Environmental Benefit

Solar Control Glass Saves Energy

Residential and non-residential buildings that use more energy than necessary to stay cool are a major source of unnecessary CO2 emissions.

In March 2007, EU heads of state and government confirmed the need to save annually around 300 million tonnes of CO2 from buildings by 2020.

Policy makers could achieve between 5% and 25% of that target by promoting greater use of solar control glass in existing and new buildings in Europe – ensuring that less energy is required to keep the interiors cool.

This technology exists today. The EU and its Member States can use it to help achieve their own targets, by acting to ensure that more solar control glass is installed.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all Member States of the EU to improve their building regulations every five years. Encouraging greater use of solar control glass should be a top priority.

The potential for solar control glass to cut CO2 emissions from buildings has been analysed by the Dutch scientific institute, TNO, in a study that is technically rigorous and conservative. The results are presented in this brochure. The study concludes that between 15 and 85 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually by the year 2020 if solar control glass were used optimally.

Cooling Buildings without Warming the Planet

Air-conditioning in large buildings is a necessity today. The demand for it will increase into the future, due not only to the increasing numbers of people working in large buildings, but also because of rising external temperatures and higher expectations of comfort.

Air-conditioning makes a positive contribution to the working conditions experienced by Europe’s workforce, to the economy, and to quality of life. The trick is to keep its overall CO2 output to a minimum.

This can be achieved by increasing the efficiency of air-conditioning systems. Manufacturers are investing in this with admirable results.

The other important thing we can do is make sure that air conditioning systems don’t work overtime fighting the sun’s natural heat when this can be avoided.

This is where solar control glass comes in. It lets in the sunlight but keeps out much of the heat. Use of such glass saves huge amounts of energy, as the study we present in this brochure demonstrates.

What can governments do to cut CO2 emissions?

  • Encourage and, where necessary, require the use of solar control glass in national building regulations for new construction.
  • Encourage or require retrofitting of existing buildings with solar control glass by fiscal or legislative means.
  • Provide economic and fiscal incentives to both users and manufacturers of solar control glass to promote better market uptake of these energy-saving products.
  • Ensure that all relevant public buildings are fitted with solar control glass.
  • Organise information and communication campaigns on the benefits of using solar control glass.