Enhancing Energy Efficiency
The Project: The Gilday Residence
The Players: Gilday Architects, E/Ye Design, G.E. Johnson Construction Co. (general contractor), Windsor Fiberglass

When the owner of Gilday Architects in Jackson, Wyo., designed her personal residence, she reached out to E/Ye Design to design FRP cladding for the 2,500-square-foot home. The architect, Peggy Gilday, had seen a small studio the architecture firm had created – its first cladding collaboration with Windsor Fiberglass – and was impressed.


Architect Jefferson Ellinger and composites professional David Riebe have teamed up to create a semi-customizable line of cladding, shown here on a Wyoming house. “The alliance is a way to bring new product to the market for our clients,” says Ellinger, founding partner of E/Ye Design.

Riebe and Ellinger introduced their line of composite cladding to fill a void in the market: They wanted to offer a mass-produced, economical option for high-end architects (who typically create one-off solutions) and general contractors. They also wanted to create a product that reduces energy loss in a building. “Taking advantage of the properties of fiberglass material, we can create a dimensional façade that increases the thermal performance of the building,” says Ellinger.

Their cladding is a customizable shingled system that regulates environmental exchanges at the façade through precise geometric undulations. The tiles allow the structure to “breath,” as a typical façade does, yet become thermally activated as wind speed increases. Riebe and Ellinger work with architects to develop new surface geometries for the tiles, then produce a premanufactured cladding system.

“It bridges service and product,” says Riebe. “We think there’s a market for high-end architects who don’t want to choose from a certain brick style or be limited by what’s on the market. They can redesign their own geometry for a tile that is completely novel, and we will provide a turnkey solution.”

He and Ellinger design, test and fit the tiles using computer modeling software prior to fabrication. Once the CAD modeling is complete, all tooling is done in-house at Windsor Fiberglass. The tiles are open molded, using hand layup, to apply the fiberglass and a fire-retardant polyester resin.

The first use of the cladding system was the small studio, built in 2011. Windsor Fiberglass fabricated more than 475 white tiles, measuring 12 x 18 x 4 inches, from six unique molds. Ellinger says there were “six standardized parts, but infinite possibilities for the aesthetics of the project” because they could be reconfigured for different effects. However, he admits, this project lacked the hoped-for economies of scale.