Case Studies

AGS Inc.

It's all in the details

Architectural Grilles & Sunshades Inc. (AGS) is leading the way in the custom design, manufacturing and delivery of exterior sunshades, grilles, light shelves and trellises. The Illinois-based company’s products not only offer unique architectural appeal, adding character to a range of facilities, they also are major contributors of LEED-certification points on projects.

To date, the company has partnered in more than 550 projects throughout North America and the world and many have been LEED accredited. At AGS, an experienced team works with clients to back every customized product.

“We offer a hands-on approach by drafting, manufacturing and delivering in-house with our own project managers,” shares Zach Grunert, estimator and sales and marketing contact for AGS. “Most of our competitors subcontract or do the manufacturing somewhere else; whereas we have project managers here doing everything to make sure our installation goes smoothly.”

AGS Inc.A step above

After all, doing it better and above the competition is where the idea for AGS emerged. The company was established in 2004 by John Trainer, CEO of AGS. “John left a competitor he was working for because he knew he could do things better, more efficiently and be more customer oriented,” tells Grunert.

From there, John started AGS out of his garage and began building the company from the ground up. “10 years later and we’re one of the largest competitors in this industry,” says Grunert.

Based in Mokena, Illinois, AGS brings custom drafting, design, manufacturing and project delivery under one roof. “We have about 10 employees in the office and 20 in the shop,” details Grunert. “The only services we subcontract are finishing and engineering.”

Shedding light on functional details

From balcony railings, facades to parking garage enclosures, AGS offers aluminum ornamental grilles, which provide unique accents while limiting visibility and delivering security in high traffic areas. As true with all AGS products, the company provides customization services for decorative grilles to achieve a desired look and feel for any project.

AGS’s aluminum trellises are an excellent option for limiting heat gain and offering shade for a sun-soaked patio or outdoor eating area. AGS-designed architectural light shelves can help reduce the need for artificial lighting. A horizontal shelf, containing a highly reflective surface used to shine daylight onto the ceiling of a building’s interior, light shelves allow daylight to penetrate deep within the building.

“Due to their overhang, light shelves conversely provide shading near windows, thereby reducing window glare,” adds Grunert. “This reduction in both glare and heat gain leads to more productive energy use and earned LEED points toward your energy-efficient building construction.”

Complete customization

While AGS leads in grilles, trellises and light shelves, the company specializes in custom designed and manufactured sunshades -airfoil, tubular and vertical- for architects and developers nationwide. “From filtering the sun’s direct rays to drastically cutting heat loss during the winter, AGS’s top-quality sunshades are custom-designed with the utmost detail, while innovatively serving your architectural vision,” reads the AGS website.

The company’s aluminum sunshades are completely customizable; from a variety of infills, to fascias and attachments. “Our experienced project managers work with clients to maintain constant communication to ensure the customized product is delivered meeting requested lead times and our in-house fabrication means there’s no field assembly required,” says Grunert.

From the AGS headquarters to Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison to American University, Chase Bank, the Sears Center and even McDonalds, an extensive range of institutional and commercial clients have called on AGS for distinguished architectural aesthetics and efficiency.

“We recently completed a multicolor exterior light shelf at Northeastern Illinois University,” shares Grunert. “We had to bend it around an aluminum frame, which is something we haven’t seen performed yet, but it turned out to be quite the custom-built project.”

At the new Iowa Children’s Hospital, AGS delivered stainless steel sunshade fins to mimic the football stadium feel of neighboring Kinnick Stadium. “Also for Three Rivers Credit Union in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we designed and manufactured sunshades to look like waves, including splicing all infills to specific dimensions,” says Grunert. “This was a difficult but very interesting project.”

While AGS’s components offer increased efficiency and potential LEED points, Grunert says the products are often first to go when making project budget cuts. “We noticed some effects of the recession in this sense, but right now sales are up and things are looking great.”

After showcasing at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2014 in New Orleans, AGS is focusing on spreading the message in terms of LEED achievement and how its products can turn an ordinary project into something extraordinary. AGS Inc. continues to provide custom-crafted exterior sunshades, grilles, light shelves and trellises that help reduce energy use, conserve resources, lower costs, all while delivering function and a truly unique architectural signature.

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