Glass is being used by energy conscious designers in elegant and innovative ways, building on the concept of ‘green homes’. ‘A green home is built to be sustainable.’ It is built with materials and technology that reduce its carbon footprint. The design and construction of green homes further reduce energy consumption. Due to its properties and versatility, glass is a popular choice of material for such homes.
Glass as a building material has been vastly explored due to the numerous benefits it offers. It is an ideal material for use in green homes because of its outstanding qualities in terms of energy efficiency, durability, thermal comfort, sound insulation and aesthetics.
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The most energy-intensive aspects of a building design are heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. When used properly, glass can reduce total energy consumption by 8-10% and its cumulative benefits continue to grow over time. Glass helps to reduce heat entering the building, which reduces the need for air conditioning and, as a result, can help save money on energy while also contributing to a healthier environment. Different types of glass can aid in regulating the amount of light and heat that enters thereby reducing the energy load caused by air conditioning and artificial measures as well as artificial lighting.
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Glass is manufactured by melting sand, soda ash, and limestone which are natural and abundant raw materials, at extremely high temperatures. The manufacturing process for glass is also sustainable since production uses minimal levels of water. Glass and glass products have a wide range of applications. Mirrors, glass partitions, sliding wardrobe doors, kitchen shutters, lighting, and others are few examples of its widespread use. By bringing down maintenance costs and providing long-term durability, glass and glass products have a positive impact on the home.
However, glass alone can’t make the home green, it has to be incorporated wisely in design to get optimum results. The principle of maximum daylight diffusion should guide lighting for green homes. To allow light to flood through the space more freely, minimum interior partitions should be used. Wider fenestrations, skylights or a transparent roof can allow for better illumination in the interior spaces.
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For glazing, a wide range of glass products are available, suiting various needs and wants. Tinted glass, for example, is heat-absorbing and is preferred in buildings that require glare as well as solar control. While it is available in many colours, bronze, grey, dark grey, blue, and green are some of the popularly used colour tints. Heat loss can be reduced by upto 70% with the installation of specific solar control glass windows. External noise can also be reduced by double-glazed glass facades, resulting in a more harmonious and relaxing atmosphere.
Glass is humidity-resistant and also scratch-resistant. The colorful and opaque appearance of lacquered glass adds a pop of color to any interior application. Many types of decorative glass such as etched glasses, textured glass, stained glass add to the aesthetic value of a home. Decorative glass, such as sandblasted glass, etched glass, and other types of decorative glass, are used in innovative ways to give a home long-term appeal. For the necessary durability and strength, toughened glass, laminated glass, heat-strengthened glass, and tempered glass are also extensively used.
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When it comes to glass as a material, the possibilities are unlimited. Glass, as a transparent, recyclable, energy-efficient and suitable for all weather building material, makes a home more livable and can be used in a variety of ways in the construction of a green home. Despite being humanity's oldest discovery, glass is always keeping up with the times and helping to make the world a more sustainable habitat for present and future generations. Advanced glass technologies with a wide range of properties are becoming more available at a rapid rate. For instance, Sage Glass is a cutting-edge electrochromic glass that tints on-demand, giving you complete control over your indoor environment and design options. Sage Glass can alter the hue and performance based on the outside conditions to maximize comfort and energy efficiency. Moreover, It's an Alexa-enabled smart glass that eliminates the need for traditional solar control systems like blinds, shades, and curtains. Such examples demonstrate how technology advancements and endless alternatives are ubiquitous now. The rising popularity of glass as a green material has made one thing as clear as glass- the future is green, and glass is the window to it.
About the Author
Tvara is an architectural journalist and freelance content writer based in India. She's a landscape architect who loves to design, write, and travel!