flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

True Clarity for Ambitious Design

Sponsored Content Glass and Glazing

True Clarity for Ambitious Design

A Guide to Realizing Transparent Façades with Solarban® Acuity


By Vitro Architectural Glass | October 27, 2021
True Clarity for Ambitious Design Vitro Architectural Glass
Low-E-coated low-iron glass delivers a distinctive low-iron aesthetic with high transparency and visible light transmittance (VLT). Photography courtesy of Tom Kessler 

Clear glass is extremely common and is popular for a variety of architectural design applications, including vision glass, spandrel glass, storefronts, entryways and other exterior uses. It is specified repeatedly due to its versatility and ability to serve as a substrate for solar control, low-emissivity (low-E) coatings. In addition to its compatibility with low-E coatings, clear glass—sometimes referred to as “clear float glass, “conventional clear glass” or “standard clear glass”—is also relatively inexpensive and is frequently selected for its neutral color.  

However, when specifying glass to achieve a desired aesthetic, design professionals know that clear glass isn’t completely clear. When viewing a lite of clear glass, you may notice its slight green aesthetic, which becomes more pronounced when viewed from an angle and appears even darker at increased thicknesses or when used with low-E coatings. This can compromise design intent, especially if the goal is to create a highly transparent façade or well-lit spaces with brilliant views of the outdoors.

Iron oxide content within the glass, left over from the manufacturing process, gives clear glass its green aesthetic. Experienced design professionals are all too familiar with this undesirable attribute. However, new innovations are addressing this design challenge from both an aesthetic and budget perspective. 

Low Iron and High Performance

The right glass can be the centerpiece of an amazing design concept. With its low iron content, low-iron glass significantly reduces the green hue found in clear glasses, making it ideal for distinctive exterior applications where excellent clarity is required. For reference, Acuity™ low-iron glass by Vitro Architectural Glass is 60 percent less green than ordinary clear glass.

comcast_1920x960_60.jpeg

Low-iron glasses are also ideal substrates for low-E coatings, complementing the heightened clarity with outstanding energy performance. This combination allows designers to create highly transparent, high-performance exterior façades with brilliant interior views, high visible light transmittance (VLT) and true-to-life views of the outdoors. 

A low-E, low-iron insulating glass unit (IGU) typically consists of an exterior lite of low-iron glass with a low-E coating applied to the interior surface and an exterior lite of uncoated low-iron glass. This configuration can be specified for everyday applications, such as office buildings and institutions, hotels, schools, condominiums and mixed-use buildings, as well as entrances and retail storefronts. Low-E, low-iron IGUs also can be leveraged for distinctive daylighting applications, such as atriums and skylights. 

Cost Considerations

Fabricated glass costs are an important consideration in the façade design process. Market research indicates the installed cost of a standard glass and metal curtainwall averages $90 per square foot nationally. While the prospect of upgrading from coated clear glass to coated low-iron glass may raise budget concerns by some project stakeholders, new advances by glass manufacturers have helped bring transparent, high-performance façades within reach.

08_front_entrance_medium.jpeg

For example, upgrading a low-E-coated clear insulating glass unit to an IGU with Solarban® Acuity™ glass by Vitro Architectural Glass typically will increase the total installed curtainwall cost by only $1 to $2 per square foot. This optimization of cost, clarity and performance allows design professionals to make low-iron glass an integral focus of their façade designs.

Commercial building design is often an exercise in balance—between performance and aesthetics and budget and quality. Fortunately, options are available today that allow design professionals to avoid compromise and retain their original design intent.  

Get less green, for less green
Request samples of Solarban® Acuity™ glass at vitroglazings.com/acuity. Choose from two customizable sample kits to assist with product evaluation.

Related Stories

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 3, 2022

For glass openings, how big is too big?

Advances in glazing materials and glass building systems offer a seemingly unlimited horizon for not only glass performance, but also for the size and extent of these light, transparent forms. Both for enclosures and for indoor environments, novel products and assemblies allow for more glass and less opaque structure—often in places that previously limited their use.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 3, 2022

New ideas in glass curtain walls, window walls, and storefronts

Driven by two distinct influences, a new generation of glass building enclosures now has a unique trajectory—toward higher performance and sustainability. One of those forces is the work by building teams who effortlessly blend design analysis with the creation of novel system solutions. 

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 2, 2022

Bigger windows, more glass: Creating efficient, safe, and inspiring spaces

Thanks to data and analytics used routinely today to model and predict building performance, new and remarkably subtle approaches are being used to create facades and interior glass assemblies that allow more visible light transmission while reducing undesirable heating by direct sunlight.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Feb 21, 2022

Optimizing performance in commercial fenestration

This course provides an overview of optimizing commercial fenestration with thermal barriers and high performance glazing in aluminum window framing to maximize daylighting and thermal efficiencies in the building envelope.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Feb 10, 2022

Architectural glass mutates as building teams innovate

Novel concepts in glass and glazing are opening new vistas in the buildings world. From massive openings and bent panels to decorative finishes and integrated smart technologies, a cornucopia of glass innovations have been hitting the market in recent years. A review of new projects and recent product introductions gives an idea of the astounding range—and a few key lessons to live by—in today’s institutional and commercial sectors.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Jan 9, 2022

Mastering the higher ed campus building envelope

Building envelope choices for campus, cultural, and infrastructure projects are shaped by particular conditions. Today, institutions place greater value on how buildings relate to their ensemble: how historic buildings fit next to new ones, how massing forms fit with their neighbors, and how a building cladding contributes to the campus context. Concurrently, enclosure assemblies and construction methods have undergone changes due to values of sustainability, science, durability, and maintenance. In this context, mastering the building envelope on college and university campuses requires addressing both cultural concerns and technical performance, honoring traditional buildings while exploring the potential of new materials and forms. 

Sponsored | Glass and Glazing | Oct 27, 2021

Treating Glass as a Canvas

In the world of fine art, a master painter begins with canvas selection. A linen canvas is nearly always selected over cotton because nothing delivers the artist’s authentic vision quite like linen. Similarly, with glass.

Cladding and Facade Systems | Oct 26, 2021

14 projects recognized by DOE for high-performance building envelope design

The inaugural class of DOE’s Better Buildings Building Envelope Campaign includes a medical office building that uses hybrid vacuum-insulated glass and a net-zero concrete-and-timber community center.

Glass and Glazing | Oct 26, 2021

Façade design for cost, performance, and delivery [AIA course]

HOK Technical Principal David Frey outlines best practices for designing building envelopes that live up to the aesthetic vision of the project while being cost-effective, high-performing, and quick to install.

Fire-Rated Products | Oct 21, 2021

Safti First Fights Through Assertions Made By Plaintiffs Ely Holdings Limited And Greenlite Glass Systems That Safti First’s Fire Rated Floor System Infringed On Their Patent

In a summary judgement dated February 3, 2021, Chief Magistrate Joseph C. Spero of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the patent infringement claims filed by Ely Holdings Limited (Ely) and Greenlite Glass Systems (Greenlite) against SAFTI FIRST, a USA fire rated glass and framing manufacturer, could not proceed to trial, finding that the SAFTI FIRST’s fire resistant floor does not violate Ely’s patent.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

BD+C University Course

For glass openings, how big is too big?

Advances in glazing materials and glass building systems offer a seemingly unlimited horizon for not only glass performance, but also for the size and extent of these light, transparent forms. Both for enclosures and for indoor environments, novel products and assemblies allow for more glass and less opaque structure—often in places that previously limited their use.




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: