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Glass in buildings
Glass and buildings have a centuries-old intertwined history. Glass products have always been used to bring daylight into buildings and provide a view to the outside world. However, thanks to the continuous improvement in thermal insulation, glazing has now become an essential element of sustainable buildings.
Thermal insulation and energy performance
Technological innovation such as the use of double and triple glazed units with inert gas filling and invisible low-emissivity coatings have significantly improved the insulation properties of windows and facades. As such, these modern glazing solutions contribute to improving the energy performance of buildings by providing a positive energy balance to the building envelope as well as by reducing needs for artificial lighting. As a matter of fact, many energy and thermal simulations suggest that, in most European climates and for most building types, the average glazed surface to floor ratio should be increased.
By providing daylight into buildings and a visual connection to the outside world, glazing products bring occupants all the benefits associated with natural daylight in terms of health, comfort and well-being, while enhancing the visual quality and aesthetic of internal spaces. Thus, getting daylight into buildings is a key element of sustainable building design.
Outstanding environmental performance
Glass products generate minimal environmental impacts over building’s full life-cycle phases, which make glass a material of choice for sustainable buildings. Glass is made of abundant non-polluting raw materials; its manufacturing process is highly energy efficient and it generates little waste. What is more, glass is fully recyclable and could be easily recycled at the end-of-life stage of buildings provided adequate collection and recycling schemes are put in place.