This article will focus on the edge stability of PVB and ionoplast laminates and address the potential causes of blemishes.
 

Abstract

The use of laminated safety glass in outdoor applications continues to increase, and as a result, questions about edge stability often arise. This is especially true where exposed edges are required to eliminate any sightline obstructions.
Although the vast majority of laminated glass will never experience any edge blemishes, sometimes it does happen. This paper will focus on the edge stability of PVB and ionoplast laminates and address the potential causes of blemishes.
 

Introduction

The role of glass in building construction has drastically changed in recent years. Laminated glass is now being used for safety, security, structural, and decorative components of buildings. With the increased application of laminated glass, as well as the recent code changes for balustrades in North America, laminated glass is being specified more and more for exposed edge applications.
Although the vast majority of exposed edge laminates will never experience issues, sometimes blemishes around the edges may occur. When these do appear, they can compromise the visual appeal of laminated glass.
There are a few reasons edge blemishes may appear, including the lamination process, compatibility with other building components, and the choice of the right interlayer for the application. This paper will focus on edge stability and discuss the potential causes of edge blemishes in laminated glass.
 

Background

What is edge stability of laminated glass? Edge stability is defined as the ability for the edges of laminated glass to resist discoloration, bubbling, delamination, or other blemishes over time when exposed to environmental conditions.
In addition to natural and accelerated weather via different test methods or regulations such as ANSI Z97.1, or ISO 12543-4, similar tests may be initiated to investigate the performance of the laminates in regards to specific installation conditions, such as high temperature, salt (fog) spray, or compatibility to sealants, grouts, and glass coatings.
Laminates with ionoplast interlayer have repeatedly performed well in edge stability testing. While laminates with traditional PVB have also performed well, they are more likely to experience edge blemishes. Although it may be difficult to determine the exact cause of the blemish after the fact, the potential reasons may be classified into two areas, the lamination process and the application conditions.
Lamination Process and Edge Defects The lamination process brings together heat and pressure, or vacuum, to remove the air and melt the interlayer between the lites of glass. Throughout the process, there are a few variables that play an important role in the edge stability of a laminate. These variables are adhesion of the interlayer to the glass, the quality of the glass, and edge seal.
 

Adhesion

The adhesion of the interlayer to the glass plays a major role in the edge stability of the finished laminate. As the adhesion level lowers, the likelihood for belmishes increases. During the lamination process, there are many factors that may affect the adhesion level.
The first factor is the cleanliness of the glass. When the glass arrives at the laminator, it can have cutting oil, release agents, dust, and other impurities on the surface. The glass must first be cleaned before lamination may begin. Modern glass washing machines are equipped with rotating brushes that clean the glass exceptionally well with only water.
Since the cleanliness of the glass surface and the quality of the water affect the adhesion of the interlayer to the glass, only demineralized water is recommended. The water should have a conductivity less than 20µS. Water from natural or municipal sources contains dissolved salts that impart hardness to the water. These salts are typically composed of Ca++, Mg++, Na+, and K+ ions.
The former two negatively affects adhesion even in low concentrations, while the latter two have a lesser but still measureable effect. The loss of adhesion, especially at the edge, may lead to edge bubbles or delamination Moisture content of the interlayer is the second key factor for adhesion.
PVB is hygroscopic, and its adhesion to glass is inversely related to its moisture content. It is produced with an optimum moisture content around 0.4%, and then the roll is hermetically sealed in a foil bag to prevent moisture absorption.
Once the foil packaging is open though, the PVB will start to absorb moisture from the air until an equilibrium is reached. To prevent this, any open rolls of PVB should be stored in an environment with a relative humidity between 25-30%. It is also recommended to replace the foil packaging and seal it, especially if the storage conditions are not adequate.
For ionoplast interlayer, it too absorbs moisture, but at a much slower rate. Because its optimum moisture content is lower than PVB though, it is recommended to always reseal the foil packaging, unless it is stored in the clean room below 10% relative humidity. The effects of either interlayer absorbing moisture is a reduction in the adhesion and potentially bubbles.
The adhesion between the interlayer and the glass is governed heavily by the ability of the polar groups from the interlayer to bond with the polar groups of the glass surface. Figure 1 depicts how good adhesion is formed through the hydrogen bonds between the polyalcohol groups of the PVB interlayer and the silanol groups of the glass.
In contrast, figure 2 shows how moisture content and ions from the wash water can reduce the adhesion by blocking the hydrogen bonds. Reduced adhesion at the edges may result in water ingress, blushing, bubbles, and or delamination.

Figure 1 Example of good adhesion
Figure 1 Example of good adhesion
Figure 2 Example of poor adhesion caused by moisture and ions
Figure 2 Example of poor adhesion caused by moisture and ions

Quality of the Glass

Most of the glass used for lamination today is produced by the float process. Although standard float glass, also referred to as annealed glass, is of high quality and very flat, it not considered safety glass since it breaks into large, sharp, dangerous pieces.
The bending tensile strength of annealed glass is also relatively weak. To make it safer and stronger, the glass is subjected to a thermal strengthening process. The annealed glass is heated to approximately 600°C, and then cooled rapidly with jets of air.
The rate of cooling determines the degree of strengthening by locking the surface of the glass in a state of compression. The faster the cooling, the higher the compression, and the stronger and safer the glass becomes.
Fully tempered glass is cooled faster than heat-strengthened glass making it much stronger and giving it a smaller, safer break pattern. For lamination though, the potential issue with thermally strengthened glass is the inherent distortion imparted on it from the process. When the glass is heated that hot, it can start to deform and become wavy.

Figure 3 Typical distortions of heat treated glass
Figure 3 Typical distortions of heat treated glass

This distortion can result in an overall waviness, a general or local bow, or edge curl. Figure 3 depicts the typical distortions.
There has been a great improvement over the last few years with tempering furnaces, and some of the newer furnaces can produce exceptionally flat glass, but care must be taken to use the flattest glass possible for lamination.
Even the values specified in ASTM C1048 are not tight enough for lamination. A general rule is that the deviation of flatness should be below 10% of the interlayer thickness.
For a 0.76 mm interlayer, the maximum flatness deviation would be 0.076 mm. A deviation larger than this tolerance on the edge has the potential to develop bubbles or delaminate.
A laboratory study was initiated to determine the effect that edge curl has on the finished laminate. Two types of laminates were prepared using tempered glass with edge curl, see figure 4.

Figure 4 Orientation of edge curl in tested samples
Figure 4 Orientation of edge curl in tested samples

Orientation A matched the curls together so that they were nested, while orientation B placed the curls in opposite directions. The gap between the two lites of glass was measured and sample A had a gap of 0.05mm whereas sample B had a gap of 0.65mm.
The samples were then laminated using 0.76mm PVB and autoclaved together. After the autoclave, the samples were stored under high heat and humidity for several months at 85°C and 85% relative humidity. Samples with orientation A showed no visible blemishes, however, orientation B had numerous edge bubbles, see figure 5.

Figure 5 Edge bubbles after weathering of orientation B sample
Figure 5 Edge bubbles after weathering of orientation B sample

 

Edge Seal

The autoclaving process is the last step in the production of laminated glass. The conditions inside the autoclave allow for viscous flow of the interlayer resulting in an intimate contact with the glass. Any remaining air is dissolved and dispersed creating a clear laminate.
Once the laminates have been de-aired, they are placed on autoclave racks. There should be space between the laminates to allow channels for air flow to ensure even heating and cooling. The glass should be secured in position on the racks so there is very little movement during the autoclave cycle.
Excessive movement may lead to glass breakage. When securing the laminates, care must be taken to avoid excessive localized pressure. The localized pressure may lead to the interlayer extruding from the edges, creating a thinning of the interlayer at that point. This could lead to edge bubbles or delamination.
Once on the racks, the laminates should be placed as quickly as possible in the autoclave. Excessive delays could result in the edges beginning to separate, especially if the edge seal was not good. The autoclave is then heated to 135-145°C while pressurizing to 12-15 bars.

Figure 6 Edge bubbles present after autoclave
Figure 6 Edge bubbles present after autoclave

Once top heat and pressure is reached, it is held for at least 30 minutes, but the length of time is dependent on the glass thickness and load size. After the hold time is up, the glass is allowed to cool down while still under pressure.
The pressure should not be released until the interlayer/glass temperature is below 50°C, otherwise, small champagne or finger-like bubbles may start to appear, see figure 6.
Application Conditions and Edge Blemishes Besides the conditions of the laminating process, how and with what the laminate is installed with may potentially cause edge blemishes.
There are a variety of different ways to install laminated glass, while different, there are some basic precautions that should be followed for all installations. The first of which is contact with water.
Even with the best lamination conditions, laminated glass should not be allowed to sit in water for an extended period of time. For applications where the laminate has captured sides, weep holes or other ways for any accumulated water to drain should be included.
For exposed edge applications, drainage should be adequate enough as to not allow standing water to remain in contact with the laminate.

Figure 7 Delamination around point support fitting
Figure 7 Delamination around point support fitting

This is also true for point supported glass. If the point supports are not sealed properly, water can infiltrate the opening and may lead to delamination, as seen in figure 7.
In addition to water, any other chemical that may be in contact with the edge of the laminate should be tested for compatibility. This is especially relevant to sealants and grouts. Incompatibility of the sealant and grouts with the interlayer may result in edge bubbles, discoloration, or delamination.
There are a variety of sealants on market. While most are compatible with ionoplast laminates, PVB laminates may experience some minor edge blemishes. It is best to contact the sealant or interlayer manufacturer to determine compatibility.
As North America begins to move toward laminated glass for balustrades, and away from monolithic tempered glass, the topic of grouts has become increasingly popular. As discussed in the 2007 GPD paper “Outdoor glass baluster – new challenges,” cement-based grouts are not recommended for contact with laminated glass.
The last potential cause of edge blemishes is the environmental conditions where the laminate is installed and what interlayer is used. Is the laminate indoors, or outdoors? Is it in a dry environment, or a wet one? Is it close to an ocean? Is PVB used or ionoplast? Based upon these answers, different edge stability levels may be achieved.
For example, can ionomer laminates be installed in an open edge balustrade by the beach? To answer this question, salt spray testing was performed.
 

Salt Spray (Fog) Testing

Salt Spray (Fog) Test, is a standard corrosion test usually done on coated metal products in the architectural industry. However, it is starting to be requested for laminated glass railing applications in exposed edge conditions for coastal climates.
The testing is an accelerated weathering test based on ASTM B117 “Standard Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus.” The samples are exposed to 3,000 hours at 35°C while misted with a 5% NaCl water solution. The samples are removed and inspected at 500 hour increments and then returned to the chamber.
Four laminates were prepared with one being the control sample and three subjected to the weathering. The results were as predicted for the ionoplast laminates. After 3,000 hours, there were no visible edge defects noticed, figure 8.
Standard PVB however, began to experience a clouding of the edges around 1,000 hours, figure 9. In addition to standard PVB, our high adhesion grade PVB was also tested. As stated earlier, adhesion is a key factor in edge stability, and after 3,000 hours, the high adhesion PVB showed no signs of cloudiness or other edge defects, figure 10.

Figure 8 SentryGlas® ionomer after 3,000 hours in the salt spray test
Figure 8 SentryGlas® ionomer after 3,000 hours in the salt spray test
Figure 9 Standard PVB after 1,000 hours in the salt spray test
Figure 9 Standard PVB after 1,000 hours in the salt spray test
Figure 10 Trosifol BG R20 high adhesion PVB after 3,000 hours in the salt spray test
Figure 10 Trosifol BG R20 high adhesion PVB after 3,000 hours in the salt spray test

 

Conclusion

The use of laminated glass for exposed edge applications is increasing, and as such, so are the questions about edge stability. While the majority of laminates will never experience edge blemishes, it can sometimes happen.
Edge blemishes can be attributed to the lamination process, compatibility of materials, and choosing the right interlayer. When properly laminated and installed, the potential for edge blemishes decreases, leaving a clearer view.
 

References

[1] Kuraray Trosifol: Technical Manual, The Processing of PVB Film, Sixth edition, Kuraray Europe GmbH, 2012
[2] Keller, U. & Mortelmans, H.: Adhesion in Laminated Safety Glass – What mankes it work?, Conference Proceedings, Glass Performance Days, pp. 353-356, 1999.
[3] Kuraray Glass Laminating Solutions: SentryGlas® Ionoplast Interlayer Technical Manual For Structural Engineers, Kuraray, 2014
[4] Schmidt, M. & Nugent, W.: Outdoor Glass Baluster – New Challenges, Conference Proceedings, Glass Performance Days, pp. 206-209, 2007.
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  • Vaughn Schauss, Kuraray America Inc. | Stefan Hiss, Kuraray Europe GmbH
  • | First presented at GPD 2017 – go to www.gpd.fi for more info and 2019 plans
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Glass is one of the most popular and versatile building materials used today, due in part to its constantly improving solar and thermal performance. One way this performance is achieved is through the use of passive and solar control low-e coatings. So, what is low-e glass? In this section, we provide you with an in-depth overview of coatings.

In order to understand coatings, it’s important to understand the solar energy spectrum or energy from the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) light, visible light and infrared (IR) light all occupy different parts of the solar spectrum – the differences between the three are determined by their wavelengths.

SpectrumCurve_Sketch REVISE_4

  • Ultraviolet light, which is what causes interior materials such as fabrics and wall coverings to fade, has wavelengths of 310-380 nanometers when reporting glass performance.
  • Visible light occupies the part of the spectrum between wavelengths from about 380-780 nanometers.
  • Infrared light (or heat energy) is transmitted as heat into a building, and begins at wavelengths of 780 nanometers. Solar infrared is commonly referred to as short-wave infrared energy, while heat radiating off of warm objects has higher wavelengths than the sun and referred to as long-wave infrared.

Low-E coatings have been developed to minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted.

When heat or light energy is absorbed by glass, it is either shifted away by moving air or re-radiated by the glass surface. The ability of a material to radiate energy is known as emissivity. In general, highly reflective materials have a low emissivity and dull darker colored materials have a high emissivity. All materials, including windows, radiate heat in the form of long-wave, infrared energy depending on the emissivity and temperature of their surfaces. Radiant energy is one of the important ways heat transfer occurs with windows. Reducing the emissivity of one or more of the window glass surfaces improves a window’s insulating properties. For example, uncoated glass has an emissivity of .84, while Vitro Architectural Glass’ (formerly PPG glass) solar control Solarban® 70XL glass has an emissivity of .02.

This is where low emissivity (or low-e glass) coatings come into play. Low-E glass has a microscopically thin, transparent coating—it is much thinner than a human hair—that reflects long-wave infrared energy (or heat). Some low-e’s also reflect significant amounts of short-wave solar infrared energy. When the interior heat energy tries to escape to the colder outside during the winter, the low-e coating reflects the heat back to the inside, reducing the radiant heat loss through the glass. The reverse happens during the summer. To use a simple analogy, low-e glass works the same way as a thermos. A thermos has a silver lining, which reflects the temperature of the drink it contains. The temperature is maintained because of the constant reflection that occurs, as well as the insulating benefits that the air space provides between the inner and outer shells of the thermos, similar to an insulating glass unit. Since low-e glass is comprised of extremely thin layers of silver or other low emissivity materials, the same theory applies. The silver low-e coating reflects the interior temperatures back inside, keeping the room warm or cold.

Low-e Coating Types & Manufacturing Processes

PYROLYTIC PROCESS WEB

There are actually two different types of low-e coatings: passive low-e coatings and solar control low-e coatings. Passive low-e coatings are designed to maximize solar heat gain into a home or building to create the effect of “passive” heating and reducing reliance on artificial heating. Solar control low-e coatings are designed to limit the amount of solar heat that passes into a home or building for the purpose of keeping buildings cooler and reducing energy consumption related to air conditioning.

Both types of low-e glass, passive and solar control, are produced by two primary production methods – pyrolytic, or “hard coat”, and Magnetron Sputter Vacuum Deposition (MSVD), or “soft coat”. In the pyrolytic process, which became common in the early 1970’s, the coating is applied to the glass ribbon while it is being produced on the float line. The coating then “fuses” to the hot glass surface, creating a strong bond that is very durable for glass processing during fabrication. Finally, the glass is cut into stock sheets of various sizes for shipment to fabricators. In the MSVD process, introduced in the 1980’s and continually refined in recent decades, the coating is applied off-line to pre-cut glass in a vacuum chambers at room temperature.

MSVD PROCESS web

Because of the historic evolution of these coating technologies, passive low-e coatings are sometimes associated with the pyrolytic process and solar control low-e coatings with MSVD, however, this is no longer entirely accurate. In addition, performance varies widely from product to product and manufacturer to manufacturer (see table below), but performance data tables are readily available and several online tools can be used to compare all low-e coatings on the market.

Coating Location

In a standard double panel IG there are four potential surfaces to which coatings can be applied: the first (#1) surface faces outdoors, the second (#2) and third (#3) surfaces face each other inside the insulating glass unit and are separated by a peripheral spacer which creates an insulating air space, while the fourth (#4) surface faces directly indoors. Passive low-e coatings function best when on the third or fourth surface (furthest away from the sun), while solar control low-e coatings function best when on the lite closest to the sun, typically the second surface.

Low-e Coating Performance Measures

Low-e coatings are applied to the various surfaces of insulating glass units. Whether a low-e coating is considered passive or solar control, they offer improvements in performance values. The following are used to measure the effectiveness of glass with low-e coatings:

  • U-Value is the rating given to a window based on how much heat loss it allows.
  • Visible Light Transmittance is a measure of how much light passes through a window.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient is the fraction of incident solar radiation admitted through a window, both directly transmitted and absorbed & re-radiated inward. The lower a window’s solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.
  • Light to Solar Gain is the ratio between the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and its visible light transmittance (VLT) rating.

Here’s how the coatings measure up by minimizing the amount of ultra-violet and infrared light (energy) that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted.

measuring types of coatings

When thinking of window designs: size, tint and other aesthetic qualities come to mind. However, low-e coatings play an equally important role and significantly affect the overall performance of a window and the total heating, lighting, and cooling costs of a building.

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A sustainable office design has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” achievement. The question is no longer if business will incorporate sustainable design, but when.

Thanks to new legislation, heightened corporate social responsibility and increased productivity, “greening” existing infrastructure has become an immediate action item for many companies anticipating the future.

Smart businesses have already started planning for updates in energy-efficient heating, lighting, windows, ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing, to name just a few.

This kind of pro-active thinking builds not only an office that’s more sustainable, but also a company that is part of the long-term solution. Here are six smart ways to approach sustainable office design:

 

1. Smarter Windows

Switchable smart glass windows have become an essential component of modern design for their aesthetic, but also offer considerable ROI because they are energy efficient.

With a simple switch, switchable privacy glass can go from fully transparent to opaque in just a second without sacrificing the level of light. By being able to completely control the amount of light, glare and heat affecting the office, businesses will also be able to more effectively control their energy consumption, ultimately reducing costs.

 

2. Proper Insulation

For smart businesses, insulation is about more than retaining heat. Proper insulation also provides comfort to building employees, maximising productivity by maintaining a uniform temperature. One area that is often overlooked by building owners and managers is within the office itself.

When insulated properly, internal partition walls can help manage heat loss or gain, thereby reducing the overall workload of central heating or cooling systems and conserving a significant amount of energy. There are many options for insulation materials, from wood fibre to cellulose and polystyrene.

 

3. Strategic Recycling

Environmentally friendly offices contribute not only to global sustainability, but also to the well-being of their occupants within. Incorporating recycled materials into an office design or re-design is both responsible and cost-effective.

Green materials like recycled resin and plastic, recycled plantation timbers, cork, natural fabrics and PVC-free products can be used in creative ways for furniture, flooring and more.

By minimising toxins in the air and maximising recyclability, these elements are gentler on the environment and carry a greater potential for re-use down the road.

 

4. Responsible Roofs

Sustainable office design extends to what’s happening outside the building as much as inside. One trend in environmental innovation is reimagining the traditional roof with “living” architecture.

Lining the roof with plants and other vegetation, quite literally making the roof green, is a clever way to absorb solar heat and minimise excess storm water runoff.

Another emerging trend is an all-glass roof built with switchable glass technology, which uses solar heat in a different way, by controlling light levels through a specialised electric glass.

Beyond looking aesthetically pleasing, these one-of-a-kind design ideas actively contribute to the bottom line of a building’s energy consumption.

 

5. Greener Lighting

Lighting, while always overhead, is often overlooked in terms of finding ways to be more sustainable. However, a total of 15 to 30 percent of energy costs are tied to lighting, making it a superior target for maximising efficiency. Best of all, sometimes a minimum investment can yield big results.

For example, switching over to LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs is an instant energy-saver because they consume just 10% of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last as much as 40 times longer.

In terms of what’s next, look to carbon-based OLED (organic light-emitting diode) bulbs for even more energy savings. And of course, switching off light bulbs altogether in favour of natural lighting is always cost-effective.

 

6. Water Conservation

Water is a major source of energy use for any building, and pointedly, can also be a drain on financial resources. Installing low-flow faucets, toilets and urinals are simple ways to save water.

A little higher on the engineering scale, finding ways to reuse storm water and other recycled water helps to feed an existing water supply and create new irrigation sources. Overall, exploring new systems for managing the flow of water, which are always evolving, is always a good investment.

Sustainable office design is not some futuristic ideal. It’s here right now. From energy-friendly light bulbs and creative recycling to switchable privacy glass, these innovative solutions can be incorporated by businesses to have a greener footprint today.

And in turn, greener offices keep more green in the bank, because as every business knows, there are so many other places to invest a pound.

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In home construction and in other building projects, the benefits of using laminated glass are endless; however it’s common to only hear about the safety advantages. Many people use laminated glass for various other reasons, which are worth looking into:

LESS SOUNDIn home construction and in other building projects, the benefits of using laminated glass are endless; however it’s common to only hear about the safety advantages.

Laminated glass greatly reduces sound going in or out of your house, so if sound is a concern of yours, rest assured. The sound reduction is due to the viscoelastic properties of the interlayer material. So if you live in a neighborhood with plenty of distracting traffic, laminated glass windows can really help. If your house produces a lot of noise from your child’s instrument practicing, you’ll want to keep the noise in so you don’t disturb your neighbors.

UV PROTECTION

As you probably have experienced, ultra-violet light from the sun can cause fading on some of your favorite things and when you use non-laminated glass windows, the UV rays shine right through. To avoid having your curtains, carpets and furniture faded, you can get laminated glass windows installed. Laminated glass contains a special film that blocks most of the UV light from coming in.

Are you interested in implementing laminated glass into your home or business? Whether you are looking to make your building extra secure or you just need glass that’s a bit tougher than average, we can help! Contact Bent Glass Design, Inc. today! We take pride in the quality of our glass and we assure you that our curved glass is more than just visually appealing.

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Structural glass can be used as a fantastic alternative to a traditional façade system.

When you are looking to create entire walls of glass as part of a design there are various options at your disposal. In most cases when designing a wall of glass you want the glass to be the prominent feature of the façade. This means minimising the framing and using the largest glass panes feasible.

There are so many façade systems available on the market and each varies greatly in terms of frame size, material and design. Structural glass can be used as a fantastic alternative to a traditional façade system. Using high specification glass with bespoke fixing details you can create entire elevations of glass with no visible frame or fixing.

Further Reading: What is Structural Glass?

But when it comes to specifying your glass elevation what is going to be the best solution for you and your project design? Here we explore the most identifiable differences between a structural glass façade and a glass elevation made with a slim framed façade system:

 

Framing

For the most minimal façade system you would be looking at using an aluminium frame. The most minimal façade system has framing sightlines of 35mm on the face.

Of course with a façade system you will also have to consider the size of the ‘box’ behind the glass which gives it its strength. These box sections vary in depth depending on the height of the elevation and the wind load of the project.

As an example the slim façade system from IQ has a frame of only 35mm however the transom depth depends on the weight of the glass unit. For glass units of 250kg or less the transoms is 70-155mm deep. Heavy Duty Transoms are used for glass units of up to 400kg and are 130-155mm deep.

35mm aluminium facade system from IQ
35mm aluminium facade system from IQ

In contrast, the key design element of structural glass is that there is no frame. The glass units are fixed to the building structure using channels or angles that are designed to be hidden away, no matter what your project design is.

Take this multi-storey structural glass façade to an office renovation in Folkstone. Here structural glass was used to create the frameless glass façade to the street face. The glass was detailed and designed so that no fixings were visible at all. Instead, each glass unit across all floors seamlessly merge together creating a smooth all glass elevation.

Structural Glass facade by IQ Glass on Tontine Street
Structural Glass facade by IQ Glass on Tontine Street

 

Glass Sizes

The maximum glass size you can achieve with a façade system will be determined by the weight of the glass. This means that if triple glazing is used or thicker laminated glass units need to be integrated the maximum size of the glass you can use will be reduced.

It is typical for a façade system to offer a maximum glass weight of up to 250kg as standard. This can increase to 400kg using deeper or ‘heavy duty’ transoms.

Using a typical glass specification of a double glazed unit with 6mm toughened glass you could get a maximum size of 8m2 for a standard transom depth or 12m2 for a deeper transom up to 155mm.

Slim framed aluminium facade
Slim framed aluminium facade

Structural glass is not governed by any of these maximum glass size or weight restrictions. On most projects the only restriction on glass size will be access to the site and how much you want to spend on the glazing.

In the UK the biggest glass panes that are made are 6m x 3.2m. This is a ‘Jumbo Sheet’. You can use panes of glass this big as part of your glass façade design for a really impressive finish.

This structural glass façade in London used panes of frameless structural glass of nearly 6m tall to create the glass wall to the double height lobby. The glass wall didn’t have to be dissected with any horizontal framing or mullions and the result is a clear and clean glazed elevation.

6m tall structural glass facade to an office building in London
6m tall structural glass facade to an office building in London

If you want to use glass units bigger than 6m x 3.2m to create your glass façade you can, you simply have to source the glass from overseas. This will obviously add cost and may increase the lead time of the glass but can be a great way to create high impact glass elevations.

 

Glass Specification

A façade system will have a set maximum and minimum thickness for your glass units. This range is normally quite broad so will allow for most typical glass finishes or types that you may want.

Flat coatings like low-e coatingssolar control coatings and tinted glasses are all possible. You could even integrate something a little more technical like Heated GlassPrivacy Glass or Electro Chromic Glass for a fully responsive glass façade design.

Decorative finishes can be achieved by using a printed or coloured interlayer or you apply a screen printed pattern on the surface of the glass to create a manifestation or logo.

Laminated glasses will increase the weight of the glass unit which could reduce the size of the glass units you can use within your elevation so keep an eye on that.

Anti-reflective glass to an aluminium glass facade
Anti-reflective glass to an aluminium glass facade

When looking at structural glass you have even greater freedom with your glass specification. As you do not have to create glass units to a certain weight restriction or depth you are free to include entirely bespoke glass units into the façade with little consequence to the design of the glass elevation details.

This means that you can use multiple laminated layers of glass, triple glazing, electrical glass and decorative glass all within one pane of glazing if you wanted. Most projects obviously wouldn’t do this but the freedom gained by removing the parameters of a façade system allows designers to be a lot more creative with their façade design.

Mirrored glass to structural facade in central London
Mirrored glass to structural facade in central London

 

Shaped or Unusual Designs

Structural glass has many design benefits but when it comes to bespoke or unusual glass façade designs it really outshines the alternative options.

As there are no framing systems involved with the creation of a structural glass façade you can engineer a structural glass wall to any specification you need.

This could include simple alterations like angled facades or shaped units to more complex 3D structures, curves and specialist performance criteria.

Structural glass box extension to a listed cafe near the tower of London
Structural glass box extension to a listed cafe near the tower of London

Some façade systems will allow some variation on the design for a more bespoke finish and this may include the ability to create shaped or angled glass installations.

For instance, the Glass Façade with Concealed Vents from IQ allows you to create glass to glass corner connections with no frame at the meeting junction. However, it is much easier to create bespoke designs using a structural glass installation.

This may be of special importance in a listed building. Structural glass can be easily detailed and designed to be in keeping with all the requirements from English Heritage or the local authority.

Structural glass window at Blenheim Palace
Structural glass window at Blenheim Palace

Further Reading: How to Add a Glass Extension to a Listed Home

Want to Extend or Renovate a Historic or Listed Building?

Listed Buildings and Glazing

Glazing for Historic Buildings

Glass in Listed Buildings

 

Cost

As there is so much choice available for a structural glass installationthe costs can vary dramatically.

Obviously, if you are using very large glass units or glass that has to be sourced from overseas, specialist electrical glass finishes or many layers of glass the cost of the glass package will increase.

However, when looking at a structural glass facade you should normally look to budget for at least £1000 per m2.

The costs of a slim façade system will change depending on the system you choose. As an example the Slim Façade System from IQ starts at £750 per m2, whereas their Slim Façade with Concealed Vents starts at £850 per m2.

Structural Glass Facades vs Slim Façade Systems

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Anodizing is the most durable and long-lasting option for finishing architectural aluminum building products. An electrochemical process, anodizing produces a finish that resists the ravages of time and environment.

However, there are important things to note about color selection for anodized aluminum.

Linetec’s two-step electrolytic anodizing process , where the anodizing and coloring of the aluminum occur in two separate steps, involves:

  • first placing the aluminum in a solution of sulfuric acid and water, then charging it with electrical current to form aluminum oxide on the surface.
  • then after anodizing is complete, parts can be immersed in a bath containing an inorganic metal such as tin, cobalt or nickel, which is deposited in the anodic pores to achieve color.

How does aluminum become anodized?As a result, anodized finishes’ color choices range from clear to champagne to a variety of bronze tones to black.

Linetec also offers a copper anodize, which involves an additional color tank, using actual copper to color the aluminum while isolating the copper in the coating. This process makes the copper color very stable and consistent.

Anodic oxide is not affected by ultraviolet light and is resistant to scratches, which help ensure color stability.

Due to the chemical process used to create an anodized finish, the possibility of color variation can be a concern during its application.

Here are some factors to keep in mind to minimize the variation from your desired color:

  • Single source it. While the aluminum is anodized during the process, other metals (silicon, zinc, magnesium, etc.) present in the aluminum alloy can respond differently, resulting in unwanted variation of color. Reduce this risk by having all metal used for a project come from a single source/extruder, and from one lot of material. Also, avoid using aluminum with different alloys, as it will not yield uniform results.
  • Request a range sample. Because it is impossible to know the effect non-aluminum metals in the material will have on the final product’s color, be sure to ask your anodizer for a range sample before sending them your product for finishing. An anodize range sample is two anodize color chips for the same color, with one showing the lightest extreme of appearance to be expected on the finished parts and one showing the darkest. Be aware that the lighter the anodize finish, the more noticeable the range. Be sure to speak with any potential anodizer to see what range of variation they can guarantee. AAMA’s industry-leading standards specify that the range should not differ by more than 5 Delta E. A quality anodizer may be able to keep the range of a color even lower.
  • Bend then finish.  Anodic films are very hard, and as a result, most post-production bending causes a series of small cracks in the finish that give it a spider-web appearance. To avoid this, have as much bending and forming of the material completed before it is sent to receive its finish.
  • Weld with care.  If your metal has any welds on it, the anodization process can cause a halo effect of localized discoloration around them. Welding with the proper 5356 alloy welding wire and the lowest heat possible helps minimize this.

Select an aluminum finisher that utilizes automation in its anodize process to reduce inconsistencies. An automated system controls and monitors the process, including tank sequencing, chemical add, voltage, current, time and temperature, which ensures the most consistent anodize finish possible.

Learn more about anodizing by clicking here.

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The structurally glazed roof light has been completed using Wrightstyle’s SR60140-2 and SR60140-4 profiles for the rafters and purlins.

The former and future home of the Financial Times newspaper is being renovated to provide 270,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, complete with a walkable large-span glass roof designed and supplied by Wrightstyle.

Bracken House is a Grade II Listed office building, originally built between 1955 and 1958, and lies adjacent to the St Paul’s Cathedral Conservation Area of the City of London, and was home to the Financial Times until the mid-1980s.

The sensitive renovation will retain the building’s pink sandstone cladding, an allusion to the colour of the FT’s pages, as well as the astronomical clock over the main entrance, which features the face of Sir Winston Churchill, a personal friend of Bernard Bracken, a former chairman of the Financial Times.

Bracken House features walkable glass roof by Wrightstyle
Roger Wilde Group

The structurally glazed roof light has been completed using Wrightstyle’s SR60140-2 and SR60140-4 profiles for the rafters and purlins, and the company also supplied two full-size test pieces before the main project design was signed off.

The access-only roof glazing was comprehensively weather tested and underwent a TN67 test, in which weights are dropped onto the glass to ensure the safety of anyone walking on it. Wrightstyle supplied to Wilde Contracts Ltd, part of the Roger Wilde Group, specialists in glass flooring, who also carried out pre-contract testing.

Bracken House in progress
Roger Wilde Group

The roof light covers a main atrium area, to maximise light flow to the building’s central core, and replaces old 1970s concrete and glass pre-cast slabs.

In a twist of history, it’s been announced that the Financial Times will move back to Bracken House next year after almost 30 years since relocating to Southwark.

In 1987, Bracken House became the first post-war building in England to be given listed status.

“Wrightstyle systems are renowned for their robust integrity, and have been specified on other roof light projects, both here and overseas – for example on a recent major banking headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Denis Wright, Wrightstyle’s chairman.

“We were delighted to work with Roger Wilde on this project which once again underlines the specialist nature of the advanced glazing market, and how our systems are being specified internationally,” he said.

Main contractor for the Bracken House project is the McLaren Group.

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The Oaksmere Hotel recently underwent a renovation for which they requested the assistance of Roofglaze in the design, supply and installation of various bespoke glazing solutions.

Situated in the historic county of Suffolk, the Oaksmere Hotel is renowned for its picturesque views and exceptional service. The design focus of this project was heavily influenced by the aim of maintaining these outstanding qualities for the hotel.

The first rooflight solution provided by Roofglaze was a bespoke Ridgelight that further illuminates the main entrance of the Oaksmere, further enhancing the first impression of new guests. Roofglaze designed this Ridgelight to fit the required specifications given, which involved; a span of 2,500mm and a length of 12,000mm.

The glazing installed has a thickness of 32mm, which offers a centre-pane U-value of 1.0 W/m2K, ensuring that a comfortable environment is created for guests. This Ridgelight is set at a 25o angle to effectively full its purpose of harnessing the maximum amount of natural light into the building.

The Oaksmere Hotel, Suffolk (Pyramid in restaurant)
The Oaksmere Hotel, Suffolk (Pyramid in restaurant)

The second area for rejuvenation was the hotel’s restaurant, which is located towards the back of the hotel. For this, a second but smaller Ridgelight was implemented into the design.

The measurements of this are as follows; a span of 2,400mm and a length of 4,200mm, including an overall glazing thickness of 32mm. The glazing specifications for this Ridgelight are the same as the one at the hotel’s entrance. Further technical details for these rooflights can be found below.

The final instalment of the Oaksmere Hotel project is a Pyramid rooflight, positioned in the centre of the restaurant to gain the optimum benefit from the additional natural light here. The rooflight itself measures 4,200mm across all four sides, and it was also set at an angle of 25o to maximise the visual impact of this upgrade.

This project has essentially given the Oaksmere a much-improved level of natural light ingress into key areas of the hotel, helping to make each room feel larger and more welcoming. Guests are also now surrounded with natural scenic views, which only further adds to their stay.

 

Below are the full glazing specifications for this project: –

Ridgelight 1 (Main Entrance):

2500mm width – 12000mm length

Non-fragile

Glass thickness of 32mm, centre-pane U-value of 1.0 W/m2K, 64% light transmission

Wind load of 640 n/m2, snow load of 750 N/m2

Ridgelight 2 (Restaurant):

2400mm width – 4200mm length

Non-fragile

Glass thickness of 32mm, centre-pane U-value of 1.0 W/m2K, 64% light transmission

Wind load of 640 n/m2, snow load of 750 N/m2

Pyramid Rooflight (Restaurant):

4200mm each side

Non-fragile

Glass thickness of 32mm, centre-pane U-value of 1.0 W/m2K, 64% light transmission 

Wind load of 640 n/m2, snow load of 750 N/m2

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The Block’s Octagon project was one of the first public applications of Viridian’s LightBridge™ glazing back in 2015. Its clarity and environmental performance contributed to the success of this iconic project in Melbourne.

The Block and Viridian, through its new ultra-clear glazing LightBridge™, have partnered in a high profile usage of this innovative product.

High daylight transmission and solar control properties create new opportunities for architects and product specifiers to achieve high levels of natural illumination and comfort.

The Block’s Octagon project is the first public outing for a product designed to assist high levels of amenity of economic function.

Project: The Block 2015 – The Octagon South Yarra, Melbourne VIC
Architect: Julian Brenchley
Principal Glazing resource: Viridian LightBridge™ IGUs
Window frame supplier & installer: Viridian
Viridian technical support: Home Comfort
Principal glazing: Viridian LightBridge™ IGUs, Argon-filled, Clear
Text, images & Film: Peter & Jenny Hyatt

Identifying opportunity when others pass blithely by was the first achievement. Since then, there has been no holding back those behind one of Australian television’s great success stories.

The Block architect, Julian Brenchley of Sydney, speaks of his immediate intrigue and seduction by the quirky former motel on Melbourne’s Commercial Road in fashionable South Yarra. “I was fascinated,” recalls Brenchley, who has been a stalwart and driver of project selection since the program’s start in 2002.

The Octagon is also one of the first public applications of Viridian’s LightBridge™ glazing. Ultra-clear yet with a high UV defence, this unassuming glazing system promises to deliver diva-like results. Its clarity and stellar environmental performance contribute hugely to the Octagon’s new relevance.

Julian Brenchley spoke with Peter Hyatt about recycling a building of dubious design merit and turning it into a show-stopper. With double the usual number of facades—8 instead of 4—we could be forgiven for wondering if the Octagon represented double-trouble rather than sweet opportunity:

Vision: The Block conjures thoughts of a rectangular or square building and yet here we are in an octagonal building. It’s utterly different from anything else The Block has tackled.

theblock-octagon-2JB: It is. The Block is by definition a ‘block’ isn’t it, yet The Block is really an evolving entity. The various buildings we locate inform the show, because we’re so strongly focused on adaptive re-use. An octagonal building
presents its own opportunities and some very, very complex challenges. This one’s been an interesting journey. I hate the word ‘journey’, but that’s how it feels to take something of its time and bring it alive again.

This building is a mini-landmark in many ways, loathed and loved.

It’s a bastard of the ‘60s and ‘70s and a brutal architectural style. It was purpose-built as a hotel, so really the most efficient way to reduce corridor length in a hotel is to build it around a core. There were no long corridors in this hotel, just a fan of rooms around the central core.

Its eight-sided form was an unusual approach even for its time.

Yes, there are very few of the octagonal variety. Several circular buildings; there’s some notable ones in Sydney and they create their own challenges.

When you first sighted this building did you ask yourself, What have we got here?” or  Is this the real deal?” 

I nearly jumped out of my skin when the program’s executive producers Julian Cress and David Barbour gave us the opportunity to use this building. I was very, very keen to see the floor plan for a start and what opportunities existed. I’m lucky enough to consider many buildings way in advance of the show…

We get the fun part, to see if it can actually work and what are the problems? Do we turn this into whole floor plates, or do as staggered, split-level apartments? Really what we do is consider it as a cube made of Tetris elements over several floors, as a whole floor-plate.

You remain faithful to the original plan.

theblock-octagon-3That’s partly out of the practical aspect of getting this job done in the short time frame we have, although we’ve gone from seven hotel rooms per floor to whole, single-floor apartments. There’s a distinct lack of amenity in the old-style hotel room, compared to a luxury apartment we’ve created.

For instance, there are no wrap around balconies. There are no covered outdoor spaces. There’s none of these things you might expect to find. It’s very similar to the Shazam app on your phone. When you play Shazam the circle moves in and out as it’s playing the peaks and troughs of the song. If you imagine this

building as an octagon, it’s moving to suit the building function. We force the building out to the north to capture light and create covered outdoor space. Where elbow-room is needed in a kitchen or a living room, the building stretches and expands there. We retain the octagonal form by creating ‘wings’ or ‘quadrants’ of an octagon.

The octagon form highlights the interiors and remains true to the plan. It is difficult dealing with a building in the round, trying to translate that to an elevation. Architectural features on the outside to a large extent dictate what’s going on inside, but overlay that with an octagon and you’ve got all sorts of complexities.

How do you go with each season of The Block with such an ascending spiral of expectation?

I think that’s part of human nature in a way, to build on your past successes. We set out to find something bigger and better. We’ve been lucky enough to find the raw buildings pretty much in line with this sort of ascension of scale. It all began way back when the brief was to find a building that could be adapted to make it aspirational.

We’ve gone from bigger and better and it’s partly to do with the success of the show. From a building perspective I’ve been lucky enough to help create these great spaces in bigger and better raw shells along the way.

In many ways it’s a program about interior design, but it’s also a program about the potential of architecture to be re-born.

That structural, bigger eye and hand is definitely involved, even though some people might consider The Block merely superficial and all about wallpapers, furnishings, finishes and drapes.theblock-octagon-5

Of course the show is about the contestants and sponsors and all of the machinations of chucking people into the frying pan. I’ve always had an agenda to reveal to the greater public what is achievable in an architectural sense.

While my brief is to definitely make the building look good, because it has to sell, I take that brief very seriously. I also add to that brief in my own mind and the way I approach it is meant to be readily accessible by viewers.

The architecture and interior design aren’t disconnected. One needs to belong to the other in the way steel beams intersect, glazing is used and the lamp sits in the context of the room.

As each Block project unfolds we gradually see those relationships. It’s definitely a case of the knee-bone’s connected to the thighbone. It’s all part of the single whole.

Again, that’s part of the beauty of finishing these things and the great reveal. It goes a bit further with the idea of architecture that carries through this environmental and sustainable brief.

Which is really such a big and important part of The Block, isn’t it?

It’s the big story of The Block on a number of levels and the most basic one is that we’re constantly doing adaptive reuse of existing buildings. There’s some really good stories too with environmental and sustainable design, whether that’s adaptive reuse or products introduced on this show.

We’re achieving terrific energy ratings too—through the roof. It’s a big part of an unsung story. Four series of The Block ago we had one of Melbourne’s first 8-Star buildings. That was a bit of a coup for us, and at the time Matthew Guy the then Planning Minister launched the Open for Inspections.

We’re still achieving those kind of ratings and it’s become a standard for us and we’re lucky enough to continue that. We mightn’t always hit it, but we’re getting way above what’s needed. Once you’re beyond 8-stars and heading towards 10…!

Adaptive reuse gives you a huge advantage over building from scratch.theblock-octagon-6

Adaptive reuse is a massive component of the star-rating system. We have to try and hit the performance criteria hard with insulation, low VOC carpets and you name it, paints, light fittings, water usage, water recycling, water harvesting, anything to do with the air conditioning. We really follow through quite aggressively.

And yet you ensure designs that appear sharp rather than dowdy Green.

theblock-octagon-7I liken it to the cool guy walking down the street with the flares and the retro parka, a crazy beanie and out-there sunglasses. You think: “I want that look. That perks my interest”. That’s the opportunity presented with this building. We’ve really been able to have fun with this.

The outside of the building is a testament to that, because each segment of the octagon appears like a fresh new building. That results from this stretching of the building without losing the building form. Each component has a different appearance that corresponds to its orientation and use.

It stands out from so many modern apartments that all have this resemblance as if they’re from the same hand.

You can almost imagine James Bond’s Aston pulling up outside and him sitting on the balcony, surveying the skyline with a martini in hand.

I hope so.

Do you continue learning from each Block challenge? Or is it now more of a carousel of recurring problems?

Well there definitely is that carousel of recurring problems. That’s part of life. I’m a great advocate of the saying that you really never know everything. Every project in architecture presents its unique problems.

Then again I’m also a great advocate of the idea that there are no problems, only opportunities that haven’t been realized, or solved.

Really at the end of the day we do produce some good stuff. These answers are founded in real-life, often complex issues. They don’t ever disappear, so we just really have to stump up and learn from the past and apply that again and again with a new flavour, a new look.

Where do you see The Block heading? 

We’ve always said that the sky’s the limit. We really don’t know where it’s going next. The formula’s very popular but there are greater minds than mine that decide on where to take the show. I’m yet to be instructed.

As has been the case and I think it will continue to be the case, The Block evolves with the stock and opportunities presented and the imagination of the executive producers at Channel 9.

It’s interesting that many of the qualities of your work with sustainability operate in a very unobtrusive way. It’s not shouting Look how green I am”. It seems to go about it quietly.

That’s very important to my architecture. Whatever these achievements are they’re to stand the test of time so whether they’re trendy or not, that’s a matter of opinion. From my point of view these are meant to be understated and softly spoken rather than flashing ‘Green’ in neon lights.

Which a lot of Green buildings do. Quite a few win awards.theblock-octagon-8

They win awards which is admirable, but from my point of view just because a project has, say, recycled cladding and screams environmentally friendly, in five years time when that cladding has to be replaced because it’s rotten, that’s not Green, or environmentally friendly.

LightBridge™ is an exciting new Viridian product. What’s your view and understanding of it?

I view any of its products—and there are some amazing ones—as a constant evolution of glass technology. First came float glass and then we became excited about laminated safety and toughened glass. New glass firing techniques see various ceramics or carbons added to create glass that can do things we didn’t believe possible.

The benefits of heat retention and low solar gain glass are very obvious. LightBridge has thermal properties over and above what you’d expect. In my view it’s as good in a thermal performance sense as most walls.

It’s quite astounding if we dip into the double glazed scenario of LightBridge. It’s well beyond compliance of U-values and the shading coefficient of the building code of Australia and Section J.

So new frontiers are now possible for glass?

It’s definitely opening up opportunities. Glass products such as LightBridge™ are creating those openings for designers. That’s a real bonus.

The big point about all of that is architecture in a built environment is very conservative and traditional. It’s very exciting to be able to explore new products directly from the source. That’s a great opportunity for me.

One of the very appealing features of LightBridge™ for this project is the use of a clear glass that is a return in appearance to the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The ‘80s and ‘90s were very much about tinted glass. The clarity of LightBridge™ has an authenticity with that era, but offers remarkable performance characteristics by comparison with glazing of that era.

When people referred to high performance, environmentally rated, or sustainable glass, you’d think SuperGreen™, or one of those shades. You walk into buildings that now have SuperGreen™ and they’re performance glass, I understand that.

I find the green, blue and grey tougher to realize. Now we have the opportunity to use clear that offers exceptional, environmental performance. And we’re not changing the building color.

On the north side of this building—the punishing heat load facade in summer—you retain very deep, generous balconies to complement the strategy to help the bands of glazing deal with direct solar pressure.

Those definitely help, especially where the balcony doors open to create very lovely, liveable areas. I’ve said before that I pretty well detest balconies when they’re used as the primary open space because really there’s zero privacy. Balconies are a real conundrum for architects.

What kind of amenity are you offering—if there is no way for occupants to use and enjoy this space without privacy. At some point there’s a trade off between the concept of view, outlook from inside as well as being able to enjoy the space. ‘Private enjoyment’ I think is the right term and it’s how to find that right balance.

Have you found any answers or strategies to solve the problem?

We’ve been involved with several buildings with solid balustrades on lower levels. The higher up the building, as privacy becomes less of a concern, because of distance, you introduce glass balustrades.

On the lower levels we offset the solid balustrades with deeper balconies, so that the amenity is not reduced. It simply changes by virtue of where the balcony is located on the building. Internal courtyards have been a bit of a divider, but I believe it’s a really worthwhile building typology.

Not only for light, but ventilation?

Especially ventilation. Courtyards drag in a lot of light and internal courtyards create an opportunity for doughnut style planning opportunities, where you can have natural ventilation from a number of sources rather than just one. And it can be quieter with those internal doors open rather than onto the street.

The single floor-plate apartments also breathe better than the more common, partitioned variety.

Here we can slide doors open to the north and open a window on the south side which immediately generates a beautiful cross breeze. With their deep balconies and clear glazing it’s a natural wonder, rather than over reliance on air-conditioning.

Do you have a project highlight?

What I’m most happy about is the apartments themselves. It’s amazing to see what these contestants do in the time. The integration of some of the sponsors material, CSR and Viridian for instance, make quite a unique palette of materials that has enabled us to come up with this composition.

The project highlight is that each segment of the octagon maintains its integrity yet has a different appearance. It’s almost like eight buildings, but works together as a form. We had to really search and do a lot of R&D and 3D modelling to see if we weren’t creating eight problems from eight opportunities.

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Through experimenting with allegorical curved forms, architects have sought to discover seamless ways of softening a city’s edges. As a result, undulating surfaces are deeply apparent in every region’s architectural vocabulary. However, upon looking around — seriously, take a look outside — you may quickly notice that the smooth shapes of massive façades are rarely executed through an entirely unified or unbroken surface. They are partitioned into hundreds of composite parts. Otherwise, most materials would collapse.

Enter unusual designs clad in roof tiles. Cascading down from roofs to wall faces, tiles hone a unique approach to creating flexible and malleable surfaces; even in their most mundane applications, they work cooperatively to break up a large structure into small digestible bites. In doing so, architects have realized folds, bends and curvatures that may have otherwise gone unrealized. With unyielding slithering surfaces, two projects particularly stand out for their distinctive tiled roofs and façades: GilBartolomé Architects’ Casa Del Acantilado and Studio Libeskind’s Vanke Pavilion.

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Left: Casa Del Acantilado, image by Jesus Granada via GilBartolomé Architects; right: Vanke Pavilion, image by Hufton+Crow via ArchDaily

While most would not jump at the opportunity of purchasing a cliffside plot that rests at a 42-degree incline, most homes do not turn out as daring and cavernous as this one. Described by the architects as a “Gaudíesque contemporary cave,” Casa Del Acantilado features a curved double shell made from reinforced concrete, which defines and encloses the interior living spaces. Seven centimeters thick, the dramatic shell was moulded around a formwork of metal mesh and finished with gypsum plaster and handmade zinc tiles — a system that costs less than steel or timber roofing. Each scale-like zinc tile turns up slightly at one corner, naturally catching and bouncing the light.

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Sectional drawing of Casa Del Acantilado via designboom

Open to the sea, the main living area — a cantilevered ancillary terrace — is a stage or auditorium for up to 70 guests. The stunning entertaining space, which is separated from the outside with floor-to-ceiling movable glass panels, frames views of the Mediterranean and orients airflows. Deeply buried in its mountainous context, the interior benefits from a constant annual temperature of 19.5 degrees Celsius.

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Images by Jesus Granada via GilBartolomé Architects

Similar to Casa del Acantilado in its light-reflecting and sinuous exterior properties, Vanke Pavilion features a state-of-the-art cladding support system. Created by Daniel Libeskind — the king of metaphorical architecture — this evocative pavilion was clad in more than 4,000 blood-red tiles, which were designed in partnership with Italian ceramics manufacturer Casalgrande Padana. Simultaneously rhythmic and mathematical, the design features torquing curves that seamlessly transition visitors through stairways and other bending spaces.

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From inside to out, the brilliantly complex façade system is composed of structural steel ribs, thermal and acoustic insulation, recycled wood panels, waterproofing resin and custom self-cleaning ceramic tiles with additional air purification properties. In its finished state, the 3-D surface, which is coated in a metallic coloration, changes as light and viewpoints shift; the evocative skin was caught taking on deep crimsons, dazzling golds and even brilliant white tones. After the pavilion closed, the architects up-cycled all of the components and tiles used throughout.

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Façade details of the Vanke Pavilion

Not only do both projects use individual tiles to create a sense of collective movement, but both have been likened to the skin of a dragon. According to GilBartolomé Architects, Casa Del Acantilado’s “metallic roof produces a calculated aesthetic ambiguity between the natural and artificial,” rendering a structure that is almost uncanny. Vanke Pavilion produced a similar site where one could wrestle between that which appeared to be happenstance and measured, static and alive.

Fascinating in their applications, tiled roofs and façades provide a unique option for creating daring building skins that may even appear to organically live and breathe.

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Combining benefits such as superb aesthetics, improved privacy, and more privacy in both commercial and residential properties, switchable smart glass is a much sought-after technology that enhances a property’s design and functionality.

On a global scale, the use of switchable glass in homes and businesses increases by the day. But the slightly higher initial outlay required to invest in smart glass relative to other solutions such as blinds, curtains, and interior partitions deters some people from embracing the technology. The initial outlay required tells only part of the story however as is the case when assessing the inherent usefulness of any design technology. In the case of switchable smart glass, the list of long-term benefits that it provides to properties far outweighs the necessary investment to install it.

MAXIMIZE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

With the global emphasis shifting towards environmentally sustainable solutions over the last decade, it is important that commercial and residential properties begin to incorporate energy efficient design solutions. Switchable smart glass is one such solution which can help to maximise the energy efficiency of a property.

Maximizing the energy efficiency of a property leads to some important benefits, including:

Long-term savings

The ability to control how much light enters a property using electrically switchable smart glass windows caters for long-term savings on energy bills such as electricity, air conditioning, and heating.

At the flick of a switch, smart glass turns fully opaque, which reduces the amount of heat entering a building and thus negates the need to rely on air conditioning systems to keep it cool during hot days. Furthermore, electricity bills can be reduced by adjusting the smart glass to allow a satisfactory level of sunlight through, which decreases the dependency on light bulbs to illuminate built environments.

Environmental Protection

The importance of protecting the planet’s environment isn’t solely an altruistic concern; an increasing number of legislative requirements globally necessitates the introduction of energy efficient building solutions. The energy efficient qualities of switchable smart glass provide the protection that the environment needs while helping to ensure legislative compliance.

 Increased Property Value

Any investment in a property – commercially or otherwise – is made with the underlying desire to have that building’s value appreciate over time. After all, smart investments should expect to return profits.

The installation of switchable smart glass windows and glass partitions can significantly increase the market value of commercial and residential buildings, ensuring that parties that need to sell their properties can get a suitable return on investment. This increase in valuation can be attributed to a number of important traits of smart glass, including:

  • The energy efficient properties of switchable glass helps to improve a building’s value as prospective buyers increasingly flock towards eco-friendly homes and businesses.
  • The functionality provided by switchable glass is a unique feature that could persuade potential buyers to choose one property over another.
  • Electrically switchable smart glass improves the aesthetic appeal of the properties that use it, which can convince interested parties to increase their own valuation of that building.
  • Modern buildings incorporate spaciousness as an important aspect of the interior aesthetic. Smart glass partitions and windows make modern homes and businesses seem more capacious than if they used large bulky blinds, curtains, or concrete internal partition walls. The crux of this is an increase in the value of a property.

 SIMPLIFY MAINTENANCE

Adequate protective action against microbes is an important part of the maintenance of both businesses and households.  Surfaces need to be cleaned thoroughly with antimicrobial wipes to provide shields against pathogens that can cause illness. Furthermore, especially in commercial environments, maintenance costs quickly add up until they represent a substantial overhead.

Installing smart glass in a building means the occupants can take advantage of the antibacterial properties of switchable glass. The silver ions inside the glass react with bacteria on the surface and destroy each bacterium by incapacitating their metabolism and disrupting their ability to divide.

The end result is a marked reduction in maintenance costs compared to traditional surfaces that don’t use smart glass technology. The antibacterial properties also simplify the cleaning regimen, meaning it can be completed quicker and more efficiently.

The initial cost of smart glass pales in comparison to the long-term cost-effectiveness of its installation. By maximizing the energy efficiency of a building, increasing that building’s value and reducing maintenance costs, smart glass provides one of the most economically sound investments for the modern home or commercial property.

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A cable façade with point supported glass dramatically wraps much of the base of the tallest building in Oklahoma.

The stainless steel cables span vertically with most of the wall on a curved plan.

The incredibly transparent wall allows great visibility to either the outdoors or the interior treatments. Point supported glass bolts to cast spider fittings which clamp to the cables.

Devon Energy World HQ

A classic lightweight low rise single layer geodesic dome sits on the top of a cylindrical atrium comprised of structural steel and conventional glazing allowing views upwards of the adjacent high rise.

Devon Energy World HQ

The dome glass is comprised of edge clamped insulated panels and the dome structure utilizes the BK-System. A full perimeter gutter provides for adequate drainage and snow drift conditions.

Devon Energy World HQ

A series of dichroic glass art walls are supported on very nominal structure bringing a changing effect to the lobby areas under varying light conditions and viewing angles. Novum installed the scope which was created by Carpenter Associates.

Location: Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Size: 15,625 sq ft / 1,450 sq m

Systems Used: AES, BK, TC, PSG, ECG

Architect: Pickard Chilton

Devon Energy World HQ

Devon Energy World HQ

SOURCE.:

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A sustainable office design has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” achievement. The question is no longer if business will incorporate sustainable design, but when.

Thanks to new legislation, heightened corporate social responsibility and increased productivity, “greening” existing infrastructure has become an immediate action item for many companies anticipating the future.

Smart businesses have already started planning for updates in energy-efficient heating, lighting, windows, ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing, to name just a few.

This kind of pro-active thinking builds not only an office that’s more sustainable, but also a company that is part of the long-term solution. Here are six smart ways to approach sustainable office design:

 

1. Smarter Windows

Switchable smart glass windows have become an essential component of modern design for their aesthetic, but also offer considerable ROI because they are energy efficient.

With a simple switch, switchable privacy glass can go from fully transparent to opaque in just a second without sacrificing the level of light. By being able to completely control the amount of light, glare and heat affecting the office, businesses will also be able to more effectively control their energy consumption, ultimately reducing costs.

 

2. Proper Insulation

For smart businesses, insulation is about more than retaining heat. Proper insulation also provides comfort to building employees, maximising productivity by maintaining a uniform temperature. One area that is often overlooked by building owners and managers is within the office itself.

When insulated properly, internal partition walls can help manage heat loss or gain, thereby reducing the overall workload of central heating or cooling systems and conserving a significant amount of energy. There are many options for insulation materials, from wood fibre to cellulose and polystyrene.

 

3. Strategic Recycling

Environmentally friendly offices contribute not only to global sustainability, but also to the well-being of their occupants within. Incorporating recycled materials into an office design or re-design is both responsible and cost-effective.

Green materials like recycled resin and plastic, recycled plantation timbers, cork, natural fabrics and PVC-free products can be used in creative ways for furniture, flooring and more.

By minimising toxins in the air and maximising recyclability, these elements are gentler on the environment and carry a greater potential for re-use down the road.

 

4. Responsible Roofs

Sustainable office design extends to what’s happening outside the building as much as inside. One trend in environmental innovation is reimagining the traditional roof with “living” architecture.

Lining the roof with plants and other vegetation, quite literally making the roof green, is a clever way to absorb solar heat and minimise excess storm water runoff.

Another emerging trend is an all-glass roof built with switchable glass technology, which uses solar heat in a different way, by controlling light levels through a specialised electric glass.

Beyond looking aesthetically pleasing, these one-of-a-kind design ideas actively contribute to the bottom line of a building’s energy consumption.

 

5. Greener Lighting

Lighting, while always overhead, is often overlooked in terms of finding ways to be more sustainable. However, a total of 15 to 30 percent of energy costs are tied to lighting, making it a superior target for maximising efficiency. Best of all, sometimes a minimum investment can yield big results.

For example, switching over to LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs is an instant energy-saver because they consume just 10% of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last as much as 40 times longer.

In terms of what’s next, look to carbon-based OLED (organic light-emitting diode) bulbs for even more energy savings. And of course, switching off light bulbs altogether in favour of natural lighting is always cost-effective.

 

6. Water Conservation

Water is a major source of energy use for any building, and pointedly, can also be a drain on financial resources. Installing low-flow faucets, toilets and urinals are simple ways to save water.

A little higher on the engineering scale, finding ways to reuse storm water and other recycled water helps to feed an existing water supply and create new irrigation sources. Overall, exploring new systems for managing the flow of water, which are always evolving, is always a good investment.

Sustainable office design is not some futuristic ideal. It’s here right now. From energy-friendly light bulbs and creative recycling to switchable privacy glass, these innovative solutions can be incorporated by businesses to have a greener footprint today.

And in turn, greener offices keep more green in the bank, because as every business knows, there are so many other places to invest a pound.

SOURCE.:

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Beauty and beast

As the highest performance liquid-applied roofing membrane available, GE Enduris isn’t just a great looking coating – it performs even in the most challenging climates and sea-side location.

At about five years old, the existing roof coating was starting to fail. There were leaks as well as rusted areas – particularly on the panel edges. It was time for a refresh for all the roofs in the complex.

“We considered several solutions. “GE Enduris was the best value – price and performance. We trust the GE brand and the silicone performance promise,” says Ferens Badenszki, the Maintenance Manager for Villa Caletas, a large complex with 10,000 m2 of roof area.

High performance

GE EndurisTM is a simple solution that provides up to twenty year warranty. The application started with GE EndurisTM Seam Sealant to joints, gaps, and areas of where dissimilar materials meet. This ended the persistent leaks. Next, the GE Enduris coating was applied to the entire surface for long-term protection against the elements and ponding water.

Because all GE Enduris components are 100% silicone, there was no worry of failures from the intersection of dissimilar materials. “Now the customer has a seamless roof with little annual maintence needs,” says Jeffry Martinez, Project Supervisor at distributor MegaLineas. “Costa Rica is a challenging environment. It’s hot and humid, which can lead to metal rust with lower perfromance coatings. High temperatures, interrupted by frequent and unexpected rain, can cause huge roof temperature changes in just a few seconds. This is challenging for a metal roof – especially where panels overlap and at penetrations.”

GE2Energy savings

The owner immediately noticed lower temperatures in the rooms and common areas. Although not yet quantified, this can save energy costs in conditioned spaces and very significantly increase comfort in unconditioned spaces. In fact, the owner verified the lower temperatures on the roof as well by touching them at noon – they were still cool.

There are application benefits as well. “During the four-week project, we lost only two days to rain,” says Ferens Badenszki. He explains, “If it had been an acrylic coating, we would have lost weeks. It rains here every afternoon! A quicker and more predictable installation meant savings for us and less interruptions for our guests.”

“As you know, most acrylics cannot be applied if rain is expected within 24 hours,” says Ferens.

“From several options, we chose GE Enduris. It was the right combination of price and performance.”

Ferens Badenszki, Maintenance Manager

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Restore with confidence

The harsh Indian climate puts daily stress on buildings’ roofs due to high UV exposure, extreme heat, monsoons, and even hail. These conditions left the MANN+HUMMEL roof badly deteriorated and leaking after only five years, risking severe equipment damage and production loss. When the company decided to restore the roof surface, Procurement Director Radha Krishnan looked for a lasting solution that would do more than protect. He explained, “We didn’t want just another roof. We wanted something that would elevate overall roof and building performance. I only buy a product when I’m completely convinced, and GE Enduris was a total solution backed by a team that could answer all my inquiries.”

only buy a product when I’m completely convinced, and GE Enduris was a total solution backed by a team that could answer all my inquiries.”

Radha Krishnan — Procurement Director at MANN+HUMMEL

2Unmatched waterproofing and protection

Krishnan was impressed with the way GE Enduris* roof coating perfectly solved for the company’s performance needs. GE Enduris roof coating is unmatched for its UV stability and resistance to ponding water, and experiences no hardening or cracking due to age. Its 100% silicone makeup allows for expansion and contraction as temperatures rise and fall each day. And GE Enduris roof coating resists continuous exposure to particles, pollutants, and atmospheric conditions, while keeping its structural integrity for decades.

MANN+HUMMEL experienced other benefits of GE Enduris 100% silicone roof coating. In addition to being a non­combustible and vapor permeable membrane, it forms a single seamless layer across the entire surface—an important factor in renovations like this.

Compatible with virtually any substrate

As soon as GE Performance Coatings Approved Applicator Pride Projects got to work, the team was impressed by the robust and flexible GE Enduris system. Its ease of application allowed them to cover every part of the 7,800 square meter PVC memberane roof—including features such as parapet walls, drains, chimneys, vertical surfaces, metal finishing caps, and more.

The Pride Projects team appreciated how the system’s single primerless coating meant that just a few components could be scaled to meet any waterproofing challenge on nearly any material, with a seamless finish that liquid couldn’t penetrate. And because the coating was stable upon application, progress continued even as monsoon season was beginning and rain was imminent. “Waterproofing is our specialty. The system’s fast curing and compatibility with each roof material we encountered saved us hours of work, and required no extra preparation.

In the end, GE Enduris helped us to be even more efficient,” said Mohan Panwar, owner of Pride Projects.

SOURCE:.

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Solarban® 70XL glass was specified for 1 BNC Center for more than aesthetic reasons. With a visible light transmittance of 64 percent, Solarban® 70XL glass provides the sustainable attributes to help sustain “sky gardens” at opposite corners of the building.

 

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Solarban® 70XL glass does more than provide tenants of Charlotte’s 1 BNC Center with spectacular city views. The Vitro glass is also helping the city’s newest skyscraper nourish a vast collection of interior plants and trees that enhance the comfort and productivity of its occupants.

The centerpiece of a $540 million development, 1 BNC Center contains more than 700,000 square feet of office space in a soaring, see-through, 32-story tower. While the building’s transparency is striking, its most noteworthy highlight may be the lush forest of interior greenery.

Visitors are greeted by a landscaped six-story “Urban Garden” atrium with a water feature and an array of trees, shrubs and other vegetation.

In addition to the atrium, the architects developed a series of stacked “sky gardens” that occur at opposite corners of the building. Each sky garden is a three-story-tall, landscaped interaction hub flanked by formal and informal conference spaces.

Thomas Mozina, LEED AP, AIA, Perkins+Will, was the senior designer for the project. He said the sky gardens were designed to create an environment that increases business performance. Research studies showed that access to nature can have performance, psychological and physiological benefits to a building’s occupants.

“We built a business case that included enhanced opportunities for collaboration and communication, improved staff retention and recruitment, stress reduction, increased mental agility, increased motivation and productivity, and improved air quality and comfort.”

Although Solarban® 70XL glass was a relatively new product when it was specified for 1 BNC Center, Mozina said it was clearly the best choice for the project. “We needed glass with high visible light transmission for the vegetation as well as aesthetics,” he explained.

Energy and environmental performance were critical factors in the selection of Solarban® 70XL glass, according to Mozina. “Our practice focuses on sustainable design, which includes energy modeling of the building and choosing products that meet the thermal demands of the climate. Having the building perform at an optimal level and thriving years from now was key to the glass selection. We specified Solarban® 70XL [glass] because of its strong performance characteristics.”

Bob Trainor, CEO of glazing contractor Trainor Glass Co., echoed Mozina’s thoughts. “The decision to use Solarban® 70XL glass was driven by a commitment, not just to achieve LEED certification, but to create one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the Southeast. The glass is ideal for that region because it provides excellent results in both cold winter and hot summer conditions.”

The predominant use of Solarban® 70XL glass on 1 BCN a sustainable design and excellent results in all weather conditions for years to come.
The predominant use of Solarban® 70XL glass on 1 BCN a sustainable design and excellent results in all weather conditions for years to come.

Although it was introduced at the 2005 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, almost five years before 1 BNC Center finished construction, Solarban® 70XL glass continues to set the standard for environmental performance in the glass industry.

With visible light transmittance of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.27, the glass yields a light to solar gain (LSG) ratio of 2.37 that remains unmatched by competing commercial glass products.

Other sustainable attributes of 1 BNC Center include rain and groundwater collection systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, green roofs and indoor air that is enhanced by regular infusions of fresh air.

Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe offices and conference rooms in natural light and cubicles feature individual ventilation controls. There also are bike racks and changing spaces that encourage workers to pedal to work.

Now that 1 BNC Center is open for business, Mozina couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. “This project is a shining example of a ‘thoughtful approach’ to addressing the needs of a contemporary work force.

He is equally certain that his choice of Solarban® 70XL glass was the right one. “At the time we selected the glass, Solarban® 70XL [glass] was a very new product. Over the years, we have continued to specify the product for other projects as well.”

Brian Clark, senior executive vice president for glazing contractor Trainor Glass was equally satisfied with Solarban® 70XL glass.

“From our perspective, the job was a simple installation, yet the scope of the project (more than 300,000 square feet of glass) was immense,” he said. “What was unique was the vast amount of different interfaces, from glass to metal panels, to louvers, to stainless steel panels, to skylights systems. Those interfaces added to the complexity of the project.”

 

PROJECT CREDITS

Owner
1 BNC Center
Charlotte, NC

Architect/Designers
Perkins+Will
Charlotte, NC

Vitro Products
Solarban® 70XL glass

General Contractor
Balfour Beatty
Charlotte, NC

Glazing Fabricator
J.E. Berkowitz
Pedricktown, NJ

Glass Contractor
Trainor Glass Company
Charlotte, NC

SOURCE.:
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Advances in glass manufacturing processes mean there has never been more choice when it comes to the fire glass market.

A few years ago, it used to be the case that if you wanted a fire-resistant glass door, your options were very limited.

For a long time, wired glass was pretty much the only product on the market that could pass fire-rating tests. But the limitations of its relatively weak impact resistance meant it could only be used in either small panes or in areas where there is a low risk of breakage.

However, advances in glass manufacturing processes mean there has never been more choice when it comes to the fire glass market.

Of course, wired fire glass is still used in certain applications, but now we also have the options of using safety wired fire glass, specially tempered fire glass, ceramic fire glass and intumescent laminated fire glass.

 

Wired fire glass doors

Wired glass is still a common sight in institutions like schools, offices and factories. It is a cost-effective product and can be a useful product for certain applications.

However, wired fire glass does have a number of limitations. It offers integrity-only fire protection, meaning that while it will stop the spread of flames and smoke, it doesn’t insulate against heat radiation.

It also has the drawback that the wire within the glass actually weakens it, making it more prone to accidental breakage. The thin wire used in wired glass can also be relatively weak, and the potential injuries caused by the combination of broken glass and broken wire don’t bear thinking about.

For these reasons, wired fire glass cannot be used in locations where safety glass is required. When it comes to doors, this applies to any pane of glass bigger than 250mm wide with an area of 0.5m² that sits partly or fully below a threshold of 1500mm.

So when it comes to fire-rated glass doors, wired glass can be used for vision panels, but not much else.

 

Safety wired fire glass doors

Safety wire fire glass has been developed to allow wire glass to be used in areas where safety glass is required.

The wire glass has a special film added to it which holds the glass in place should it break.

However, many people feel wired glass has a certain ‘institutional’ appearance, and despite its affordability, many architects and interior designers now shy away from specifying it, preferring instead to opt for the more modern clear fire glass options in doors.

 

Clear fire glass door options

The three remaining options, tempered fire glass, ceramic fire glass and intumescent laminated fire glass all offer clear-glass solutions for fire-rated doors.

These three products all meet safety glass requirements so are safe to be used at any height in fire-resistant glass doors.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing between the three.

Tempered fire glass is a reasonably cost-effective option, which can make it appealing at first sight. However, tempered fire glass is not able to pass the hose stream test.

Tempered glass is highly resistant to heat, but when subjected to cold water, the sudden change in temperature can cause the glass to shatter.

This means tempered fire glass carries a maximum integrity rating of 20 minutes, with no insulation rating, so is somewhat limited in its applications.

Ceramic fire glass is a very versatile and useful product. It can handle 425°C changes in temperature, can be tinted, clear or mirrored and can have a fire rating up to 180 minutes.

Because of its excellent heat resistance and durability, ceramic glass is used for applications such as glass hobs and fireplaces and is also suitable for use in fire-rated glass doors. However, it doesn’t offer any level of thermal insulation and also comes with a premium price which can be prohibitive.

For the optimum protection in both integrity and insulation, the product of choice is intumescent laminated fire glass.

This product is a laminated glass with clear intumescent interlayers which, in the event of a fire, react to expand and transform into a rigid, opaque and heat-absorbing fire shield.

Tufwell have recently started stocking Pyrobel, the leading range of intumescent laminated glass, which is available with a range of fire ratings up to 120 minutes for both integrity and insulation.

Pyrobel has bi-directional fire resistance and also offers excellent acoustic insulation. This makes it ideal for applications like fire-rated glass doors and fire-rated glass partitions.

SOURCE.:

Tufwell Glass
 

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Using PVB Interlayers to Protect Your Interior

UV fading is quite common in highly glazed areas and can affect many aspects of the interior of your home including furniture and flooring.

This fading is mainly caused by UV rays penetrating through the glass which are responsible for 40% of the fading process. Fading can also be caused by heat and visible light coming into the home as well.

There are a couple of ways to prevent UV fading from occurring that are available to you. Anti-fade and UV protection films can block up to 99% of these rays, with some films being able to block up to 99.9%. This option is available for application after the windows have been installed.

PVB interlayers within laminated glass to prevent UV fading of the wooden flooring in our Beechcroft project.
PVB interlayers within laminated glass to prevent UV fading of the wooden flooring in our Beechcroft project.

However, if you are thinking about renovating or building a new home then the best way to prevent UV fading is to make sure your windows and doors have PVB or SGP interlayers within the glass.

PVB (Polyvinyl butyral) is a laminate used to provide strength, toughness, optical clarity and flexibility to glass. SGP Interlayers are a stronger, Ionoplast based interlayer that can be used to create stronger architectural glass constructions and offer the same level of UV protection as a PVB interlayer.

Interlayers are used to create laminated glass which is commonly used in architecture as it contains a protective interlayer which is bonded between two panels of glass.

This bonding process takes place under heat and pressure allowing the interlayer to become clear and to help bind the two panels together. Once the two panels of glass have been sealed together, the glass acts as a single unit and looks just like normal glass.

Using a PVB or SGP interlayer within laminated glass for windows can block almost all of the UV radiation, preventing any fading of your interior. These interlayers can also block up to 99.9% of the UV rays that try to pass through the glazing, meaning you are essentially blocking out all UV rays.

IQ Glass use PVB interlayers when creating laminated glass for a number of reasons including acoustic reduction, increase in strength, solar control and most importantly to provide UV fading protection. SGP interlayers tend to be required for external glass balustrades and load bearing glass.

SOURCE
IQ Glass Logo

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Switchable smart glass technology enables contemporary design with built-in usability that can adapt spaces to users’ needs at the flick of a switch.

Modern residential architecture has fully sided with the aesthetic of spacious, united interiors. No longer a trend, the free-flowing residential space is what buyers and renters are looking for, and architects and developers are responding by creating inventive homes with fewer walls and larger multifunctional rooms.

One of the stars of this modern movement is glass. Used as both external and interior walls, dividers and even structural elements, glass in residential design has come a long way.

By harnessing the technology available in glass today, architects can provide the spaciousness people want with the practicality a busy home requires, especially in smaller spaces like apartments.

Specifically, switchable smart glass technology enables contemporary design with built-in usability that can adapt spaces to users’ needs at the flick of a switch. Here are five key offerings of switchable smart glass in apartment design.

1. Wide Open Views

Traditional residential architecture can seem entirely focused on function, with windows being little more than a source of light and air. Today urban dwellings, especially taller apartment buildings, can offer spectacular views through panoramic windows and even floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

With switchable smart glass, residents can control the glass opacity for passersby while still enjoying their breathtaking views.

2. Spacious Spaces

Today’s most sought-after apartments boast large multifunctional rooms and fluid transitions between spaces.

Smart glass helps facilitate this by enabling architects to replace certain elements that would ordinarily divide apartments or block views with glass walls, dividers and even staircases.

A smart glass wall around a home office can maintain the sense of openness within an apartment while letting the user turn the wall opaque when needed for privacy or to minimise distraction.

A bedroom set up at one end of an apartment can appear to be part of the larger space when a smart glass wall is transparent, or become a cozy sleeping space when the wall is opaque.

Residential smart glass can help an apartment feel spacious and also let more light into areas further away from windows.

3. Privacy on Demand

Switchable smart glass enables large windows or entire exterior walls to be transparent or opaque, based on the users’ preferences throughout the day.

A simple flick of a switch controls the opacity, without necessarily dampening the light coming into a space.

When used internally as diving walls, this functionality preserves the sense of one larger, connected space while providing privacy when needed.

For example, by enclosing a bathroom in smart glass walls, as in the Brew House Hotel, the space remains connected to the larger room until a guest switches the glass opacity for privacy.

4. Superior Sun Protection

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors are becoming more and more popular—as is sun protection and heat control, especially in countries where high temperatures are frequent and UV exposure can be an issue.

Solar smart glass offers unmatched control of solar glare and is proven to reduce the transfer of heat, which protects residents from UV exposure and can substantially reduce energy costs.

Switchable smart glass windows are a smart choice for individual apartments as well as apartment building lobbies and shared spaces because they allow users to maximise sunlight when it’s needed and control solar shading during peak sun.

5. Nature as Décor

Particularly in urban areas and apartment complexes, there is a recent focus on inviting nature into residential spaces.

Switchable smart glass can be used in strategically placed windows and glass doors to showcase natural elements and help residents connect with their surroundings.

Balcony railings—and even the balcony itself—can be made of smart glass to remove the perception of division between residents and nature. At any time, residents can choose to switch the glass opacity for privacy, protection or comfort.

Switchable smart glass is helping innovative architects and designers transform urban apartments into residential refuges that don’t have to sacrifice views, space or privacy.

For more information about smart glass technology, switchable smart glass or residential smart glass, view our range of solutions online or read about our past projects.

SOURCE

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Choosing the Right Fire Retardant ACP for Façade / Cladding Applications:

Fire protection for buildings begins at the planning stage. Minimizing fire risk, particularly in places with significant human traffic such as major sporting arenas, mass transit terminals, hospitals, schools and high rise buildings has become increasingly complex and challenging. Limitation of the height of the Fire Engine to reach the higher floors is a critical point of consideration in façade design.

fire resistant construction
fire resistant construction

Of Late, in India, many high rise buildings have started insisting on Fire Retardant materials to be used in the Façade of the buildings. But, still, there is lot of ambiguity in choosing the right materials due to consideration of inappropriate / inadequate information while procuring these materials. Irrespective of the regulations, it is imperative for the users to choose the right grade of building materials which can minimize the damage to human lives and structure.

A lot depends on using the right kind of products and systems and utmost care has to be taken in choosing the right grade of Fire Retardant (FR) material so as to mitigate the risk caused by Fire. If FR is prescribed, the correct performance level of fire-retardancy is required: “true” FR materials must be demonstrated by passing challenging system tests with a multi-story setup.

Fire Resistance of Material – ACP Core:

It is very important to understand the difference between ‘Fire Resistance’ and ‘Reaction-to-Fire’. Even a normal paper is Fire Rated, but up to what level? Will this be acceptable? Answer is NO.

‘Reaction-to-Fire’ is more relevant to the materials. It deals with combustibility, ignitability, flame spread, smoke development, burning droplets & toxicity. Since we are discussing about ACP, which is Façade Material, ‘Reaction-to-Fire’ is appropriate term for selection of ACP and not Fire Resistance. Fire resistance deals with compartmentalization abilities of building systems like walls, doors, ceiling etc.

Hence, Fire Rated / Fire Resistant / 2 hour Fire rating terminology is not relevant for ACP. The appropriate terminology is “Fire Retardant ACP”.

Understanding the Performance Criteria of ACP with various test methodologies:

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So an ideal Fire Retardant ACP must pass EN 13501-1 along with either NFPA 285 or BS 8414-1.


Coming to ACP Core, a true Fire Retardant ACP should have:

So an ideal Fire Retardant ACP must pass EN 13501-1 along with either NFPA 285 or BS 8414-1.

  • Ideally recommended mix and density of non-combustible content in the core is 70%
  • Core must be self-extinguishing so that if the source of fire is put off then the core should not be a medium for propagation of fire

Apart from the above, ACP with non-combustible core (mineral filler of more than 90%) is also available which can be considered for very tall buildings / places with very high human density. This product conforms to A2 as per EN 1305-1.

In either of the above mentioned ACP, a third party certification like ‘Class 1A’ from an agency of repute for the manufacturer of ACP will provide peace of mind. Certification process of ‘Class 1A’ is

  • The manufacturers facilities and production process is continuously inspected and checked by an accredited 3rd party,
  • Such inspections involved random selection and marking of future test samples,
  • Testing of such samples in accredited testing laboratories.

Majority of human loss in case of fire accident in a building is due to smoke & toxicity but not necessarily only due to Fire.

As mentioned earlier, ‘Reaction-to-Fire’ of Façade materials is very important to contain the propagation of Fire and also to carry out rescue operations. Combustibility, Ignitability, Flame Spread & Burning Droplets are the important parameters to be considered to address the propagation of Fire. However, Smoke Development & Toxicity are the key parameters for the safety of occupants and for rescue operations by Fire Brigade.

What defines performance for a fire retardant cladding solution?

Extent of lateral & vertical fire spread

Extent of smoke emissions

Extent of droplets emissions

Self-extinction of the fire on the panel

Applicable to all elements of the system used

As regards to ACP cladding is concerned it is advised to have the systems without sealants.

Information from Alucobond

(Mr. P.V. Somusundaram & Mr. Nikhil Joshi)

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