Apogee Glass Causing Problems at Las Vegas Hotel

Glass on the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas-which is part of the building's sustainable design-is reportedly reflecting the sun and causing it to melt plastic cups and singe guests' hair.

Sun reflecting off of glass manufactured by a business segment of Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises, Inc., is getting so hot that it is causing problems at the pool at the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that the glass hotel is reflecting the sun and causing it to melt plastic cup and singe guests' hair in what hotel pool employees half-jokingly call the “Vdara death ray.”

Gordon Absher-a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, which owns the Vdara Hotel-said that designers foresaw the issue and consulted a solar convergence expert who suggested that a high-tech film be installed on the south-facing glass panes, which the hotel did.

He said that designers are already working on other solutions, including different shade structures and more greenery and foliage, and that thousands of guests have enjoyed the pool area in the hotel's first summer.

Owatonna-based Viracon, Inc., a business segment of Apogee, manufactured the glass for the Vdara Hotel, a 1,495 all-suite hotel and spa that opened in 2009. The hotel is part of the CityCenter development, which, according to Viracon's Web site, cost $11 billion to build and is the largest privately funded development in U.S. history.

The glass was part of the hotel's sustainable design, which also includes the use of wood products from responsibly managed forests and high efficiency water use. The hotel received LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009.

A Thursday morning phone call to a Viracon representative seeking comment on the issue was not immediately returned.

Apogee is among Minnesota's 40-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $696.7 million in its most recently completed fiscal year.

-Melissa Loth