Glass has proved to be an important ally in the development of Sustainable Construction or Green Construction, as it is alternately referred to. Glass, treated in various ways, offers benefits that are not just functional or aesthetic but also Sustainable.
Glass, suitably treated, aids in enhancing the Sustainability rating of a structure in the following ways:
* It provides optimal thermal insulation, reducing heat gain inside buildings leading to lesser electricity and utility costs.
* Suitably sized and sited glass elements like windows, skylights, doors and walls provide great natural lighting without glare for the inside of the building, leading to lesser artificial lighting and associated costs.
* Glass can also filter out harmful UV (Ultraviolet) solar radiation of the B type (UVB).
* Sustainable glass is recyclable.
* Glass can also provide acoustic insulation and comfort leading to a tranquil internal environment.
* A well-planned design that uses glass extensively can lead to Sustainable structures that have significantly lesser weight.
* Sustainable Glass is also available in multiple colour and design options for pleasing aesthetics.
* Glass can also be used to generate renewable energy through solar-thermal and photovoltaic applications and wind turbine, which benefit from light weight of the reinforced glass fibres.
While the benefits are manifold, it is important to use the right kind of glass for the right place for a fit that is effective, attractive and safe.
Different Types of Sustainable Glass used in Building
There are a number of different types of Sustainable Glass in a range of patterns and tints that are used in the construction industry. Here are some of the main types:
Float or Annealed Glass: Molten glass is “floated” onto a bed of molten tin. This produces a glass that is flat and distortion- free. It is also the starting material used to produce more advanced types of glass through further processing.
Laminated Glass: This is made of two or more layers of glass with an intermediate plastic layer that holds the glass together when shattered, making it a safe product for various applications. Laminated glass is also used to protect coatings susceptible to damage.
Toughened Glass: It is produced by heating glass to above 600°C and then rapidly cooling it. Not only does it have an increased resistance to breakage, but when broken it breaks into small pieces without sharp edges making it a safe product for a wide range of applications including sliding doors, partitions and low-level windows.
Coated Glass: Coatings are applied to the glass, either during the manufacturing stage (hard coating) or after (soft coating) to endow the glass with special reflective, thermal and corrosion-resistance characteristics.