Daylight Greets Travelers To Sunshine State

Orlando International Airport’s South Intermodal Terminal Facility is topped with Acurlite skylight, finished by Linetec.

Acurlite Structural Skylights manufactured the low-rise, segmented barrel-vault skylight at Orlando International Airport’s South Intermodal Terminal Facility. Linetec provided finishing to meet the airport’s aesthetic, sustainability, and high-performance requirements. Photo: Acurlite/Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

Offering a seamless travel experience for the 44.3-million annual passengers to Orlando International Airport, the new Intermodal Terminal Facility (ITF) opened to Thanksgiving travellers in 2017. This completed the first phase of the South Airport Complex’s construction plan, which will continue through 2020. The ITF also is expected to be the first building on the airport campus to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 certification standards.

Featuring an 8,000-sq.-ft., heavy-duty commercial skylight, the ITF’s daylighting system helps connect those arriving and working within the space to the welcoming surroundings and Florida sunshine outside. Acurlite Structural Skylights, Inc., Berwick, PA (, manufactured and installed the low-rise, segmented barrel-vault skylight. Linetec, Wausau, WI (, provided stretch forming, thermal improvement, and finishing of the skylight to meet the airport’s aesthetic, sustainability, and high-performance requirements.

“Although the aesthetics are certainly important, the skylight specifications are more performance-driven than aesthetic,” acknowledged associate principal, project manager, David Thomas, AIA, HKS Architects, Inc., Orlando ( “We didn’t want it to leak, and the skylight system needed to meet Florida product approval. The finish also needed to be able to withstand the harsh Florida climate and local airport conditions.”

The ITF’s skylight system exceeds industry standards for air, water, and structural stability. Acurlite tested and fabricated the system with a 30-yr. life-cycle theory for longevity of product and overall system performance.

Spanning 40 1/2-ft. wide by 197 1/2-ft. long, the skylight was fully shop-fabricated and shop-assembled for on-site unitization and installation on the ITF. Hundreds of aluminum-framed segments compose the total skylight system.

Linetec finished each aluminum framing member in a Bright Silver color using Valspar Fluropon Classic II 70% PVDF Architectural Extrusion Coating Systems. Valspar’s (Minneapolis, two-coat, 70% PVDF resin-based finishes applied by Linetec meet or exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (Schaumburg, IL, high-performance exterior specification, AAMA 2605.

Paint coatings that meet AAMA 2605’s exterior, architectural specifications comply with rigorous testing that involves withstanding more than 4,000 hr. of salt spray and humidity. These coatings also must maintain film integrity, color retention, chalk resistance, gloss retention, and erosion-resistance properties for a minimum of 10 yr. on the South Florida testing site.

Linetec safely captures and destroys the liquid paints’ volatile organic compounds (VOC) content before the finished material arrives at the job site. For the Orlando International Airport’s ITF and other projects seeking LEED certification, choosing durable products with no-VOC finishes can be an important part of the selection and specification process. Painted aluminum extrusions also can be stripped, and re-used or recycled.

For the ITF project, Keymark Corp., Fonda, NY ( supplied Acurlite with recycled-aluminum extrusions. Prior to finishing, Linetec stretch-formed the extrusions to the barrel-vault skylight’s required radius. Maintaining close and consistent tolerances, the stretch-forming process yields a smooth and even-curved surface.

To obtain the best finish quality and to keep parts fully warranted, it is best to thermally improve and finish the aluminum framing members after they have been stretch-formed. Installing the thermal barrier in the metal after it has been curved helps minimize stress on the thermal barrier and ensures performance as specified. Linetec offers thermal improvement services for curved and radius finished aluminum extrusions backed with a warranty.

Keeping travellers comfortable beneath the skylight and the outside Orlando sun, the skylight’s thermally improved aluminum framing complements the high-performance insulated glass unit (IGU). The IGU incorporates solar-control, low-e, laminated glazing, plus Viracon’s (Owatonna, MN, Viraspan Design silk screening, to achieve a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.24 and a U-factor of 0.45.

The skylight’s thermal performance, recycled aluminum, and durable finishes also support the Orlando airport’s Sustainability Management Plan, its LEED target, and its goal to reduce energy use by 10% by 2018..

The overall, multi-phased timeline for the South Airport Complex began in early 2017 and was managed by Turner-Kiewit Joint Venture, Orlando ( Part of Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s (Orlando, $3.1-billion capital improvement program, the South Airport Complex ITF consists of approximately 2.7-million sq. ft. of space accommodating four types of rail systems, an attached parking garage, and an automated people-mover system that links with the existing North Terminal Complex.

“Today’s travelers to Central Florida demand a higher level of service and efficient connections to other modes of transportation, so it is essential that we strive to stay at the forefront of innovation, customer care, and improved connectivity,” said Greater Orlando Aviation Authority executive director Phil Brown.

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