far less than conventional building materials.

    6. Operation and Maintenance

    Kalwall is as maintenance-free as it gets! Unlike glass, natural rainfall is all that's needed to keep the surface clean and streak-free. Kalwall is also shatterproof and highly vandal-resistant. The exclusive glass veil erosion preventer overcomes periodic maintenance. Graffiti is easily removed. With minimal care, Kalwall systems will perform for decades.

    7. Availability and Cost

    Since 1955, Kalwall has been renowned for its quality, performance, engineering expertise, aesthetic value and total company integrity. But there is even more to the Kalwall story. The cost effectiveness of this lightweight, highly durable, unique translucent building panel technology is unparalleled. Kalwall is also more affordable. From initial purchase price to installation costs, maintenance and energy savings, Kalwall is the most affordable solution to countless design challenges.

    The process of beginning to estimate a job is as simple as contacting Kalwall. Real people -- helpful, experienced, and fully qualified are ready to go to work for you. Contact us at info@kalwall.com to begin the process of connecting with Kalwall field sales and support personnel throughout North America and most of the world.

    8. The Daylighting Story

    U.S. Pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair, Brussels, Belgium
    Designed by Edward Durell Stone
    At Kalwall, the years since 1955 have seen continued research and development, and countless product improvements and innovations. The basic premise behind the original idea has changed very little, but the materials, performance and applications of Kalwall are always advancing. The search for excellence never ends. This commitment to making a good product even better has kept Kalwall at the forefront of the industry.

    Kalwall's many "firsts" in the composites industry:

  • 1st to manufacture an aluminum & FRP sandwich panel
  • 1st to develop super-effective UV resistant coating systems
  • 1st to perfect a full-thickness, colorfast resin system
  • 1st to develop the only true thermally broken composite grid core
  • 1st to invent a curved panel
  • 1st to incorporate a glass erosion barrier
  • 1st to produce low-flame and smoke panels that weather well
  • 1st to develop a Class A skyroof system
  • 1st to develop an FM Class 1 panel
  • 1st to incorporate super-insulating thermal break systems
  • 1st to incorporate aerogel insulation
  • 1st to offer Daylight Modeling services

    New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY
    Polschek Partnership, Architects
    St. Louis Priory Chapel, St. Louis, MO
    Designed by Gyo Obata, FAIA, of HOK, Inc.
    Pavilion for Japanese Art
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art
    Los Angeles, CA
    Designed by Bruce Goff; Architect: Bart Prince
    From the beginning, Kalwall panels and systems have been the focus of award-winning buildings and consistently recognized by both the building industry and the architectural community. Kalwall is one of the few companies in the world with longevity in a specialty architectural product. The key to Kalwall's success has been continual innovation, updating, extensive R&D, and person-to-person customer service. The company remains keenly focused on the belief that there is no substitute for extra effort, persistence and total involvement!

    The world's most talented and renowned architects continue to expand the horizons of design with their imaginative use of Kalwall. From the genius of Edward Durrell Stone's monumental Skyroof at the U.S. Pavilion in Brussels (1958), to Philip Johnson's imaginative New York State Pavilion Skyroof (1964), to Gyo Obata's monumental St. Louis Abbey (1970) to James Polshek's inspiring New York Hall of Science (2004)… there really is no "equal"…

    Kalwall: The Inspiration, The Original, The Innovator

    Kalwall spans the present and reaches into the future! Imitators have tried and failed the test of time, and others will try again. Kalwall stands alone as the sole inventor/developer of the world's leading insulated, translucent sandwich panel. With over five decades of research and development, product refinement and proven performance, no one can match the total integrity of Kalwall and its product… and performance and aesthetic advances continue.

    There may be times and applications when the products of other companies are considered as a possible substitute. But no one else can deliver the performance and integrity of genuine Kalwall; yesterday, today and tomorrow! In the world of daylighting, Kalwall will be there… Light-years Ahead!

    For immediate assistance, Call 800-258-9777 (N. America) +1-603-627-3861 (International)

    1111 Candia Road
    PO Box 237
    Manchester, NH 03105
    Email: info@kalwall.com
    FAX 603-627-7905


    Copyright Kalwall 2012.
    Kalwall and Skyroof are registered trademarks of Kalwall Corporation.
    Museum-quality Daylighting, Clamp-tite and Light-years Ahead are trademarks of Kalwall Corporation.
    Clearspan is a trademark of Structures Unlimited, Inc.
    LumiraTM aerogel is a registered trademark of Cabot Corporation.