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How Green is Glass?

15 Feb 2012

Energy efficiency is a hot topic, and this week Nick Shore, the Sustainability Director for NSG Group, shares his view on the topic ‘how green is glass?’

Nick Shore
NSG Group, Nick Shore’s Guest Blog ‘ How green is glass?’

One of the most common questions I get asked by architects is “How green is glass?” As our cities are transformed with an abundance of glazed façades, stricter legislation on carbon emissions and energy efficiency means that architects need to be sure that the glass they use is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

Modern Glass

These legislative changes have been driven by concerns about global warming, fuel availability and pricing and sustainability of natural resources. Recognising these issues, the glass industry has created ever more environmentally-beneficial products, combining the traditional benefits of glass with properties normally associated with other building materials, such as steel, brick and concrete, to address these needs. Modern glass ranges aren’t just there to let light in or make a building look pretty, they’re incredibly functional and versatile too.

For example, in warmer climates coated or tinted glass can now be used to block a higher proportion of infra-red and visible radiation, reducing the need for artificial cooling in buildings while still letting natural light in. In cooler climates, double and triple- glazing and special coated glass units maximise the amount of passive heat entering the building, while at the same time preventing heat from escaping outwards.







Energy-efficient Glazing

In fact, the right glass can help save vast amounts of energy. In the typical British house, energy-efficient double glazing will save around 90kg of CO2 per year compared to single glazing, paying back the energy cost of the glass’s manufacture in just a few months. If all of the inefficient single glazing in existing buildings across Europe was upgraded, it could save over 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year, about a third of the EUs target for energy savings in buildings by 2020.”

World Architecture News

If you’re interested in the topic of glass and want to learn more, make sure you join Nick Shore over the next couple of months on World Architecture News, as he shares his thoughts on some of the most interesting facts on glass technologies, and how they are helping to transform the way buildings and cities are designed, as well as some of the ways architects can now use glass to achieve almost any desired effect.