How to Improve Glass Window Efficiency

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When planning, conceptualizing and building your commercial space, you will eventually need to decide on the nitty-gritty details of the components that make up your project. From the type of equipment you want to utilize and the quality of the materials to the component choices themselves, each of these decisions can make a significant difference to the space that you design.

 

One of the most common elements thought of when building or designing a commercial space is windows. More specifically, space and efficiency, as the ability to create comfort while saving energy are crucial for both your energy bill and the ambiance of the space. Windows create a vast difference when it comes to a commercial. Whether you are constructing/designing an office space or a factory warehouse, windows can aid in creating natural light which in turn, can help reduce a buildings energy consumptions whilst simultaneously allowing those within the building to coincide with outdoor elements, even on long days indoors. The two options when it comes to window efficiency specifically would be to either update pre-existing windows or to utilize energy saving glass that can provide energy efficiency. Pending on the project being constructed, it is common to use those products to create glass floors as well.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can improve your home through these processes:

 

Upgrade Pre-Existing Windows

If you are already an owner of a building, chances are you want to look at all of your options before opting for a full window replacement, especially if your windows are already in good condition. There are several things that you can do that will improve the efficiency of your existing windows without major cost requirements:

– Inspect your windows for air leaks: confirm if there are any gaps leaking air in and out of the building
– If there are leaks, try to caulk or weatherstrip;
Caulking is utilizing a flexible material to glue and seal air leaks effectively. It is a glue-like comparison that appears white and dries into a clear color. This would be the best option for windows that are not operable/constantly being opened.
Weatherstrip serves the same purpose as caulking but this is tailored towards windows that are operable and requires a bit more research. It ranges from foam and felt to metal options, and it depends on factors such as the shape of the space alongside the type of window you have.
– Add window treatments and coverings to your existing windows: this can encompass awnings, exterior blinds, etc. Pending on the location of your window and what the purpose is, these may be options to improve the quality of your window.
– Add storm windows: these are great options to add because they help to manage and reduce the air movement into and out of existing windows, which improves comfort overall

After these improvements are made, check your windows again to ensure that you completed it properly and the air leaks from before are fixed. If the issue still persists, you may consider looking at a replacement for energy efficient windows.

 

Replacing your Windows

If you are designing a new building, this will be more choosing your windows than replacing, but you still have to make several decisions about what you purchase. When deciding what to purchase for a new project, many fixate on price, efficiency, and longevity. Ergo, a plethora of designers, architects, and planners opt for energy saving glass as it aids in reducing energy consumption throughout a building of any size.

Commonly used glass includes DLS Evolution and GlassX. These glass types are insulated and incorporate phase change material (PCM) which stores heat energy from the exterior temperatures, allowing you to reduce the output of both heating and cooling systems, pending on the type of year. PCM helps to balance out temperatures and makes a large contribution to LEED, Net-Zero, and other GREEN building initiatives, making it a great choice for those looking to contribute to the environment. From a consumer standpoint, these glass systems can help you save on your energy bills over time and contribute to the CSR line of saving energy.

This technology in these glass types can be incorporated easily into the model design and will assist thermal loss standards, alongside any buildings that need a sustainable upgrade.

In office buildings specifically, natural sunlight will drastically change the setting of the workspace, which is why big windows are often used to create this type of ambiance. Understanding that these energy saving glasses can do the job and contribute to the global, ecological, and economic thinking of a company adds to the corporate sustainable initiatives. Having these integrated into your spaces will mean less testing to make sure there are not any air leaks or damages to your windows, along with a sense of comfort and stable temperature.

If you are looking for energy saving glass, feel free to contact our team for more information on the products that would be the best fit for your new project or your home.  

Commercial Fire Safety Glass: Is It a Hot Commodity for Architects in 2019?

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By 2024, the global fire resistant glass market will break through the $7.28 (USD) billion mark!

 

With such massive revenues, the commercial fire safety glass industry is on a tremendous upswing and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. But what does this mean for architects, designers, engineers, city planners and building safety inspectors?

 

 

More importantly, is this glass a feasible investment or just another passing fad?

 

 

A Great Fire Safety Plan Consists of 3 Main Elements

Detection

In a fire emergency, every second counts. Detection gadgets are activated in the incidence of fire and act as a red flag to suggest that the indoor temperatures have risen above the accepted average, indicating a possibility of risk. They serve to warn occupants of the dangers close at hand. One of the most common detection devices is fire alarms, which include sensitive machinery that can even detect spot-type heat spikes and consequently trigger the alarm.

Suppression

Once the fire is detected, it’s time for your safety plan to spring into action. Suppression devices are instrumental in diffusing the threat as effectively as possible. These run the gamut from fire extinguishers to sprinklers, with the latter being automatically activated when it senses a temperature spike.

In many cases, simply having the above two tactics in place isn’t enough. There’s one major component that your fire safety plan is missing.

Compartmentalization

The best firefighter is resistive fire rated safety glass. It does the often overlooked and unbelievably important job of compartmentalizing the fire, smoke, and radiant heat and keeping damages to a minimum.

Resistive fire-rated glass is a powerful ally in life safety. Ordinary glass is not nearly as rigid as required and will crack when faced with challenging temperatures. Resistive fire-rated glass, conversely, is engineered to tolerate temperatures that soar as high as 1700°F and these remain fire-rated for 60 to 120 minutes.

 

 

Commercial Fire-Rated Glass Offers Immense Protection

Commercial resistive fire safety glass is an integral component in construction, one that protects occupants and possessions from the hazards of a structural fire outbreak. Fire aside, even the smoke and radiant heat from a fire can result in significant dollar losses, not to mention fatalities. As you’re aware, fire travels quickly and is fueled by the availability of combustible materials in close proximity.

 

Resistive fire-rated glass acts as a barrier to block radiant heat, fire, and smoke from traveling within the enclosure, and essentially compartmentalizes the damage. That way, occupants will be able to safety chart out an egress route and firefighters are given more time to respond to emergencies.

 

Apart from its pragmatic aspects, resistive fire-rated glass also lends itself well to the visual appeal of the enclosure. How so? Well, it allows plenty of natural daylight to flood into the enclosure, creating a warm and vibrant atmosphere.

 

Fire-Protective Glass: This stops fire and smoke (but not radiant heat) from moving between different rooms or levels in your facility. There is still a danger of items spontaneously combusting when exposed to radiant heat, even if the glass separates these items from the fire.

 

Fire-Resistive Glass: This impedes the movement of fire, smoke, and radiant heat and is the most comprehensive commercial safety glass. It is created from multiple glass layers divided by intumescent resin sublayers.

 

Is laminated glass fire rated? Laminated glass can also be engineered with fire-rating properties so that it passes the required safety parameters. Moreover, the laminated facade enables it to provide added security against forced entry.

 

Is tempered glass fire resistant? Absolutely. Tempered glass is expertly designed and extensively tested to tolerate temperatures in excess of 450°F. They are more robust than annealed glass of the same size and thickness. Because of this impressive thermal strength, tempered glass is one of the leading safety glass options in the industry. However, it can break easily from thermal shock.

 

 

Updated Building Safety Codes: Are You Compliant?

Because of its propensity to protect, resistive fire-rated glass has become a mandatory component in municipal building safety codes. These regulations also specifically detail where and how it is to be used.

Ordinary glass has low-tolerance and low-resistance – two factors that can be life-threatening when a structural fire is concerned. This is why updated building safety regulations have eliminated the use of conventional wired glass, particularly in hazardous areas such as sidelites, doors, balconies, stairwells, windows closer to the floor, and egress areas.

 

 

Fire-Safety Glass is Used Extensively in These Industries

Fire-rated safety glass is our lifeline in 2019. The scope of its application is growing to make this glass a hot commodity in a variety of industries.

The marine industry has found immense use in this glass, particularly because it provides fire safety and impact safety. The need for fireproof cabins on ships in naval and commercial applications is one of the major drivers that necessitate such an investment.

Automotive manufacturers aren’t far behind in the bid to invest in commercial fire-safety glass. Consumers have expressed a demand to have their vehicles reinforced with the proper safety standards. As such, these demands will substantially elevate the integration of fire safety glass in all aspects of the consumer experience, not just their cars.

Nothing accentuates the importance of safety more than hospitals and medical facilities. These buildings must adhere to the strictest federal safety requirements to keep occupants as far away from risk as possible. Since these institutions witness heavy traffic at all hours of the day, building safety codes have incorporated very specific construction and layout parameters that must be abided by.

Transit facilities, much like hospitals, also witness a tremendous amount of foot traffic, perhaps even more so. Apart from the vehicles that are responsible for transporting passengers, the stations and terminals themselves must also incorporate fire safety glass.

These provide impressive fire rating properties, seismic resistance and live loading for foot traffic as well as waterproofing to mitigate associated risks.

Commercial enterprises like high-rises, corporate offices, shopping malls, and warehouses also find great use in fire safety glass, owing to the fact that they house occupants as well as valuable items that, if damaged, will result in huge dollar losses.

Apart from protecting those involved from radiant heat, fire, and smoke, fire safety glass also ushers in plenty of natural lighting, thereby reducing the carbon emissions produced by artificial lighting.

 

 

Are You Missing Out on the Benefits of Fire-Rated Safety Glass?

This glass is instrumental in protecting your possessions and your property from a fire outbreak. Moreover, it also affords impressive insulation properties that keep your interiors comfortable throughout the year.

LITEFLAM is a proprietary fire-rated glass system engineered by Greenlite. Used since 2006 and incorporated in over 100 projects worldwide, this advanced glass floor system has fire-ratings from 1 to 2 hours – the only exterior glazed system with an insulated glass assembly for North America.

Need a quick quote for LITEFLAM? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help!

Is Fire-Rated Glass a Game Changer For Commercial Architects in 2019?

Accordingly to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2017, it was estimated that a structural fire occurred every 63 seconds resulting in property losses well over $30 million. 

 

 

The latest construction safety regulations in North America have largely influenced the way architects approach commercial and industrial projects in 2019. This is why it’s of the utmost importance for not only architects but also city planners, designers, building health and safety inspectors and engineers to rally in these efforts so as to stay compliant with these new codes.

 

 

What Exactly is Fire-Rated Glass? 

One such game-changing safety requirement in 2019 is fire-rated safety glass. Fire-rated glass floor manufacturers have taken great strides in designing safety glass that exceeds new levels of engineering excellence. 

This innovative technology protects against radiant heat, flames, and smoke by averting their transfer from room to room, commonly known as compartmentalization. They are engineered with remarkable fire-ratings from 1 to 2 hours. 

In essence? Fire-rated safety glass minimizes damages and allows people to effectively evacuate the premises. It is a rigorously tested glass that can endure temperatures as high as 1700°F while still maintaining its integrity and insulation properties as mentioned before. 

Besides ushering safety to the forefront, these systems are customizable depending on your building’s unique fire requirements. 

For instance, Greenlite’s proprietary fire-rated safety glass, LITEFLAM, is engineered with a standard live loading capacity of 100 psf but can be engineered to withstand higher loads if required. 

 

 

Fire-Rated Safety Glass Combines Integrity and Insulation – A Novel Approach to Saving Lives

These assemblies reinforce your building’s fire protection systems to keep occupants and possessions out of harm’s way. Seeing as they act as a fire barrier and compartmentalize the outbreak of a commercial fire, fire-rated glass gives firefighters more time to respond and occupants more time to egress. 

The glass will turn opaque when a heat source hits the glass. What it does for the architect is it allows them to use glass where traditionally only brick, steel or concrete would be used, therefore bringing more natural light into space. 

What are the types of fire-rated glass? In North America, there are two types of fire-rated glass; Resistive and Protective. 

Resistive glass protects against Radiant Heat, Smoke and Flames.
Protective glass protects against only Smoke and Flames. 

 

 

Where Can Fire-Rated Safety Glass Be Used?

Fire Escapes: Updated fire safety norms outline the duration of protection required for a building’s escape route. Accordingly, architects have to modify the layout to factor in these norms. 

Indoor Partitions: Fire-rated glass confines the fire and prevents it from traveling to other rooms. It makes sense that this glass should be incorporated as partitions between different rooms. Because it is see-through, it opens the space and lets natural light through the space.

A common question is, “Is tempered glass fire resistant?” The answer is no. Tempered glass is nowhere as tough enough to endure high temperatures as it can only provide an integrity rating of 20 minutes with no insulation performance whatsoever. Even if you were to pair a tempered glass partition with a sprinkler system, it will shatter when shocked with water at such high temperatures. 

Dry Lining: The structure’s internal lining can go a long way to curb the growth of a fire. On the other hand, if these materials are easily combustible, they can also contribute to the fire’s proliferation. Fire-rated glass barriers, in this case, can prevent injuries and property damage. 

 

Fire-Rated Safety Glass is a Vital Federal Safety Code Requirement in 2019

To help you stay compliant with these new regulations and increase the fire protection and fire resistant properties of your facility, Greenlite Glass Systems manufactures a wide range of innovative and durable fire-rated glass systems – CONTRAFLAM Structure, LITEFLAM, CONTRAFLAM, KERALITE, VDS Fire Frame System, and VDS Curtain Wall. 

Contact us for a great quote. 

Is Low-E Glass a Solution to the Alarming Energy Crisis in the World Today?

Will we eventually run out of energy given that we rely heavily on coal and gas to fuel over 85% of our needs? Studies reveal that this demand will only double in the next twenty years with the projected population growth and the reliance on energy-guzzling appliances. It’s no wonder then that, besides wood and steel, glass easily occupies top spot as a popular construction material due to its ever-improving insulation and thermal features

 

 

Energy-efficient glass flooring systems are picking up traction in recent times and now command a great deal of attention in architectural circles. So what is low-emissivity glass in particular? To put it simply, there are two kinds of low-E systems – passive and solar controlled low-E coatings. These are engineered to restrict the levels of UV rays and infrared radiations that are able to travel through the glass. 

Low-E coatings in no way affect the otherwise normal functioning of the glass and still allow the same level of visible light to come through just as regular glass would. 

 

Are Low-E Windows Really Energy Efficient? 

Low-emissivity glass basically pertains to low thermal emissive glass. Because this glass is capable of reflecting, absorbing, and emitting radiant energy, it is definitely energy-efficient. 

If you were to install clear glass or high-E glass in your building’s windows, the solar energy emitted from the sun and the heat radiated from the interiors (such as from a heater) would be soaked up by the glass without any of that precious energy being saved whatsoever. 

The heat taken in by the glass when the sun is out is simply dispelled at night. If you’ve ever felt that your building or commercial space, for example, is extremely warm in the morning and cold at night, this might be one of the reasons why. In such a circumstance, you will most likely resort to using heaters and air conditioners that rake up massive energy bills in the long run. 

Perhaps, two of the most frequently asked questions in this regard are: Does low-E glass keep the heat in? And does low-E glass block out UV rays? The answer to both is a resounding yes!

With low-E glass, a slim coat is added over the surface of the raw glass. This greatly improves its thermal and insulation capacity. When the sun is out, the low-E coated glass system repels most of that extra energy outwards instead of permitting it to penetrate into the room. Likewise, if you have a heater on, the energy emitted from that appliance bounces off the glass and gets redirected into the room rather than escaping through. 

This glass is inserted into the inner side of the outermost pane, thus creating a well-insulated unit. 

 

What Are the Kinds of Low-E Glass?

Low-E pyrolytic coatings (hard coat glass), essentially made from tin oxide, are added to raw glass at soaring temperatures. These are medium-level energy-efficient windows but are still much more effective than regular glass. Hard coat glass is easy to handle, resilient and is often seen in single-paned windows. Pyrolytic coatings run the risk of developing a hazy sheen over time because they have a high solar grain. 

Soft coat glass, on the other hand, is made when the glass is placed in a vacuum shaft wherein several thin silver sheets (that curb reflectivity) are ladled onto the glass. When stimulated by electrodes, the coating on the side of the vacuum that is filled with Argon reflects heat toward the opposite side. In order to keep it protected, this soft coat glass is enveloped in double pane windows. 

Soft coat glass is a high-level energy-efficient glass window and provides magnificent thermal and insulation benefits. This glass allows for the passage of more visible light than hard coat windows because the former comes with nearly invisible coats. So efficient are these systems, in fact, that they prevent UV transmissions by over 70% as compared to clear glass. 

 

What Are the Benefits of Low-E Glass?

Restricts UV Rays and Radiant Heat Transfer: Besides restricting the passage of ultraviolet rays and interior radiant heat, low-emissivity glass offers several benefits when installed in a commercial structure. For one, they significantly decrease your electricity bills.

Melts Snow, Ice and Prevents Condensation: Low-E glass is controlled electronically and is capable of converting electrical power into heat. Especially in areas with extremely chilly climates, this particular aspect is a major boon. Based on its constitution, low-E glass can direct heat toward the interior or exterior thus melting falling snow that collects on a window sill, preventing condensation and serving as a very effective secondary heat source. 

Ideal for Several Versatile Applications: Because of its versatile nature, you can install low-E glass in spas, saunas, bathrooms, verandas, atriums, lobbies, office and hotel concourses, malls, airports – the list goes on! Being that it is installed directly on the windows, low-E coating takes up no additional room or floor space whatsoever. 

Offers Uninterrupted Views and Superior Durability: This smart low-E glass system is designed so that occupants can enjoy an unhindered view of the exteriors, no matter the weather. 

How long do low-E glass windows last? You’ll be pleased to know that they come with superior lifespans – they can maintain their integrity in extreme conditions and have over 20 years’ worth of experience in such climates. These systems can last anywhere between 10 to 15 years (depending on the level of exposure to the elements). 

Eco-Friendly: Low-E glass is made from recyclable and environment-friendly materials that minimize thermal loss and also reduce your carbon emissions. 

 

How Much Do Low-E Glass Windows Cost?

The initial investment will depend on the kind of low-E glass you invest in. Accordingly, the cost is calculated per square foot (anywhere between $40 -$60 psf). However, the amount you save in the long run due to pruning your CO2 emissions is much higher than the capital cost. Low-E windows tremendously elevate your energy savings, thus reaping a quick ROI, being that they pay for themselves much faster than you realize!

 

Is Low-E Glass Right For Your Next Project?

Greenlite Glass Systems designs industry grade low-emissivity glass to offset your insulation and radiant heat control requirements. Start pruning those exorbitant energy bills today. Contact us for a quick quote. 
 

Clear Skies Ahead: Walkable Glass Skylights Are IDEAL For These Architectural Projects

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Walk on skylights are popular in urban infrastructure and afford that sense of instant luxury. These glass skylights are breaking traditional boundaries and ushering in an innovative age for the modern architect. They assist designers, city planners and safety inspectors in lending a visually stunning aura to commercial buildings, while also remaining compliant with 2019 structural fire safety codes.

 

LITEFLAM: The Modern Architect’s Walkable Glass Skylight System

Greenlite Glass Systems is a leading walkable skylight manufacturer in North America. Our proprietary fire-rated glass flooring system, LITEFLAM, is sleek and durable and complies with all the major thermal and load codes along with ballistic impact ratings. 

LITEFLAM consists of individual slip-resistant panels that can be installed in walkable skylights and other such indoor and outdoor applications to brighten the interiors with natural lighting, allowing building owners to drastically cut down on energy consumption levels

LITEFLAM is the first labeled and listed exterior fire-rated walkable skylight system in North America. It has been tested and certified by: UL/ULC – Underwriter Laboratories and SwRI – Southwest Research Institute Laboratories. 

Here is a list of projects wherein this advanced walkable skylight system is best put to use:

 

1. Pedestal Paver Integration

If your project calls for installing a walkable skylight system into a roof paver layout, LITEFLAM is the ideal option for you. It has been expertly designed to add value to pedestal paver applications and can be configured as per your precise specifications. With a live loading capacity of 100 psf, LITEFLAM offers an excellent, trouble-free and sturdy usage. If you require a higher live loading capacity than this standard figure, LITEFLAM can be designed to accommodate any variation. 

 

2. Green Rooftops and Terraces

Green rooftops offer a lavish and refreshing sight to passersby and occupants as they are usually characterized by walkable glass skylights and plenty of vegetation. They are increasingly incorporated into transit hubs, museums, high-rises and luxury shopping malls across metropolitan areas because of their unmatched aesthetic. 

A popular example of a green roof to look at is the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, in which the team at Greenlite Glass Systems had a hand in the development and build of the walkable skylight. Another is the Vancouver Convention Centre.  

These flora infused roofs are an ingenious styling given that they make use of plenty of otherwise neglected space, while also improving the surrounding air quality. The walkable glass skylights seen in these types of rooftops create a peaceful view for the occupants indoors, provide natural insulation and cut down on energy costs. Studies have shown that green roofs last longer than traditional roofing and they also help reduce the urban heat island effect. 

LITEFLAM skylights let in plenty of daylight into the areas below while still enabling the roof to be used for a wide variety of purposes. It’s non-slip, moisture resistant surface prevents potential hazards and accidents. Apart from this, LITEFLAM’s versatile design enables it to seamlessly blend into the green landscape, and stay compliant with industry standards and energy codes.

 

3. Indoor/Outdoor Bridges and Atriums

If your project entails an indoor/outdoor catwalk or bridge that requires a walkable glass surface, LITEFLAM is the perfect turnkey solution that is engineered for immediate use. By installing walk on skylights in these locations, you can convert an otherwise bland area into an attractive masterpiece. 

Moreover, these areas witness the highest amount of foot traffic over and above the other applications we’ve listed in this article. LITEFLAM creates functional and dynamic spaces, and can withstand a live loading capacity of 100 psf or higher. Nothing is more stunning that the natural lighting effects created when daylight penetrates through the various subterranean levels in your structure with walkable skylights. Right from the rooftop to the basement you can enjoy an uninterrupted flow of light with the help of LITEFLAM. 

 

4. Interior Flooring

Interior spaces are rendered all the more unique with walkable glass flooring systems. 

Fire-rated glass allows for various design options to be accommodated into floors. The overriding benefit? LITEFLAM acts as a fire-resistant and fire-protective safety glass from 1-2 hours. It compartmentalizes fire, smoke and radiant heat in the event of a structural fire outbreak and gives occupants time to egress. LITEFLAM’s reinforced design prevents break-ins, further augmenting its safety features. 

Because of LITEFLAM’s modular design, only those individual panels that require repair can be removed and replaced instead of pulling apart the entire system. A sacrificial sheet option is also available so that the top line can be replaced without replacing the unit. Attic stock can be ordered at the time of manufacturing.  

 

5. Landings 

LITEFLAM has the ability to meet all your demanding requirements and cater to the unique design palette of the structure. 

If its rigorous field testing is anything to go by, LITEFLAM has proven itself to be a sturdy and resilient system – one that can withstand incredible amounts of foot traffic while still preserving its watertight and slip-resistant integrity. Architects and occupants alike have reported that this system instantly adds a wow factor to its environs. 

 

LITEFLAM is an Attractive Fire-Rated Safety Glass, Available For Immediate Installation and Use!

Highly durable, attractive, moisture- and slip-resistant, rigorously field tested, and safety complaint as per the latest 2019 construction safety norms – LITEFLAM is the perfect solution for your next project. Contact us for a quote