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Glass in Buildings

Our products are at the heart of modern architecture, engineering and construction. They play a beneficial role in addressing some of the major environmental challenges of buildings, new and old.

Architects increasingly seek to bring natural environmental factors into the interior of buildings by maximizing natural daylight. This is achieved through the use of larger glazed areas in façades and roofs, and entirely glazed façades, where the glass is a structural component of the building.

Energy-saving is a key driver. CO2-reduction targets have driven tougher legislation for energy-saving glass, making insulating glass units mandatory in much of Europe. This has now developed further into legislation requiring energy-efficient glass.

In hot climates, reliance on air conditioning, which would otherwise be increased by such larger glazed areas, is mitigated by the use of advanced solar control glass, allowing the sun’s light into buildings, while blocking much of its heat.

In cold climates, low-emissivity glass reduces heat loss, while allowing high levels of valuable free solar gain to heat buildings without significant loss in natural light. However, in the summer, unless combined with solar control glass, it can become uncomfortably hot.

Fire-resistant glass also has an important role to play in promoting the sustainability of communities.

The correct choice of glass can help to reduce the capital outlay, running costs and associated carbon emissions of buildings.

Sustainability in buildings

Glass is used extensively in most buildings, in both exterior and interior applications; as a construction material, for functionality, for decoration and for interior fittings. Around the world, policy-makers are beginning to realize how the quality of buildings affects the quality of the environment and of people’s lives.

Our products play a vital role in improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. But they also offer other advanced functionality; fire protection, noise attenuation, safety and security, privacy, decoration and even self-cleaning properties.

Energy efficiency in buildings

Buildings account for almost 50 percent of the energy consumed in developed countries. There is increased focus on legislation and policies to improve their energy efficiency.

Initiatives such as the environmental building rating system (LEED®) in the US and the UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) are helping to transform the added-value glazing market. Both are increasingly being used to rate the environmental performance of buildings across the globe.

Buildings account for almost 50 percent of the energy consumed in developed countries. Our products have a beneficial role to play in addressing some of the major environmental challenges of buildings, new and old.

Similar opportunities are anticipated in Europe, with the recast of the EU Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings and a new Energy Efficiency Directive. Many other countries have indicated significant changes to national building regulations to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. We work with relevant stakeholders in framing policies and regulations that help make buildings more energy-efficient through the use of glass.

Thermal insulation — keeping heat in buildings

Glass and Climate Change_Glass in Buildings

In cold weather, low-emissivity (low-e) products reflect heat back into the building. Our thermal insulation products, Pilkington Energy Advantage™, Pilkington K Glass™ and Pilkington Optitherm™, combine unrivalled thermal insulation with high light transmittance, with lower reflectance for a more neutral appearance. They provide thermal insulation and passive solar heat gain, helping to meet demand for more energy-efficient windows.

Advances in low-emissivity (low-e) glass technology have made windows an essential contributor to energy conservation and comfort, minimizing heat loss and internal condensation.

Pilkington Spacia™ was the world’s first commercially available vacuum glazing, offering the thermal performance of conventional double glazing in the same thickness as single glass. Sales are developing worldwide, particularly for use in historic buildings, in which the original frames can be retained.

Solar control — keeping heat out of buildings

Globally, increasing attention is being given to air-conditioned buildings, to reduce energy usage and CO2 emissions, thereby creating opportunities for solar control glass. Most of our solar control products have special coatings that can reflect up to 75 percent of the solar heat, while transmitting the majority of the visible light. We have a wide range of products to satisfy every need; Pilkington Optifloat™ Tints, Pilkington Reflite™, Pilkington Eclipse™ and Pilkington SunShade™ Silver provide different levels of solar control performance.

The best energy-efficient glass combines solar control and low-emissivity properties. Pilkington Suncool™, Pilkington Solar-E™ and Pilkington Eclipse Advantage™ provide both in a single product. The use of these types of glass allows a bright and comfortable environment to be maintained inside a building with reduced requirement for air-conditioning and lighting. Their use will increase as climate change results in increased ambient temperatures, thus imposing greater demands on air-conditioning in buildings.

Fire Protection Glass

Fire-protection glass - Use of high-performance fire-resistant glazing allows large expanses of interior glazing,without compromising on fire safety.Buildings that are vulnerable to fire are fundamentally unsustainable. Fire damage can affect lives and communities, through destruction of jobs and public assets. Combining fire safety and integrity with transparency and the ability to bring light into buildings presents significant technical challenges.

Our range of fire-resistant glass, Pilkington Pyrostop®, Pilkington Pyrodur®, Pilkington Pyroclear®, and Pilkington Pyroshield™ 2 is used in a variety of building, marine and rail transport applications around the world. We offer three technology types – wired glass, modified super-toughened glass and a special proprietary clear intumescent interlayer technology. The latter not only protects against flames and smoke, but also against the heat of a fire, and heat transfer mechanisms.

All these products can be combined with other functional glasses to provide additional features, such as solar control, thermal insulation, noise control, and impact safety. Unlike other systems dependent on external energy sources and water availability, our fire-resistant products offer passive and sustainable protection, with a long-lasting life cycle and reliability.

Self-cleaning glass - Minimizing environmental impact

In the 12 years since its launch, our Pilkington Activ™ range has been installed successfully in domestic and commercial buildings throughout the world. Using the forces of nature to help keep the surface free from dirt, the world’s first advanced dual-action self-cleaning glass ensures less manual cleaning is required — therefore reducing the need for toxic chemicals and hazardous cleaning products and cutting water wastage, as well as reducing maintenance costs and health and safety risks.

Minimizing the impact on the environment, Pilkington Activ™ products complement Pilkington low-emissivity and solar control glass range, and when used with other Pilkington products in an Insulating Glass Unit, it helps to reduce the environmental impact
of buildings even further.