According to Nigel Carpenter, Executive Director of the Australian Glass & Glazing Association (AGGA), a growing range of performance glass products is providing solutions for everyday issues such as thermal comfort, solar control, noise control and even security.
As a key element of modern architecture, glass is used by architects, building designers and home owners to transform spaces from ordinary to light-filled spacious living environments with a view. New innovations in recent years have however enhanced the performance capabilities of glass, specifically its ability to improve a building’s energy efficiency and enhance comfort.
Heavy investment in research and development is helping glass companies change glass from a simple building material to an intelligent life-changing component in the built environment. Performance glass is increasingly being used in applications that most people wouldn’t traditionally associate with glass.
Commenting on a new breed of energy-efficient glass that is also intelligent, Brian Perkins from Melbourne’s Fethers Architectural refers to glazing products that are electronically tinted, incorporating Low-E glass insulations, which changes from clear to dark grey at the push of a button or on command from a building management control system.
In addition to allowing passive solar heat gain in winter and minimising solar heat gain in summer, the new glass systems in their tinted state significantly reduce glare, making them better alternatives to conventionally-used mechanical window shades and blinds.
Suitable for windows, skylights and curtain walls, the glass is already installed in hundreds of buildings, and will soon be ready for mass production, making the product affordable.
Queensland’s G.James Glass is collaborating with the US-based PVB manufacturer Solutia on new energy-efficient glass innovations. G.James has developed an interlayer, which uses ‘nanoparticles’ as a means of reducing heat transfer by scattering the light and reducing direct transfer of energy into the building.
With glass becoming a versatile building material, G.James Research and Development Manager, Gavan Harrop comments that new glass innovations will help architects derive both aesthetic and performance benefits while designing buildings.
Currently, G.James’ coatings are being used for research into transparent photovoltaic solar cells, which could eventually see transparent windows functioning as solar panels.
Leading glass manufacturer Viridian manufactures energy-efficient coated products specifically suited to Australia’s unique climatic conditions. CVD-coated glass from Viridian will help companies meet compliance requirements for energy-efficient buildings.
Lachlan Austin, National Marketing Manager at Viridian believes that the company’s pyrolytic coating process can offer much more than energy-efficiency with the potential for different optical, electrical, physical and even biological properties at the flick of a switch.
A new website by AGGA features a dedicated consumer section to enable users learn about the benefits of performance glass and new glass innovations in addition to a directory that allows them to quickly find glass, glaziers, services and products.