Glass is an unrivalled building material. Being it part of the façade construction, as roofing or as “ordinary windows”, glass is the centre piece of architectural design and makes the difference between a building or a landmark. A façade, or just a storefront. It provides a view to the outside world, it enables daylight to enter the building and stay in touch with your surroundings.
On the other side, glass is introducing its challenges to the building eco-structure and its users. Daylight is abundantly available – sometimes too abundant for users. Glare and direct sunlight exposure decrease the comfort of the users of the building.
Daylight is also bringing in energy to the structure, for which HVAC installations require large amounts of energy to control the inside climate. Unwanted air flows and high energy bills are the result.
There are ways around this. Sun blinds, be it internal or external, can solve most of the problems. However, these systems are expensive, easy to tamper with and require a lot of maintenance: both technical maintenance and cleaning of the blinds. Besides these issues, sun blinds block the view to the outside world, resulting in “office lag”. Another possibility is to decrease the glass-to-wall ratio, with all design consequences on the façade and creative freedom.