High performance LoE-366 glass from Glassworks was specified for the Bairnsdale library project to maximise energy efficiency, comfort and natural light in the building.

Designed by NOWarchitecture, the recently completed Bairnsdale library project has already been acknowledged by the design and building industry at several award programs. The project was named the winner of Best Commercial Building ($3M-$6M) in the 2015 Master Builders Regional Building Awards, a finalist for two categories in the Australian Timber Design Awards, a finalist for two categories in the Australian Property Institute Awards, a finalist in the 2015 Sustainability Awards, and a finalist in the Banksia Sustainability Awards.

The project brief required the design to uphold the connection to the Heritage Hall, which ran along the full length of the northern edge of the site, taking up the entire desired northern aspect. Since NOWarchitecture chose to make use of the east facing glazing on the front facade, the glass performance was critical to the success of the design.

Glassworks’ LoE-366 provided the best combination of insulation, natural daylighting and transparency with low reflectance. In combination with the timber structure and the Raico Therm + glazing system, the LoE-366 delivered an extremely high value system, with higher insulation levels and lower cost than conventional aluminium facade systems.

The Bairnsdale library also serves as a community hub with meeting rooms, a cafeteria and a range of formal and informal reading and research spaces. The innovative and holistic environmental design has reduced operational and energy costs, providing a warm aesthetic based on exposed plantation timber structures. The high performance of the LoE-366 glass facade atrium and a passive hydrothermal air conditioning system combine to provide excellent natural lighting, thermal comfort and air quality.

The glazing system has been a crucial factor in the success of the building design by providing a facade with a U value of 1.36 while allowing high levels of natural lighting. The excellent transparency of the facade design plays a key role in engaging the public and in the aesthetic response to the heritage building. The high level of visibility into the building from the street and the use of LED internal lighting not only secure the plaza forecourt but also promote the library at night.

All the product and material selections for the project were based on value for money both in construction and ongoing costs. For instance, joinery quality allowed secondary finishes to be significantly reduced, saving costs and increasing value; the glazing system incorporates approximately 140m² of performance LoE-366 glass; the timber framed, double glazed facade ensures higher daylighting levels and lower heat gain and loss; and the LoE-366 glass, with its Neat easy-clean coating is practically self-cleaning, reducing ongoing maintenance.

NOWarchitecture and the client are currently monitoring ongoing energy usage at the library and have observed significant reductions in energy consumption.

Though low-emissivity glass such as LoE-366 glass is already being adopted across Europe and America, the fantastic result of the Bairnsdale Library could well be an Australian landmark project, demonstrating the performance and aesthetic potential of this low-E glass, says Michael Gleeson, General Manager of Glassworks.