Glass processing technology has advanced to the point where specialized and practical solutions for a wide range of architectural projects are now possible. Indeed, there are so many alternatives that it’s nearly required to examine various items and their features, as well as how this will affect, say, the windows and doors you’re designing.
When selecting glass for a project, what factors should be examined – and prioritized? What is the best way to combine aesthetics with function and efficiency? We got down with the glass specialists at Cristales Dialum to learn more about the ins and outs of selecting the appropriate type of glass for your projects and guaranteeing the greatest results for your clients.
The Fundamentals: Glass Dimensions and Types
The standard size of glass panels for sale is 2.5 x 3.6 meters. The glass is cut to match the exact needs of a project starting at this size. The glass can be plain and colorless, or it can have materials that improve thermal, optical, and acoustic properties, among other things.
Jumbo glass panels, measuring roughly 5.0 by 3.0 meters, are also a possibility, though they are less common. Dialum’s processing factory in Santiago, Chile, is one of the world’s top ten and one of the five most advanced in the Americas, with panels measuring up to 6.0 x 3.3 meters, covering almost 19 square meters and weighing nearly a ton of glass.
The panels, which are over 4.5 meters wide and 2.5 meters high, might be termed colossal glass.
Glass of Importance
Dialum’s Monumental Panels, which are mostly employed on first floors, reception spaces, and lobbies, offer absolutely smooth results due to their large size. It’s critical to use frames that can sustain the weight of the panels without dominating the structure in order to accomplish this finesse. Aluminum is the most commonly used material in framework construction due to its low cost; however, for projects with glass panels above 6 meters high, the aluminum should be reinforced with steel, which increases the framework’s size.
What material enables slimmer frameworks while still being strong enough to support the weight of larger glass panels? Steel.
Frameworks made of metal
The first material used in carpentry was wood. Steel became the go-to material for the building of doors and windows at the turn of the twentieth century, at the same time when industrialization and Rationalism began to impact architecture, before being superseded by new technologies like PVC and aluminum. Steel is back on top today, thanks to technological advancements that have allowed it to shrink in size while maintaining its strength and endurance.
Jansen’s steel frameworks are three times stronger than aluminum, and they combine classic aesthetics with modern style to meet the requirements of good glass work. Aluminum frames should be reinforced to obtain larger glass fixtures, such as the Glass Monuments, resulting in a more complicated and voluminous construction. Steel frames complement larger glass fixtures while retaining a clean, basic appearance.
Steel’s welding capability also eliminates the requirement for jointed unions, which eliminates bending and shifting issues. As a result, we can complete more complex designs with less work.
How to pick the most energy-efficient glass fixtures for any job
First and foremost, you must comprehend the project’s realistic requirements. You can add every single feature and property to your windows, but this is usually an exaggerated – and costly – move that won’t make a major difference in the end output. In reality, you could use different types of glass for each surface, but this would make the process more difficult than required.
As a result, we recommend looking for an integrated solution that tackles the most common environmental situations, such as extreme heat or cold.
In any project, the importance of double-paned glass cannot be overstated.
Before looking for more particular information, keep in mind that double-paned windows are a must for ensuring the efficiency of glass fixtures in a project, especially in terms of the thermal transmittance and sun protection that the structure requires depending on its location and orientation. Monolithic glass fixtures can be used in particular situations, however they must be thermally treated.
Selectivity of Glass
Solar rays provide both heat and light. In places with more direct sunlight, it’s critical to keep the structure from overheating while still allowing light to enter.
To do this, look into glass selectivity and select a glass fixture that filters and “selects” the specific percentages of light and heat that enter the interior space. The more selective a glass is, the more light it lets through and the less heat it lets through. Because cooling a place is three times more expensive than heating it, solar protection is an important issue to consider when selecting glass fixtures.
Glass with two panes
When designing and implementing a project in a cold region, the ability of a space to retain heat is a critical consideration. Heat flows from the warmest to the coldest parts of the structure, and if a window exists, heat escapes through it. What percentage of the heat is lost? This is dependent on how effectively your windows function.
You lose a specific number of Watts per square meter of window if you choose monolithic (or single-paned) glass. This amount can be decreased in half by installing a standard double-paned window, saving you about 50% in energy expenditures; but, with a more advanced window fixture, such as Low-E, which has low emissivity, you can save up to 80% in energy costs.
Panes made of polyvinyl chloride
Double-paned glass is efficient against high-frequency sounds in loud environments, and it can be even more successful when combined with acoustic Polyvinyl panes, which also protect against low-frequency disturbances (constant buzzing sounds that can be harder to detect but very irritating).
This method could be even more successful in severe instances, such as airports, by extending the area between the panes, which would greatly reduce outside noise by dB.
Glass that has been laminated
Vandalism is better protected by laminate, which is made comprised of two glass panels with a plastic film between them. You’d have to smash the first glass panel, then the plastic film, and then the second panel to go through. If you wish to ensure the security of the building’s occupants, this element is especially crucial for skylights or other roof windows.
To withstand the weight of people walking on glass floors, multiple layers of laminate are required.
Glass that has been tempered
This glass is substantial, but it is also delicate. Tempering or heat-strengthening improve the mechanical resistance of glass by up to 5 times that of untreated glass. This is a great solution for glass doors that have to endure a lot of force every time they open or close.
Due to warming, buildings with a lot of sun exposure and heat intake have a higher risk of breaking their surfaces. Tempered glass is more resistant to heat and high temperatures than regular glass.
Digital printing vs. screen printing
Surface printing, also known as digital printing, involves putting a layer of paint to the glass that is heated to penetrate it. You can select your glass depending on its appearance, such as adding photos, or its purpose, such as solar performance. If you add white points to the glass, for example, you’ll have shade patches in the interior space.
You can use the double point approach to paint dots over a fraction of the glass in the case of light shafts (for example, 50 percent of the surface). White dots on the outside reflect sunlight and prevent it from going through, while black dots on the inside block the sun but allow you to view everything outside the window.
Analyzing the specifics of each project can help you get the best results possible from the fixtures you select to use. Many builders use a combination of the previously described methods in high-rise buildings, such as double-paned, laminated, and tempered glass.
Glass that is resistant to fire / Firewall Glass
This glass comes in two varieties. The fire resistant glass stops the fire and poisonous gases (the leading cause of death during a fire), followed by the fire wall, which stops the fire, toxic gases, and temperature increase. The latter functions as a barrier, absorbing the required amount of heat to keep the fire from spreading for a set period of time (F30, F60, F90, F120).
The Importance of Regulations and Norms
Regulations provide instructions for appropriately carrying out activities for when we had a stunning glass partition installed with these, whether it’s manufacturing a product or planning, developing, and constructing, and they minimize the potential of arbitrary decisions.
IRAM is the regulatory organization in Argentina, while the NCH is in Chile, the EN is in Europe, the ASTM is in the United States, and so on in every country. There are specifications for every aspect of design and construction within every regulation, and there are even certifications for products based on international testing, such as the ANSI SGCC (for laminated glass) and IGCC (for insulated glass) (for double-paned glass).
If you’re confused about the restrictions that apply to your project, you can look into current legislation in Europe or the United States to confirm the efficacy of the solutions you’ve chosen for your project. In any event, it’s critical to go through the technical specifications of the products you’ve chosen and to enlist the help of your supply company’s experts.
Design Recommendations with Key Recommendations
Trust the expertise of the professionals: As architects, we aren’t necessarily experts in glass and have no incentive to be. Choosing the incorrect approach could result in serious long-term effects, such as high air conditioning bills.
Understand the project as well as the glass’s features, such as its location, orientation, function, and specified hours of use, among other things.
The glass should be wider the larger it is: Or, at the very least, it should come with the treatments required to ensure mechanical resistance.
Verify that the appearance of the glass will not alter once it is fitted by gazing at it: Glass can change its appearance and behavior depending on the circumstances.