Obviously, glass fabricators want access to the latest thin glass laser cutting technologies to enable current and future product development within the marketplace.

Having access to laser-based processes is something most people within the industry agree, but it requires the technology itself to fit a facilities process flow, materials handling methodologies and ultimately add value to their products.

Freedom To Choose The Materials You Use. As it stands today, being competitive, is an absolute necessity; that doesn’t come from accessing technology that limits you to one material supplier.

The industry wants and deserves choice; this means they need to be able to access thin glass laser cutting technology without having to be limited to one thin glass materials manufacturer.

Ultimately working with a laser system group, as a technology partner, that works with its client to provide a complete solution for thin glass laser cutting and fabrication is optimum. Thin Glass

Opportunity: Converging Technologies. The outlook is exciting for laser cutting thin glass materials. New processes for laminating matched with complex geometries offer opportunities for innovation and product life-cycle extensions for existing products.

With the latest and greatest display techniques adapted to automotive applications, glass fabricators in the U.S. might be able to realize a surge in sales if they acquire flexible tooling for processing.

This flexibility also extends to being flexible in the thin glass materials they select; trading off name brands for high value-added niche markets and newer material sources for higher volume commercial and automotive applications.

The day of one source for precision thin glass material is in the past; more options are available at prices that will usher in a new age of innovation for those who embrace the technology. BOLD Products

SOURCE
bold laser

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Bensonwood chose a Solar Innovations® entryway to create a light, welcoming atmosphere. The building’s bright facade is inviting, promising a friendly customer experience.

THE CHALLENGE

When designing a new branch of the Savings Bank of Walpole, Bensonwood – a custom Design|Builder based in Walpole, NH – approached Solar Innovations®.

They were in need of a manufacturer for a glazed entryway and interior dividing walls for the bank. The client wanted a building that was both sustainable and customer focused. Natural light and an open, friendly atmosphere were top priorities.

The architect required fenestration that preserves indoor temperatures. Not only does this save money, but it also reduces the environmental toll of heating and cooling. Finally, the systems needed to be safe, secure, and accessible.

THE PROCESS

Creating a Welcoming Entrance
A building’s entryway is an important design factor, as it serves as a guest’s first impression. The strong, sturdy timber posts on the building’s exterior reinforce the dependability of the bank.

In contrast, Bensonwood chose a Solar Innovations® entryway to create a light, welcoming atmosphere. The building’s bright facade is inviting, promising a friendly customer experience.

Two sets of French doors create an entryway vestibule. Curtain walls on either side of the vestibule offer more daylight into the lobby. The exterior French door system uses insulated glazing and thermally broken aluminum frames, providing comfortable indoor temperatures even during extreme weather conditions.

Solar Innovations® constructed the curtain walls with the same framing as the French doors, creating a consistent appearance with matching sightlines. The use of an entry vestibule also helps prevent outdoor temperatures from affecting indoor comfort. Thermally efficient products and designs lower heating and cooling costs and reduce the toll on our environment.

Clear Glass Wall with No Floor Track
Clear Glass Wall with No Floor Track

The Clear Solution

At the front of the building is an ATM vestibule for bank members’ easy access. A single terrace door allows for egress from the ATM vestibule, providing a clear flow for quick, convenient transactions.

Separating the ATM vestibule from the main lobby is a Solar Innovations® Clear Glass Wall. This operable wall has no vertical frames between panels, offering a sleek, modern glass-to-glass look. Clear Glass Walls are often used in stadiums for a clear view of the game without interruptions.

However, their contemporary appearance and ability to feature custom configurations make them ideal for a wide range of applications. The top hung Slide & Stack panels can be moved along a single track to disappear from sight when stacked in a pocket inside the wall. Clear Glass Walls are also available in Sliding and Folding operations.

When closed, the 9’ tall Clear Glass Walls at the Savings Bank of Walpole offer great security. Keyed locks are located along the bottom rails. Bolts engage into dust proof strikes within the flooring and remove the need for a distracting bottom track across the floor.

A Smooth Installation Process
Factory-direct installation takes the stress out of finalizing your project. The Solar Innovations® Install Team installed the Clear Glass Walls, French doors, and entryway. Our team can install within a six hour travel radius from our Pine Grove, Pennsylvania office. Outside of that radius, we can refer to our extensive dealer network.

THE RESULT

With the vision of Bensonwood and the products of Solar Innovations®, the Savings Bank of Walpole became a bright, welcoming space. Customers are greeted with an open, friendly atmosphere. Efficient products create a sustainable building that benefits the environment. Going to the bank just got a whole lot more enjoyable.

PROJECT LOCATION
Keene, NH

PRODUCT
SI3000C Clear Glass Wall
SI2250 French Doors & Terrace Door
SI5000 Curtain Walls

ARCHITECT
Designed & Built by Bensonwood

 

To learn more about Clear Glass Walls, visit solarinnovations.com/clear-glass-walls. 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMIE SALOMON

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The Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center features an athletic wellness performance facility and an interior constructed of eye-catching glass displays, including a trophy lobby with Tru Vue® UltraVue® Laminated Glass display cases.

 

Introduction

The University of Oregon has assembled a massive state-of-the-art showcase to promote student-athlete wellness and to honor one of its Oregon Ducks football alumni, Marcus Mariota.

The Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center features an athletic wellness performance facility and an interior constructed of eye-catching glass displays, including a trophy lobby with Tru Vue® UltraVue® Laminated Glass display cases.

Mariota was a quarterback for the Oregon Ducks from 2012-2014 and a 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. Today, Mariota is a 3rd year professional National Football League (NFL) quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.

 

 

Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center

The talented design team at SRG Partnership and Senior Designer, Walker Templeton, were the architects behind the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center at the University of Oregon.

The breathtaking 30,000 square foot (2787 square meter) renovation includes a new athletic training facility worthy of professional NFL football players. Generous benefactors, such as Nike Co-Founder, Phil Knight, made the $19 million dollar project possible.

The interior of the complex incorporates over 15,000 square feet (1394 square meters) of glass, but it’s not just ordinary glass. Glass lined corridors, entrance doors, and ceilings integrate printed murals and artwork which highlight Mariota’s college career at the University of Oregon.

Some of the decorating techniques used in the project include photo realistic etching, direct printing using laminated glass, and paint filling of surface etched lettering.

Entrance to the breathtaking trophy lobby at the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center. © Kris Iverson, of Moon Shadow Glass
Entrance to the breathtaking trophy lobby at the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center. © Kris Iverson, of Moon Shadow Glass

 

Trophy Cases Constructed from UltraVue® Laminated Glass

A major focal point of the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center is the trophy lobby which is a 135 foot (41 meter) long glass corridor that reaches 20 feet (6 meters) in height.

All the prestigious trophies that Mariota was awarded during his football career at the University of Oregon are displayed in the center of this impressive corridor. Fabricated by B & L Wood Creations Inc. of Hillsboro, Oregon, each of the 8 cases measure 18” inches (46 centimeters) square and the height of the cases range from 12-40” inches (30–101 centimeters) tall.

Decorative detail was used in every corner of the corridor, but the real artwork is encased in the Tru Vue® UltraVue® Laminated Glass display cases. UltraVue® Laminated Glass was the material of choice since it would severely cut down on unwanted reflections caused by the other non-coated glass and lighting used within the display area, creating the best artifacts viewing experience for guests.

Trophy cases are constructed of cut and polished UltraVue® Laminated Glass. © Kris Iverson, of Moon Shadow Glass
Trophy cases are constructed of cut and polished UltraVue® Laminated Glass. © Kris Iverson, of Moon Shadow Glass

 

Challenges with Glass Edge Bonding

A unique feature of the glass display cases includes an angled top which helps eliminate the look of a step effect when you enter the display corridor. This feature did however, present a potential problem with fabrication. Edge bonding laminated glass can be a challenge, even for the professionals.

When edge bonding laminated glass is combined with some angles, it multiplies the challenge. Tolerances must be extreme to produce a clean bond with no voids. Any uncontrolled bonding agent would be detrimental to the finished look and could also damage the non-reflective coating on the laminated glass during the assembly process.

Close-up of the outside of the glass bonded corner. © JIT Companies Inc.
Close-up of the outside of the glass bonded corner. © JIT Companies Inc.

 

Cut and Polished to Precision

Just like in football, precision in glass cutting is mandatory. It starts with the cutting and polishing of the glass. JIT Companies Inc. of Green Isle, Minnesota supplied the quarter inch (6.4 millimeter) UltraVue® Laminated Glass for this project.

Using the clients’ information and requested dimensions for each case, JIT Companies programmed its computer controlled high pressure waterjets for cutting of the glass. This equipment is used due to its high precision and speed producing consistent parts in the process.

The side panels of all the display cases also required a small fixture hole at the lower edge of the glass. This was to be used to secure the glass cases to the base fixture as a security measure for the artifacts.

The cutting was followed by precision edge grinding and polishing that would bring the parts to the final required size, easing the assembly process.

Close-up of the inside of the glass bonded corner. © JIT Companies Inc.
Close-up of the inside of the glass bonded corner. © JIT Companies Inc.

 

Transparent Assembly of the Glass Cases

The depth and weight of some of the larger units was the most challenging aspect of the assembly. After discussion and testing, it was determined that the best way to fasten the tops to the 4 sides, was to use acrylic 3M™ VHB™ Tape.

JIT Companies provided the water clear (transparent) tape in custom sized lengths for application to the top edge of the cases. The glass top was put in place securing it with an ultra-clear invisible bond. This process ensured that there was no stray adhesive that would have made its way to the inside of the cube, making cleaning difficult, if not impossible.

Conclusion

The Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center is a visual glass masterpiece at every glance. This project shows how UltraVue® Laminated Glass and some creative ingenuity can be used to cut, polish, and construct even the most challenging glass display cases with striking precision.

Click here to download article

 

Sources & Reference Material:

B & L Wood Creations Inc. website: http://www.blwood.com/

JIT Companies Inc. website: http://www.jitcompanies.com/

Moon Shadow Glass website: http:/www.moonshadowglass.com

SRG Partnership website: https://www.srgpartnership.com/

SOURCE

Tru Vue logo that links to the homepage

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Windows are an essential and beautiful element of modern architecture.

Developments in glass technology in recent years has transformed our relationship with the material – no longer are they just small openings in walls, but expansive forms that seamlessly connect us to the outside world and make our homes more comfortable to live in.

If you’re in the early stages of building your dream home, you’ve probably got ‘choose windows’ on a never-ending checklist of things to do, which can understandably be a bit daunting. Don’t worry, we’ve got some awesome tips to help you in making the right choice.

 

What’s the point?

Glass has different purposes depending on where it is situated. For example, there’s a substanital difference between the glass requirements in your bathroom compared to your living room. The bathroom needs beautiful natural light, but it’s also important to maintain privacy, so a frosted or tinted glass that obscures vision from outside the home might be way to go.

A living room glass set up, on the other hand, will often employ large areas of glass to capitalise on views and create a flow between inside and outside areas.

3 things to consider when it comes to your windows

A (comfortable) room with a view

There’s nothing more stunning than using glass over a larger area, however, the drawback is that it can expose your home to temperature extremes and UV glare. When selecting glass for your home, you should keep in mind that you’ll want to be comfortable all year around.

You might want to consider one of the many glazing, double glazing or low-emissivity products available, which will not only drastically improve the energy efficiency of your home, but keep your home from getting too hot or cold.

 

Maximise views, minimise noise

Windows not only open up your home to gorgeous views and natural light, but can, at times, also open you up to unwanted noise and visitors. Luckily, there are products that can remedy against that.

Acoustic glass is designed to minimise outside noise, a great feature for people living in high density, urban environment who want a little break from the boisterous natural of city living.

For those who love glass, but are concerned about potential break-ins, security glass is an attractive option. It is harder to break than normal glass and will give you peace of mind that your home and belongings are that little safer.

Glass allows us to create a relationship with the outdoors from the comfort of our homes. We understand that it can be intimidating choosing windows when you don’t have that much experience. However, if you follow the above tips, you’re going to find the process much easier.

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Berkeley chemists created a new type of photovoltaic out of cesium-doped perovskite that is transparent at room temperature but turns dark at high temperatures, setting the stage for smart windows that also generate electricity.

A new discovery by Berkeley researchers may soon bring us windows that automatically tint on a sunny day to block the heat while also generating electricity.

Peidong Yang, a professor of chemistry and faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, and his colleagues have tweaked the chemical structure of perovskite — a versatile material that already rivals silicon-based solar cells — so that the material turns from transparent to opaque when heated and also converts sunlight into electricity.

The invention could lead to power-producing smart windows for buildings, cars and display screens, according to the authors of the study, who reported the development today in the journal Nature Materials.

While the sunlight conversion efficiency of the material — an inorganic halide perovskite with added cesium, lead, iodine and bromine — is still low and the transition from transparent window to opaque solar cell requires heating the window to the boiling point of water, Yang is already at work on versions that work at lower temperatures and with higher conversion efficiency.

“This class of inorganic halide perovskite has amazing phase transition chemistry,” Yang said. “It can essentially change from one crystal structure to another when we slightly change the temperature or introduce a little water vapor.”

UC Berkeley’s campanile seen through the low-temperature thin-film halide perovskite, which is transparent, and the heated perovskite, which is orange-red and converts sunlight into electricity.
UC Berkeley’s campanile seen through the low-temperature thin-film halide perovskite, which is transparent, and the heated perovskite, which is orange-red and converts sunlight into electricity.

Perovskites have been a focus of much research lately because, with the right admixture of chemical elements, they work as very efficient solar cells, converting light to electricity. Tweaking the chemicals in the material also changes the transparency.

Last year, researchers created a perovskite solar cell that changed from transparent to opaque when heated, though the efficiency of solar conversion to electricity dropped drastically after several cycles.

Yang’s new material retains its conversion efficiency after many cycles between transparent and a reddish tint.

“The solar cell shows fully reversible performance and excellent device stability over repeated phase transition cycles without any color fade or performance degradation,” said Minliang Lai, a graduate student in Yang’s group. “With a device like this, a building or car can harvest solar energy through the smart photovoltaic window.”

“It’s an attractive idea that you would have the solar cell capability and the smart window at the same time,” said Michael McGehee, a Stanford University materials scientist who was quoted in an article about the development that appeared in the journal Science.

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The shop fronts inside the building are in toughened or laminated safety glass and reinforce the striking architecture of this light-flooded shopping mecca. Some of the facades are almost eight metres high and extend over two floors.

A SHOPPING EXPERIENCE WITH A CRYSTAL CLEAR VIEW

With its striking glass domes, the Aquis Plaza shopping centre at the heart of the Aachen pedestrian precinct in Adalbertstrasse can be spotted from a great distance. On almost 30,000 square metres of retail space, 130 different retailers, restaurants and cafes offer a great shopping and culinary experience.

The shop fronts inside the building are in toughened or laminated safety glass and reinforce the striking architecture of this light-flooded shopping mecca. Some of the facades are almost eight metres high and extend over two floors.

The Aquis Plaza in the heart of Aachen was designed to offer special views into and out of the building and above all a combination of shopping and indulgence. The shopping centre cost a good EUR 290 million to build.

One of the key structural and design elements is special glass in various facets, which floods the retail levels with huge amounts of daylight. It also offers visitors a special experience of space: A passageway with glass roof and views to the sky connects the two buildings of the centre from Kaiserplatz to Willy-Brandt-Platz.

From the inside of the complex in the area facing Adalbertstrasse, you can enjoy an impressive view of St. Adalbert’s church on a rock on the opposite side.

Horizontal sliding walls for shopping centre

 

SHOP FRONTS ALMOST EIGHT METRES HIGH

The 130 shops including shop fronts are also a key element in the special overall concept for the centre. For 17 of these shops, experts from Cristalux undertook the assembling and production of the glass facades. Some of the glass facades are 7.70 m and extend over two floors.

They are made of laminated safety glass consisting of two 8 mm thick panes of toughened glass connected with an ultra-thin film.

“Safety is the top priority. If the glass should break unexpectedly the broken fragments adhere to the film. The risk of injury is therefore reduced to a minimum,” explains Cristalux Managing Director Reinhard Schäfer. In addition, when the glass breaks there is still a residual load-bearing capacity and as a result a certain protective effect.

Cristalux, which is part of the Arnold Glas Group, installed almost 700 m2 of laminated and toughened safety glass in the Aquis Plaza in the form of 152 casements and fixed elements, 22 skylights and a roller door. For shop fronts up to 3.70 m high, 12 mm thick clear toughened safety glass was used.

“All stores have their own requirements and specifications, so every glass structure is individual and has to meet specific standards,” says Schäfer.

 

FRAMELESS FACADE THANKS TO POINT-FIXED GLASS

The Cristalux specialists also assembled the hardware and frame systems. Some of the facades are point-fixed: Attractively shaped holders in stainless steel, which are joined with a substructure via small drill holes in the glass, are the only fixings visible on the surface. This results in a frameless facade that meets the most stringent requirements for transparency.

Schäfer is well aware that shop fronts are not just about extensive project planning expertise and product quality, but also about reliably adhering to the generally short design and execution schedule. To be able to execute such projects smoothly, glazing for shop fronts has become an area of specialisation for Cristalux.

SOURCE
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The new TF-580 cap gives an improved aesthetics to the GlassFit SV-1402 aluminum profile, by covering the external mounting holes of the profile blending itself with the rest of its surface.

Its grey color is very similar to aluminium, so both elements fit perfectly integrated.

TF-580, made of low density polyethylene, will perfectly withstand extreme weather conditions and direct sunlight exposure thanks to its UV filter, that provides high stability versus ultraviolet radiation. Thus, the TF-580 cap reveals as perfect for glass railing projects, both indoors and outdoors

Installation process is quite simple: no tools are required for the job. Just insert the cap into the hole in the profile by hand and press it manually, so that it stays fixed. To remove them just use a flat screwdriver.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 25mm diameter
  • Material: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) with UV filter
  • Finish: RAL 7040
  • Packing: 10 units per box
  • Availability: immediate

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Iranian manufacturers are actively mastering the global glass market, paying special attention to new technologies.

Iran’s Nanotechnology Initiative Council reported that the number of countries importing Iranian glass and mirrors in 2017 increased to 35. Iran’s industrial group-supplier of glasses managed to enter the markets Germany, Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Poland, Greece, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Tanzania, Brazil, Canada, etc.

Iran has mastered the technology of applying heat-saving and multifunctional coatings, which allows it to compete in the segment of high-quality glass. Iraqi manufacturers of float glass have 15 production sites in the country and abroad, which allows them to deliver to the countries of four continents – Eurasia, Africa, North and South America.

Iranian glass promotes the brands Eco Gold, Eco Bronze, Eco Blue and Eco Silver, which differ in the shades of the coatings.

Iran is developing a lot of activity in the global market for transparent float glass due to lower prices. The key market for Iran is India. The government of India was forced to impose anti-dumping duties on Iranian glass to protect the interests of its producers. The petition for imposing duties was signed by Saint Gobain India, Gold Plus Glass Industry and HNG.

The main trump cards of Iranian producers are the low cost of labor (and hence production) compared to the European one and the convenient geographic location from the point of view of supplies to the countries of Asia and Africa.

About 30% of the produced float glass is exported, as domestic consumption lags far behind production. It is rather difficult to reduce production – the furnaces can not be turned off, otherwise the glass will solidify and disable the equipment. To stop the equipment it is required to preserve. Therefore, any fluctuations in demand cause serious difficulties.

Export growth and access to foreign markets in recent years is associated with a partial lifting of sanctions: in 2015, the US allowed third countries to trade with Iran. But it’s not just the lifting of sanctions, but also the willingness of the Iranian state to support local producers, including the glass industry.

SOURCE

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Brio’s adjustable hinge set, XY is ideal for French door applications as the innovative design allows quick installation of the discreet, surface mount hinges on timber and aluminium panels while providing easy vertical and horizontal adjustment without removing the door.

Reducing the adjustment to only 2 planes means the compression between panel and weather seal is unbroken so systems can maintain energy-efficient performance.

The XY hinges are available in multiple finishes with a choice of cast alloy for 50kg applications or stainless steel for 100kg.  Hinge sets can also operate with Brio’s exterior folding system Weatherfold in either top hung 4s or bottom rolling 4c installations.

Brio launches XY adjustable hinge

Brio launches XY adjustable hinge

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Interior & Exterior Bifold & Screen Tracks, Hardware, Kits & Systems for Sliding & Folding Doors

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ODL, Inc. introduces Dialogue Layered Glass, an innovative line of designer decorative and privacy doorglass that offers subtle beauty with a surprising twist.

ODL, Inc.(ODL), a leading building products supplier of decorative and clear door glass and entry treatments, introduces Dialogue Layered Glass, an innovative line of designer decorative and privacy doorglass that offers subtle beauty with a surprising twist.

Named for its interactive design, Dialogue takes on a personality of its own as layers of glass interact with one another, with light and with movement. Each pattern is created by printing subtle designs on interior layers of the insulated door glass, which adds dimension to the pattern.

Dialogue Patterns
Dialogue Patterns

The Dialogue line was developed in collaboration with Observatory Studio, a Providence, Rhode Island design firm that works closely with other brands in the design industry, including the famed Rhode Island School of Design.

The firm’s principals, Ayako Takase and Cutter Hutton, were tasked with creating dynamic doorglass designs that compliment a range of architectural styles and design aesthetics.

Each of the six ceramic frit patterns change form and move depending on the amount of light coming through and depending upon the viewer’s vantage point.

The patterns are said to interact because of the way they seemingly come to life with changes in light and movement, revealing shapes and dancing shadows that engage in a dialogue with the various layers of doorglass and with the surrounding architecture of the home.

Dialogue patterns include:

  • Banter– a small-scale pattern of overlapping diagonal lines, which create a woven design that zigzags across the layers of doorglass. From a distance, the fine, threadlike lines give an illusion of a fully frosted glass.
  • Brainstorm– an exterior vertical pattern couples with an interior chevron motif to appeal to both mid-modern and modern design sensibilities. Brainstorm’s appearance is both subtle and substantial.
  • Chatter– a repetitive pattern of dots and lines makes this design read more like a texture. The shadow effect gives this doorglass a playful aesthetic.
  • Converse – a stencil design that hints of keyhole arches, commonly found in Moroccan architecture, at first appears to be cut glass. The clear and frosted glass layers interact to create striking shadows and a high privacy range.
  • Repartee– frosted layers combine with a geometric grid of shapes to create a lively interaction that changes with light amount and vantage point. The design plays with both movement and opacity.
  • Whisper– scrolled patterns introduce the refined and graceful qualities of calligraphy to doorglass. A play between frosted and clear glass layers creates gentle, quiet movement.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Observatory on the launch of Dialogue Layered Glass,” said Amanda Fowler, national marketing manager, Pro Channel at ODL. “The designs serve two purposes: a privacy element gives the glass a sense of utility; and the unique shadows emitted from the patterns and translucency of the glass make it an engaging and striking design element. It is as beautiful as it is practical.”

Dialogue Layered Glass also responds to homeowners’ requests for privacy in doorglass solutions. The six translucent patterns offer dynamic privacy levels which change based on light and proximity and range from a moderate 3-5 to a high 8-9 on the privacy level scale.

Dialogue complements a range of architectural styles and design aesthetics for both high-end residential and commercial applications. Additionally, the glass is available in 11 sizes, nine of which are also available as Severe Weather glass designed specifically for hurricane-prone or high-wind areas.

For more information, visit the Dialogue webpage.

SOURCE

ODL

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The woodland house rests on land with the scent of sun and rain.It erects the development of its transparencies till it looks onto the tops of the branches of ancient trees.

The house of the sea lives the landscape. It bears witness to the succession of natural phenomena, responsive to their contrasts, reflecting and integrating into its transparencies the anger and peace of the  elements.

Simplicity is when, in the act of creating the dwelling, matter becomes transparent, a medium for aesthetic values, the stage and theater of representation. Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio pursue and achieve their design intention in which glass figures as the unquestioned protagonist, excluding the mediation of supports that would challenge its leading role. “That image is symbolic,” they comment. “We’re portrayed standing on a transparent sheet of glass. We’re on the upper floor of the Milan showroom, in reality absorbed into a dimension which effaces every distinction between spaces and relates the interior to the setting outside, the urban context. So often, at least virtually, the boundary line vanishes, and we receive the impression of an unbroken vision.

It is then that we ask ourselves about the applications most relevant to the project. And we realize everything is possible in Simplicity, everything can be achieved, provided it embodies a sensitive interpretation of the basic function aimed at satisfying aesthetic needs. The Plexiglas joint makes it possible to combine and assemble the sheets of glass, defining architectural works which are one the development of the other and are integrated in and adapted to the most disparate settings.” “The outside world, nature, landscape, penetrate, thanks to glass and its abstractness, into the intimate or private realm inside, and there play, freely as a component of the atmosphere.” Hence the dream, notes Jean Baudrillard, of living “in a garden in close intimacy with nature, experiencing the charm of every season.” In the words of Wim Wenders, “most of the buildings that are built in big cities are not the fruit of a dream… All you see are huge concrete blocks, tasteless blocks.” And Italo Calvino: “The invisible cities are a dream born from the heart of unlivable cities.” Stupid, obsolete fortresses, those blocks of concrete constitute much of the world’s metropolises and megalopolises. Even though “in various efforts to run counter to its own founding act,” in the words of Gianfranco Maraniello, “contemporary architecture has gone so far as to propose the negation of the ‘wall’ itself, both by creating ‘open’ and sometimes unlivable spaces and by modifying or creating living spaces without circumscribing them as certain defined rooms, or by making the boundaries of its constructs uncertain.” This is confirmed by Jean Baudrillard: “Glass is the miracle of a fixed fluid, of  a content that is also a container, and hence the basis of the transparency between the two: a kind of transcendence which, as we have seen, is the first imperative in the creation of atmosphere… Indestructible, immune to decay, colorless, odorless… glass… is to matter as vacuum is to air… Glass is the basis of a transparency without transition: we see, but cannot touch. The message is universal and abstract.” Carlo Santambrogio observes: “On brownfield sites, row up row of factories in serried ranks testify to now remote times, when manufacturing was still carried on in urban districts.

Today obsolete factories can be divided into apartments, known as ‘lofts.’ Real-estate dealers promote them as open spaces which, after undergoing the usual restructuring, will substantially change their nature and be organized as condominiums. This is because it is impossible to understand a single building regardless of its context. Open space cannot therefore be bounded by walls. Those walls testify to a history that is unchangeable: they are a landscape and form a frame of reference, which has to be respected and enhanced. Finding myself having to deal with one of these factory buildings, I immediately thought I could not turn it into a home of a traditional kind, or appeal to other illusory connotations. I would have to detach myself from those walls, leaving them open to the sky, and seek to create a dialogue with their history, even if I had to reinvent it. The idea could hardly help being related to transparency, the fascination of the material par excellence. Hence the garden with plants and flowers. Glass reflects and integrates the colors of the roses, jasmine and oleanders, of the sky and the clouds chasing each other across the blue; it distinguishes the light of dawn from that of sunset. All this in the city, the privilege of incommensurable moments amid those rows of factory buildings on a brownfield site. Glass endows a form on the load-bearing girders, floors, roof and walls. The staircase shines with the greenery of plants. Sunlight passes through the slabs that form the great pool. Colorless, the supreme material justifies the conception of the whole habitat, of the structure — the container — and of the furnishings — the content. Macro and micro are integrated in harmonious cohesion.

The composition of the kitchen space is exemplary. Seemingly immaterial, a landscape within the landscape, it reflects the glow of flame, the green of the vegetable garden, the pink of crustaceans, the red of meat. The interplay of transparencies heightens the senses, revealing food, when there is an occasion for it, a gratifying embodiment of desire, the achievement of the most exclusive life style.”
“No house,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright, “should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” It has to belong to the where in everywhere. So, if the house is in the wood, the wood is in the house. This is not playing on words, but a confirmation of the relationship between two representations, one natural the other artificial. “Remember,” said Ludwig Wittgenstein, “the impression made by good architecture, which is to express a thought. You feel the urge to accompany it with a gesture.” The gesture of building is an extremely musical gesture. Good architecture is good music.

Carlo Santambrogio recounts: “Living in the forest day and night, in sun and rain, in wind, ice and snow, realizing the dream of making the forest the house so as to live in the forest. A house that must never be an object that can just be set down anywhere, but rather a place of enchantment, of wonder, of amazement. Three floors of vertical development, for the sake of all-round vision.

Going up the transparent stairs makes you feel you are climbing into the tree tops. In the house, where the forest is at home, in the shower cubicle the water patters on the skin like the drumming of rain in spring, the dormeuse is shaded from the warm summer sun, the scent of autumn is in the mushrooms on the table, winter in the sudden darkness that surprises the day.” Nature is onstage in the theater of transparencies, where snow, ice, rain and sun alternate in the limelight. Whoever lives here, enlivens the scene, lives by it and feels the excitement. His behavior is more like that of an actor than a member of the audience. Another house is that of the sea, where, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, we “comprehend and enjoy the dry chorus of wave-tops turning over with a sound of incessant tearing; the hurry of the winds working across open spaces and herding the purple-blue cloud-shadows; the splendid upheaval of the red sunrise.” And again Carlo Santambrogio: “The house of the sea lies along the promontory without clinging to it: it appears as if suspended. The whole structure reflects the rugged terrain. Under the slabs of the floor there plays a wind that bears

the tang of sea salt and carries the cries of the gulls. The rock has a sense of sturdiness, of safety. And making landfall here is the first frame of reference in the setting, while the sea is a boundless vision. Whoever dwells in the house of the sea rests in port and dreams of setting sail again.

Both transparent, a great bed stands out next to a bookcase, where even the books tell of the sea.”
Because, says Kipling again, “The dullest of folk cannot see this kind of thing hour after hour through long days without noticing it.”

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The intelligent networking and automation of building functions is the key factor for efficient and sustainable building management.

Schüco International KG will be presenting automation solutions for intelligently networking the building envelope of commercial and residential buildings (smart homes) at this year’s Light + Building, the world’s leading exhibition for light and building technology, in Hall 11.1 at Stand C50. In January 2018 Schüco became a member of the Connected Comfort brand alliance.

The intelligent networking and automation of building functions is the key factor for efficient and sustainable building management. The building envelope specialist from Bielefeld provides smart solutions in a timeless design, which can be integrated into standardised building management systems.

After all, intelligently inter-compatible automation solutions provide a high level of comfort thanks to a healthy indoor climate, protection against break-ins and a reduction in the building’s energy balance.

Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Schüco VentoTherm Advanced ventilation system is a window-integrated ventilation and extraction system with air filter, heat recovery and sensor control which allows continuous air exchange when the window is closed.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Schüco VentoTherm Advanced ventilation system is a window-integrated ventilation and extraction system with air filter, heat recovery and sensor control which allows continuous air exchange when the window is closed.

 

Networked system platform

Schüco Building Skin Control networks components in the whole building envelope with each other. Via a KNX or BACnet gateway, the system platform can be connected to a standardised building management system.

Numerous functions – such as automatic closure of windows in the event of rain, time-controlled window ventilation and energy-saving night-time cooling – can be managed centrally with just one piece of software. They are quick and intuitive to operate using the Schüco Building Skin Control app.

Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Building Skin Control system platform networks the Schüco units in the building envelope with each other. It can be connected via open interfaces to standardised building management systems.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Building Skin Control system platform networks the Schüco units in the building envelope with each other. It can be connected via open interfaces to standardised building management systems.

 

Intelligent ventilation systems

Schüco offers window-integrated ventilation solutions for new and existing buildings. The portfolio ranges from external air inlets for damp protection to effective ventilation systems with heat recovery.

With VentoTherm Advanced, Schüco presents a new intelligent ventilation and extraction system with demand-driven sensor control. The integrated heat exchanger reduces ventilation losses and pre-heats the inflowing air to a comfortable temperature.

Schüco VentoLife has been specifically developed to meet the needs of residents in large cities and urban areas. A multi-stage, high-performance filter effectively removes the smallest particulate matter, pollen and substances that are harmful to health, thereby ensuring optimum air quality in the building.

Picture credits: Schüco International KG Schüco VentoLife ventilation system: The multiple air filter technology effectively removes the smallest particulate matter and substances in the air that are harmful to health, thereby ensuring optimum air quality in the building.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG Schüco VentoLife ventilation system: The multiple air filter technology effectively removes the smallest particulate matter and substances in the air that are harmful to health, thereby ensuring optimum air quality in the building.

 

Multifunctional door management

The Schüco Door Control System (DCS) is a smart door management system which offers access control, door communication and emergency exit control. Individual module combinations are possible.

The range of modules includes a code keypad, fingerprint or RFID card reader, camera, microphone and loudspeaker, LED spotlight and house number display. The units are flush-fitted in the door profile in a timeless design, as is the DCS Touch Display, which is over 4 inches in size.

It combines door communication functions with access control functions in one single module and is as intuitive to use as a smartphone. A scrollable doorbell list, numerical code, intercom system with video camera and door opener, and a house number display provide a high standard of comfort, security and design.

Other highlights at the Schüco exhibition stand include intelligent sun shading control with the KNX weather centre, NSHEVS security solutions with Schüco TipTronic SimplySmart SHEVS and SHEVS control units – as well as the keyless access control system Schüco BlueCon.

Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Schüco Door Control System features a variety of access control and door communication options.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG The Schüco Door Control System features a variety of access control and door communication options.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG The DCS (Door Control System) Touch Display is installed flush in the door profile and combines all door communication and access control functions.
Picture credits: Schüco International KG The DCS (Door Control System) Touch Display is installed flush in the door profile and combines all door communication and access control functions.

 

For more information, visit
www.schueco.com/building-skin-control
www.schueco.com/ventilation
www.schueco.com/dcs

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Glas Trösch glazing for spectacular views at the Buergenstock Hotel.

The Buergenstock Resort stands proudly above Lake Lucerne in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden, its unique views once making it a popular retreat for such well-known figures as Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Konrad Adenauer.

The complex has now been given a full makeover – creating a new luxury resort consisting of several hotels, “residence suites”, and a large spa area.

At its centre is the new Buergenstock Hotel, a five-star superior establishment. Due to the hotel’s exposed location and the prevailing temperature fluctuations, its glazing needed to provide increased protection from both heat and cold.

The product chosen was triple insulating glass with SILVERSTAR COMBI and low-e coatings from Glas Troesch, which ensure reliable protection in summer and winter. It means that the views can resultantly be enjoyed to the full without sacrificing any indoor comfort.

The distinct L-shaped structure rests on a glazed base, lending the building a palpable sense of lightness. Thanks to a bright façade made of shell limestone, the architecture projects a welcoming atmosphere and looks stunning from a distance, while the reflective glass surfaces further emphasise the hotel’s handsome aesthetics.

The hotel features 102 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, a restaurant, a ballroom, and a bar with views of Lake Lucerne. The glazed entrance area that houses the lobby, bar, and lounge is an ideal place for hosting private and public events – an opportunity for dancing and partying in a spectacular setting.

The clean style and colour scheme, together with the modern glass features, lend the building an elegant exterior and make it easily visible from afar. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)
The clean style and colour scheme, together with the modern glass features, lend the building an elegant exterior and make it easily visible from afar. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)

 

Heat and cold under control

While the piazza in front of the hotel forms a welcoming entrance area, a large terrace offers views out over the picturesque countryside. The southern end of the terrace forms an architectural unit with the L-shaped structure and features rows of stores with glazing on both sides and a glass-covered area.

The glass front, designed as a mullion-transom façade, grants both hotel guests and passers-by (the terrace is open to the general public) unhindered views of the unique panorama.

Protecting it from excessive heat and cold is triple insulating glass with SILVERSTAR COMBI Neutral 51/26 in position two and the SILVERSTAR ZERO Eplus low-e coating in position five: with a total energy transmittance of just 24 percent, solar radiation is effectively reflected and the interior spaces, which are almost fully glazed, are protected from heat.

To ensure the good indoor climate is maintained in both the summer and the winter, the triple insulating glass provides protection not only from overheating but, thanks to an extremely low Ug-value of 0.6 W/m2 K also keeps snow and ice out on cold days.

The Buergstock railway station was integrated within the building. This gives guests direct access to the hotel. (© copyright Leonardo Finotti)
The Buergstock railway station was integrated within the building. This gives guests direct access to the hotel. (© copyright Leonardo Finotti)

 

A spectacular view

Guests can bask in luxury at the Buergenstock Hotel: every room has views of the lake, and some feature glazed bay windows for an even more spacious panorama.

The two top floors are fitted with extra window areas – floor-to-ceiling glazing here guarantees an exclusive panorama from the suites. Insulating glass was used exclusively; thanks to SILVERSTAR COMBI Neutral 51/26 and SILVERSTAR ZERO Eplus coatings, it features highly effective solar and thermal protection and ensures a pleasant indoor climate.

The total energy transmittance here is 25 percent; the Ug-value is just 0.6 W/m2 K. To meet a wide range of requirements, the composition of the insulating glass was adjusted for use in different parts of the structure – as an example, the corner glazing was fitted with additional laminated safety glass to ensure fall protection in line with regulations.

Large windows with clear optics and frames doubling as seating ensure that the panorama is revealed to its best advantage. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)
Large windows with clear optics and frames doubling as seating ensure that the panorama is revealed to its best advantage. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)

 

An Energy efficient concept for the Healthy Living Waldhotel

Glas Troesch products do not only ensure an excellent indoor climate at the Buergenstock Hotel; they are also in use at the Waldhotel designed by Matteo Thun & Partners. The “Healthy Living Hotel” features 161 premium suites and espouses an ecologically minded and energy efficient concept.

Local building materials and roof planting help to create a building that harmoniously blends into the natural surroundings. The triple glazing used here, together with the SILVERSTAR ZERO Eplus premium low-e coating, helps to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

The views can even be enjoyed while taking a relaxing bubble bath. The near frameless windows help to make maximum use of the transparent area. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)
The views can even be enjoyed while taking a relaxing bubble bath. The near frameless windows help to make maximum use of the transparent area. (© copyright Buergenstock Hotels & Resort)

Glas Troesch glazing for spectacular views at the Buergenstock Hotel.

Signboard:

Project: Buergenstock Resort Hotel/Waldhotel-Healthy Living
Location: Obbuergen (CH)
Completion: 2017
Architect: Buergenstock Hotel: Ruessli Architekten, Lucerne (CH)/Waldhotel Healthy Living: Matteo Thun & Partners, Milan (IT)
Metal construction company: Ruch Metallbau AG, Altdorf (CH)/ Josef Meyer Stahl und Metall AG, Emmen (CH)
Insulating glass manufacturer: Glas Troesch Buetzberg/Glas Troesch Oberkulm (CH)
Products: SILVERSTAR COMBI Neutral 51/26; SILVERSTAR ZERO Eplus
Coating: Glas Troesch Burnhaupt (F)

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SCHOTT is introducing a new, innovative portfolio of structured glass substrates that offers highly accurate and versatile features: FLEXINITY™.

Structured thin or ultra-thin glass wafers are used as a substrate for sensors, batteries, and diagnostic technology. The breakthrough will enable new applications and further miniaturization of electronics through thinner glass wafers and structures that are more precise. The technology offers the lowest structuring radius of just 150 micrometers (μm) and a feature size tolerance lower than ± 25 μm.

International technology group SCHOTT has developed a unique process that enables freedom of design and high precision in structured glass wafers. SCHOTT will highlight its new FLEXINITY™ portfolio of structured glass solutions at booth 1207 at Photonics West in San Francisco from January 27 to February 1.

“Component manufacturers have been on the hunt for more precise, lighter, and thinner structured glass wafers, but mechanical structuring methods have reached their limits,” said Matthias Jotz, Product Manager at SCHOTT Advanced Optics. “New applications that have been waiting for smaller components are finally possible.”

SCHOTT’s new FLEXINITY™ structuring portfolio offers complete freedom of design on glass wafers and thin glass. With FLEXINITY™, any shape is possible. Credit: SCHOTT
SCHOTT’s new FLEXINITY™ structuring portfolio offers complete freedom of design on glass wafers and thin glass. With FLEXINITY™, any shape is possible. Credit: SCHOTT

 

Meeting tomorrow’s demands – today

An increasing trend toward miniaturization in IC packaging, biochips, sensors, micro-batteries, and diagnostic technology has pushed demand for high-precision structured glass wafers, even as technology to create them has reached its limits. This has made it difficult to shrink wafers any further, and limited the pace of innovation.

SCHOTT’s new FLEXINITY™ structuring portfolio offers complete freedom of design on glass wafers and thin glass. With FLEXINITY™, any shape is possible, and the process allows extremely tight tolerances and structures.

Structured wafers are available made of glass types from SCHOTT’s unique down-draw glass portfolio, or plano-plano-processed BOROFLOAT 33® borosilicate glass.

 

Various glass types and thicknesses: freedom of choice

SCHOTT’s structured glass wafers are available in 4-inch to 12-inch wafers, in thinness ranging from 0.1 to 3.0 mm. The smallest structuring radius is set to 150 μm and the feature size tolerance is lower than ± 25 μm.

Customers can choose from several different glass types, such as borosilicate glass (MEMpax®, D 263® family, BOROFLOAT 33®) and alkali-free glass (AF 32® eco).

The breakthrough technology gives manufacturers in different industries the ability to meet the challenging demands of the future, starting today.

SCHOTT has already created sampling capabilities; mass production will be ready 2019.

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Solar panels have come a long way from their big and bulky designs, but many people still don’t like the way they look on their roofs or façades.

While it is possible to hide solar cells in glass or roof tiles, Studio Solarix, founded by architect Marloes van Heteren and artist Reinier Bosch, decided that solar panels needed a design overhaul. They developed an energy generating design solar panels, which is customisable in colour and texture!

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

The Solarix panel was inspired by photosynthesis in nature, in which the skin of plants is the main energy source. By covering the façade of a building with the panels, you both create a nice looking façade, as well as a green and local energy source for the building.

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

The panels are made from a Cradle-2-Cradle composite with an integrated glass panel with solar cells. The panel is completely customisable in colour and texture, but also in size, giving architects much more design freedom.

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

The panels are generate about as much energy as conventional solar cells. They are installed slightly angled to make them more efficient. It also gives the façade a somewhat playful look.

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

To give the solar panels an extra dimension, LED strips can be integrated into them. The LEDs turn the generated energy into light, so that the façade can communicate with its surroundings.

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

Generate solar energy with design solar panels on your façade!

Photos: Marielle van Uitert

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Give your projects the tint of luxury, and a hint of royalty with AIS Sunshield Royal Gold, the exciting new shade from India’s leading heat reflective soft-coat glass.

ais_sunshield_banner_internalFeatures and Benefits:

  • Advanced solar control technology for reduced glare, protection from UV radiation and effective cooling comfort
  • Improved energy efficiency of homes and commercial spaces
  • Ideal for a wide range of architectural and aesthetic applications
  • Available in 3.5mm, 4mm & 5mm thickness, and a wide number of sizes
Parameters Single Glazed
3.5 mm
Single Glazed
4 mm
Single Glazed
5 mm
Solar Factor 50 52 52
Shading Coefficient 57 60 60
Visible light Transmittance 43 41 40
Visible light Reflectance
External 24 24 23
Internal 27 27 26
U Value W/m²K 5.8 5.8 5.8

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Lots of room for over 600 birds in a safe evironment.

600 chirping animals from around 100 different bird species have a whole lot of space – almost 2,700 m2 – in the new and most modern aviary in Europe at Berlin Zoo.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

In three large, bright free-flight halls, the birds can move through the air in a way that is appropriate to their respective species.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

The large glass facade is not a problem for birds of different sizes and plumage: Thanks to Isolar Ornilux bird protection glass from Arnold Glas, they recognise the glass panes as an impenetrable obstacle. The reason is a special coating that most birds will see clearly but that is almost invisible to the human eye.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

Every year, three million adults and children visit Berlin Zoo, and for many of them, the 5,000 m2 aviary is a special attraction. The treetop walk that has been integrated into the new building holds a special fascination for animal watchers of any age.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

It allows visitors to watch the birds flying around from a height of five metres. The free-flight halls present the natural environments of the continents Africa, Australia and South-East Asia, so that the bird species can live in an environment that is adapted to their needs. The enclosure provides the birds with much more freedom of movement than conventional aviaries.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

 

COATING ALLOWS BIRDS TO RECOGNISE GLASS FACADE AS AN OBSTACLE

The Isolar Ornilux mikado bird protection glass, which was installed in the aviary on an area of no less than 350 m2, ensures the safety of the birds.

The special glazing has specific coatings that make the glass panes visible to the birds. The coating is almost invisible to the human eye. The unobtrusive coating makes UV light visible and is based on the scientific knowledge that most birds, unlike humans, are able to see UV light.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

Thanks to the expansive glass facade, the aviary is very bright with a lot of natural light. This is achieved in part by the light transmission value of the glass of 76 percent. The g-value of 60 percent prevents the area heating up in summer, while the Ug-value of 1.1 W/m2K keeps the heat inside the aviary in winter.

Aviary at Berlin Zoo - ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado by Arnold Glas

Product brochure ISOLAR ORNILUX® 

Data sheet ISOLAR ORNILUX® mikado 

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More and more glass building wall appear in our modern city, especially in busy areas. The more buildings, the more creative designs. Passersby are easily absorbed by those creative buildings. That’s why advertising has higher value in central area.

NEXNOVO transparent LED display wall mainly focus on glass building advertising and related solutions. It breaks limited application of traditional LED display. Transparent LED display could keep building’s original appearance and function, and at the same time, act as advertising display.

New application of NEXNOVO glass wall for South Tower in Japan

It occupies less space and leaves little effect on other structure or machine. It weighs 12-15kg/sqm and asks for little requirement for building load. Cabinet dimension could also be customized to fit exact window size, which brings your glass windows a better advertising display.

New application of NEXNOVO glass wall for South Tower in Japan

Transparent LED screen shines all over the building made of steel and concrete. With the development of technology, NEXNOVO products will provide more creative solutions for skyscrapers around us.

New application of NEXNOVO glass wall for South Tower in Japan

New application of NEXNOVO glass wall for South Tower in Japan

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The BR frameless system allows for fire-resistant doors to be installed as part of the partition.

POLFLAM® fire-resistant glass BR in class EI 30 and EI 60 is applied in the BR frameless system. Partitions made using that system can be as high as 4200 mm and the length of the partitions is unlimited after subsequent glass units are added.

The system allows for fire-resistant doors to be installed as part of the partition. The doors do not require any frames, either. The BR system partitions can be fixed to walls made of different materials: phermacell, hollow brick, checker brick, perforated brick or full brick, concrete or reinforced concrete.

A chain of Gardencity restaurants at Poznań International Fair. The glazed walls made of POLFLAM® BR glass on several floors have been covered with decorative finishining
A chain of Gardencity restaurants at Poznań International Fair. The glazed walls made of POLFLAM® BR glass on several floors have been covered with decorative finishining

They can be joined well with plaster-wall partitions. The BR system makes it possible to combine – within a single unit – transparent sheets with opaque ones made in RAL and NCS palette colours.

palette colours

Product charts:

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Solar has become the driving force behind the boom in renewable energies and solar capacities are growing rapidly. The trend now is to integrate solar cells into building facades and vehicles, mainly their glass surfaces.

Labs and startups are in a race to solve the final technical challenges. Their goal: the massive development of see-through photovoltaics.

Rapid expansion and record-low production costs, sometimes as low as USD$30 USD per megawatt hour in India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Chile: those are the conclusions for photovoltaic electricity in 2016 drawn up by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In this report, Renewables 2017the agency explained this success by the combined impact of public policies and lower costs for renewable energies (RE) in general and solar PV in particular.

Solar Power Driving Change

With connections about 165 GW worldwide, including Chinese solar electric trains, REs made up the bulk of the new energy capacity that came online in 2016.

When Solar Panels Become Transparent | SUNPARTNER Technologies

Photovoltaics lead the way: 74 GW of new capacity in 2016, nearly half of that in China. By 2022, the IEA expects that 920 GW of capacity will be added for renewables — an increase of 43%. This growth will be largely driven by photovoltaics, which are “entering a new era,” says the IEA.

When Solar Panels Become Transparent | SUNPARTNER Technologies

These trends coincide with other major developments. For example, since the majority of the Earth’s population is concentrated in cities, energy will have to be produced closer to the demand. In addition, new technologies such as self-consumption will accelerate the growth of distributed energy generation.

In addition, European directives stipulate that starting in 2020, all new building must be “almost net zero” energy. In France, to obtain the newest building certification, Energie + Carbone –, new construction must produce 40kWh/m2 at ground level of renewable energy for commercial and 20kwh for residential so that they achieve a high level of energy performance.

To meet these requirements, solar has considerable advantages over other kinds of renewable energy. For example, how could a methanizer be installed near a building? Or wind turbines on the roof? With the existing state of technology, these other options are not possible.

 

Untapped Potential

Another argument for solar: the PV potential of cities is largely under-exploited. With all the roofs, tiles, facades, and windows, the opportunities for harvesting solar energy are immense.

A team of American researchers has calculated this potential in an article in the journal Nature Energy. Two of the authors, Christopher Traverse and Richard Lunt, are researchers at Michigan State University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science while the others, Richa Pandey and Miles Barr, work for a US company, which Richart Lunt also co-founded.

They found that a solar facility covering 20% of the state of Nevada would provide all the electricity needed for the United States of America. Yet they also note that conventional PVs would only meet a small percentage of the planet’s energy needs, far behind what fossil fuels can provide today.

 

Building Integrated Photovoltaics

We have long known of the benefits of transforming surfaces to capture and store light energy. Recent advances have also enabled PVs to retain aesthetics without compromising basic functions. Researchers are now focusing on maximising the power generated and certain other technical challenges need to be overcome.

According to this research team, the solution is photovoltaics that are applied on, or better yet, integrated into, buildings: BAPVs and BIPVs.

The boom in BIPVs is indisputable: the market was $ 3 billion in 2015 and promises strong growth for the coming years. However, there is room for improvement in the energy generated by BIPVs, as their output cannot yet provide the planet’s total electricity needs.

 

Putting Windows and Facades to Work

These researchers believe that providing the energy needed to meet all demands would require a massive effort. To quantify this, they first calculated the surface area of all the roofs in the US that could produce solar energy: over 8 billion m2.

Of this total, only 16% meet the conditions for satisfactory generation, which would generate 1,400 TWh annually, or 40% of the USA’s electricity demand. However, this area could be doubled if the other spaces contributed, such as windows and facades. If these surfaces are added, the US will be energy neutral, at least on paper.

To do this, researchers believe that transparent photovoltaic technology is the key. Two types of solutions exist: i) non-selective solar, which absorbs the entire spectrum of light but have a transparency of 0 to 50%; and 2) selective PVs, which generate energy from part of the spectrum (ultraviolet and/or near-infrared) and let visible light pass, reaching transparency of 50 to 90%.

 

Labs and Startups Hard at Work

Whether in development or already available on the market, these solar solutions have to address certain challenges, such as wear resistance due to exposure to the elements (air, storms).

According to these researchers, when exposed electronic equipment has a lifespan of ten years, less than the buildings they are installed on. As these technical challenges are being solved, a world of possibilities has opened up for transparent photovoltaics: building surfaces, windows, electronic displays and vehicles.

These challenges have sparked the interest of laboratories and startups around the world. The Michigan State University researchers mentioned above are working on transparent solar windows and display screens, as well as devices for the Internet of Things, by transforming the energy of certain light wavelengths into electricity.

 

The Smart Solar Mobility Project

Sunpartner Technologies also has expertise in this field. In addition to its photovoltaic surfaces and smart glazing for buildings and IoT using Wysips® technology, Sunpartner has just started a solar project for the transportation sector.

The Smart Solar Mobility Project brings together companies working to provide flexible photovoltaics for the automotive, railway, aeronautical and shipping industries.

A German company also offers flexible organic films that integrate directly into existing buildings. The company has recently equipped the roof of a French school, enabling it to generate 15% of its electricity needs.

 

Solar Power and the Future of Humanity

Another team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Colorado (NREL) has developed a “reversible” window. Through a complex chemical reaction, this window switches from a transparent state, letting light into a building, to an opaque state to intercept photons and transform them into electrons.

In Tokyo, researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science have developed a window that filters out red and blue light, using it to generate electricity, while allowing green components of light, essential for human vision, to pass.

All these advances confirm the ideas of another researcher: Richard Perez, a well-known specialist on solar energy and professor at the State University of New York (Albany). According to him, solar can provide 100% of the planet’s energy needs. He proves his argument with a diagram showing the largely unexploited potential of solar power.

When Solar Panels Become Transparent | SUNPARTNER Technologies

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