Monday, 10 May 2010

Eco glass

Glass is indispensable in buildings, allowing light into the interior while keeping the weather out. This is not simply a matter of preference and psychological well being, but is backed up by legislation. In the UK , for example, all habitable rooms must have at least one window. Until a few decades ago, most homes featured windows of only a relatively restricted size. In contemporary design, however, the trend is for using greater expances of glass, which unfortunately has the potential to compromise a building's energy efficiency seriously, with vast amounts of heat drained from the interior after dark, and temperatures raised uncomfortably in warm  weather. Recently, new types of glass, such as low-E glass, have been developed to address this problem. Installing highly insulated units in double or triple-glazed versions is also a good energy-saving strategy.
Glass is made out of basic ingredients - soda, sand and lime - which are abundant and widely available. However its production, which entails melting those ingredients at vast temperatures, is very costly in terms of energy. One saving grace is that glass is readily recyclable with no loss of purity or clarity, and schemes for sorting and collecting glass are well establishded in many areas. Although such recycling schemes generally provide material that is turned back into bottles and jars, recycled float glass for external facades and other uses is also available, along with recycled glass tiles that can be used as a substitute for ceramic tiles and cast glass tiles.

Characteristics
  • Energy-saving glass comes in a variety of formats, the most popular being low-E glass that is coated with a microscopic layer that reflects heat back into the interior
  • Virtually indistinguishable from sheer glass
  • Enhanced energy-saving can be achieved by incorporating low E-glass in double or triple glazed units
  • Framing and construction of glazed openings has a direct bearing on energy performance

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