For many years, the effect of glazing on energy performance, home comfort and safety has been greatly underutilised in Australia. Poorly designed windows and inefficient glass can make your home too hot or too cold increasing demand on artificial heating and air conditioning and making your home unsafe. Many Australian home owners are unaware of the high performance options available.
Well chosen window glass will help you maintain year round comfort and even reduce your power bills as well as making your home safe and secure. There are literally thousands of glass types available to use in your home windows. The choice in glazing options has grown dramatically in recent years.
Some of the more commonly used glass types are:
And although ensuring compliance with the Building Code of Australia is crucial, there are a few other factors to take into consideration when choosing your glass type. For example – security, noise reduction, maximizing natural light, and how to lower energy consumption – are all important discussion points to make sure you’re making the best possible choice for your home.
Float Glass is the common glass that tends to break into large, jagged shards. It is used in some end products — often in double-glazed windows, for example. It is also the starting material that is turned into more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening, coating, etc. The float glass process is renowned for flatness and optical clarity.
Toughened glass is treated to be far more resistant to breakage than simple annealed glass, and to break in a more predictable way when it does break, thus providing a major safety advantage in almost all of its applications.
Counteracting stresses give toughened glass its increased mechanical resistance to breakage, and are also, when it does break, what cause it to produce regular, small, typically square fragments rather than long, dangerous shards that are far more likely to lead to injuries. Toughened glass also has an increased resistance to breakage as a result of stresses caused by different temperatures within a pane.
Toughened glass has extremely broad application. Glass portions of building façades, glass sliding doors and partitions in houses and offices, and many other products typically use toughened glass.
Laminated glass is made of two or more layers of glass with one or more “interlayers” of polymeric material bonded between the glass layers.
Laminated glass offers many advantages. Safety and security are the best-known of these — rather than shattering on impact, laminated glass is held together by the interlayer, reducing the safety hazard associated with shattered glass fragments, as well as, to some degree, the security risks associated with easy penetration.
Laminated glass is used extensively in building and housing products and in the automotive and transport industries. Most building façades and most car windscreens, for example, are made with laminated glass, usually with other technologies also incorporated.
Insulated Glass Units (Double Glazing)
Two or more panels of glass are bonded to a perimeter spacer, either a metal or thermoplastic spacer, (TPS). Either air or argon gas fills the space between the glass panes. Their primary benefit is insulation and solar control. Most types of glass can be incorporated into an insulating glass unit.
Low-E (Low Emissive) Glass
Low-E glass has a low rate of emission – that is it has a lower rate than clear float glass of allowing heat to pass through the glass. In other words, if there is a heat source inside your house (or outside), the glass bounces the heat from that object back away from the glass.