Today glass is at the heart of many buildings. Architects are always looking at ways to bring the natural environment *into* a building by using all the available natural daylight. They achieve this by using larger glass panels in facades and roofs and where glass is the main structural component of a building – they will use entire glass facades as well.
When glass is used in all, or part of a building it’s an energy saver. Natural and man-made shade can be applied over glass in summer when air conditioning usage is at its peak. Shade blocks the heat from the sun so the air-conditioning doesn’t have to work *over time*. In winter glass not only reduces heat loss, it also allows heat and light inside during winter and autumn when it is needed most.
The correct type of glass used in a building can help reduce running costs.
Buildings account for up to 50% of the energy consumed in developed countries, glass helps with energy consumption. Glass will keep heat in a building. In cold weather, the heat is reflected off the glass. When looking for a glass that will keep you warm, look for one that has good thermal performance.
In summer, you want to keep the sun’s rays and heat OUT, especially if running air conditioning. Your air conditioner will struggle to keep cool in a room where the sun is just beating through the windows. Sun shades, blinds and drapes over windows, can keep the harsh heat outside – where it should be, allowing your air conditioner to do its job more efficiently.
The use of glass in a building is to allow light in and to provide those inside with a comfortable environment. The proper and correct use of glass in a building provides you with the right amount of light and heat all year round. Now with the added increase in climate change summers are due to get hotter for longer which will mean an increase in the use of air conditioners – your building needs to be the right mix of glass and other building materials.
If you live in an area where fires are prevalent, look for a fire-retardant glass. Fires damage homes and businesses, from accidental to deliberate so if you can combine fire-retardant glass you still bring light and warmth into a building with the added safety should a fire break out.
When building a home, you can also consider glass that is still quite functional – and looks the same, but has added/extra properties – safety glass, thermal insulation, noise reduction and fire-retardant glass all provide you with protection that is reliable and can always be recycled. Used in homes and buildings around the world is a *self-cleaning* glass. This glass simply uses *nature* to keep the surface of the glass free from dust. This glass is especially popular in commercial buildings as less manual cleaning is needed. This reduces the need for chemical cleaning products and water being wasted on keeping windows clean. This also reduces any health and safety issues, and the need to employ cleaners on a regular basis. This alone can be massive savings for anyone who owns a commercial property.
Glass is a wonderful and versatile material for private properties and commercial properties. It lets light in – which saves on electricity – reduces the reliance on overhead lighting during the day and reduces heating costs in winter. It allows you to see the world outside, with clever use of glass inside you can open up a room, use glass to make smaller cubicles or offices, for business you can keep your eye on your staff, or see if a conference room or board room is being used. The roles of glass and the possibilities are endless.