- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Lindsay Jeffries
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
From the North Pole to Antarctica, Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi and all 50 states, Denver-based AIA Industries has made a name for itself in the beauty and functionality of what’s overhead in exceptional skylight systems. “We’re the only subcontracting company in this industry with our skylights installed on both ends of the planet,” says Jim Donaldson, founder and chairman of the board at AIA Industries.
Donaldson founded AIA in 1977 after years of related experience. “AIA started handling skylights and distributing for other manufacturers and eventually we began doing our own design and manufacturing,” he recounts. “We now supply commercial and high-end residential skylights in all 50 states, as well as outside of the U.S., and, as a subcontractor AIA installs systems within the Rocky Mountain region.”
From standard skylights to circular, up to 8 feet in diameter or tubular, replacement domes, shades, canopies and active daylighting, AIA offers a broad selection of skylight systems, designed to the highest industry standards and built to withstand the elements. “AIA has even supplied specialized operable dome skylights to Antarctic research facilities and living quarters,” shares Donaldson. “Our products can withstand these harsh climates, allowing for controlled temperatures. I’m not sure there’s another skylight company that’s done work like this.”
Since 1977, AIA has served the architectural and construction market as the single-source responsibility for all sky lighting requirements. The company’s team of experienced designers, craftsmen and installers are committed to the highest standards of design, manufacturing and installation.
Whether it’s a single replacement dome to fix a broken skylight or an entire sunspace or greenhouse addition, AIA has the knowledge to make the project happen. “The more unusual and complex; the more we like it,” says Donaldson of AIA’s project portfolio.
Mainly, the Denver-based company supplies the commercial market and also a significant portion of custom high-end residential skylighting. “We just completed a $150,000 double-slope skylight over a courtyard at a home in Long Island, New York,” details Donaldson.
Shedding light on all project types
Libraries to restaurants, water and waste water treatment plants to historic hotels, airports and hospitals -AIA’s scope of work runs the gamut in all project types. Within its home region in Colorado, AIA not only designs and manufacturers any range of skylight applications, but also installs, repairs and replaces components.
“We installed custom historical skylights on the governor’s mansion and the state capitol,” says Donaldson. “AIA also did the entrance canopies including a multiwall polycarbonate skylight system over the main and ambulance entrances at the University of Colorado Hospital.”
The company is currently wrapping up a skylight installation at the new Denver Public Library. The two-story, 27,000-square-foot library is located at West Colfax Avenue and Irving Street. It is the last of three new libraries constructed with 2007 voter-approved Better Denver Bond funds.
AIA specializes in any number of specialty skylights, including circular designs. “AIA provided 53 circular skylights for the new baggage claim area of the Winnipeg International Airport in Manitoba,” adds Donaldson.
AIA can supply individual circular domes, curb-mount or self-flashing units that utilize a fiberglass curb. “Circular skylights are being used more and more on commercial applications such as airports and have been used in residential applications for years,” adds Donaldson. “The domes are exceptionally strong due to the circular design.”
More daylight, less radiation
AIA is also shedding light on greener facilities with new Heatblock 365 acrylic skylights. These infrared (IR)-reflecting skylights reflect a large portion of incident solar radiation to limit the amount of heat entering a building, while still allowing an abundance of natural light. “These characteristics help reduce energy consumption and makes the Heatblock 365 skylight a product that is well suited for green buildings,” adds Donaldson. “IR-reflecting properties help reduce energy costs and lower internal ambient room temperatures.”
Connecting with other subcontractors
AIA’s extensive project portfolio lends itself to the firm’s respected reputation as a notable subcontractor. As a member of the American Subcontractors Association of Colorado (ASA), Donaldson says AIA has the opportunity to connect with all kinds of subcontracting companies, including Denver-based Diamond Excavating.
“Diane Hills, vice president of Diamond, and I are able to discuss topics of interest to subcontractors,” shares Donaldson. “While we’re not in the same industry, we face some of the same common subcontracting issues.”
“ASA helps form these great member relationships,” says Donaldson, who serves of the ASA board of directors for the local chapter. “We’re building great working relationships by being an ASA member. It’s a means to exchange ideas and education with one another.”
AIA Industries is always looking for new opportunities to think outside of the box with daylighting products. “One such example is Eco-wall, a glazing system for vertical glazing using multiwall polycarbonate sheet, in our new thermally improved aluminum system,” adds Donaldson.
Even after 37 years in business, AIA Industries is still learning, growing its relationships and innovative product selection, shedding light on the most challenging daylighting tasks.
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