Glass provides solutions to many needs, reduces waste, and keeps the environment healthy. A Glass magazines article by Karen Wegert sums up six ways glass benefits people and the environment.
1 Improves learning, work, and healing
Glass windows provide natural daylight and outside views. Daylight may vary with the progression of time and with the season, but the changing intensity, direction, and color of natural light helps connect people to the weather, season, and time of day, and can stimulate wellbeing and productivity. Just as natural light is important to productivity, studies show that it is also important to overall health by boosting the body’s vitamin D storage and improving mood/reducing depression. In addition, studies show students in naturally-lite classrooms score better on tests.
For additional information: Refer to Glass Technical Papers FB53-17 Benefits of Decorative Glass in Daylighting Applications, FM04-12 Daylighting, and NGA’s “Glazing: An Integral Part of Biophilic Design” and “The Health and Wellness Benefits of Daylighting”
2 Contributes to the energy efficiency of buildings
Windows today offer energy-efficient options using glazing layers, the right fill, and low-e coatings to reduce heat loss and temperature transfer through windows. Dual-glazed windows have a relatively low U-value, which measures the window’s effectiveness in resisting heat conduction. While adding a third layer of glazing reduces the U-value by about 35 percent. When the space between the glazing layers is filled with inert gas, the transfer of heat from one surface to another is reduced, again lowering the U-value. Low-e coatings on the glass surface minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted. Reducing the emissivity reduces the amount of heat radiated into a building in warm weather, as well as out in cold weather.
For additional performance information: Refer to GTP FB63-19 Products for Energy Applications.
3 Reduces waste, easily recycled
Recycling glass is one of the many ways to reduce pollution and waste. Over one million tons of architectural glass is recycled annually throughout North America. According to Waste Today, demand for recycled glass is good and limited only by availability. Recycling companies have put a greater value on ‘clean’ glass and sophisticated sorting systems to prevent glass contamination. Many products today originate from recycled architectural glass including fiberglass insulation, highway glass bead, countertops, and flooring.
For additional information: Refer to GTP FB40-14 Recyclability of Architectural Glass Products.
4 Contributes to building security and personal safety
Security glazing products are available for a variety of levels and can enhance building security as well as protect the people inside. Impact-resistant glass is designed to withstand blunt force, whether it is to stop unwanted intruders, whipping winds, or debris from natural disasters. Tempered safety glass is required in doors or windows adjacent to entrances, bathrooms, and other areas such as swimming pool enclosures where walkways may be slippery. And any glass that is within 18 inches of the finished floor is must be tempered. Windows are also portals to the outside and can increase awareness, alerting occupants of pending weather or any suspicious activity, and can offer natural light in the event of a power outage.
For additional information: Refer to GTPs FB71-21 School Security Glazing and FB43-14 Security Glazing.
5 Protects birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife
Birds don’t understand the concept of glass, by reflecting foliage or sky, the glass appears to be a habitat they can fly into. Bird-friendly glass options create ‘visual’ noise on the surface of the glass. The ‘visual’ noise is generally a visible pattern that breaks up the transparent or reflective areas of the glass enough for the birds to see and avoid. Similarly, glass can help protect sea turtles. Young sea turtles migrate to the water at night, following the light of the moon, they often get disoriented by lights coming from coastal buildings. Turtle glass has a Visible Light Transmittance (VLT) of 45% or less in the visible light spectrum. The glass not only keeps the turtles safe but can help to keep interior building temperatures cooler and prevent fading of furnishings and artwork.
For additional information: Refer to GTP FB35-12 Bird-Friendly Glass Design Strategies and GTP FB36-12 Coastal Glazing and the Turtle Codes.
6 Conveys artistic or creative expression
Decorative glass can add privacy and security without blocking natural light, eliminating the need for excessive curtains, blinds, or shades. Decorative glass can impact personal comfort by diffusing light to manage glare and direct sunlight. It is the perfect canvas for frosted logos, digital images, and other interior design goals.
For additional information: Refer to GTP Types of Decorative Glass for more information.
Glass impacts the health, safety, and productivity of employees, professionals, and occupants, and ultimately the efficiency of the building. Our window experts at St. Cloud Window can help you find the best window with the optimum glass for your needs – request a quote today for more information.
St. Cloud Window manufactures custom-made aluminum window and door products for new building construction, commercial window replacement, historic window replacement, and projects where high-performance acoustic attenuation sets the standard. To learn more, view our full product line of commercial aluminum windows and custom historic windows or request a quote online.