Why 2015 is set to be the year of multifunctional glazing

Pilkington Glass look ahead to what the coming 12 months has in store for the glass and glazing industry

Despite its longevity, the modern benefits of glass still hold the power to amaze and delight. And thanks to a programme of continual research and development at NSG Group, (the parent company of Pilkington United Kingdom Limited) as we enter the New Year, the popularity and future of specialist glass products and glazing has never looked so bright. According to Gary Nichol, R&D Resource Group Manager, 2015 will be the year that sees multi-functional glass products come to the forefront in a wide range of domestic and commercial settings.

As Gary explains, “homeowners of all kinds are increasingly looking for energy-efficient, high-performance glazing that can perform well in different environments.”

To meet this growing demand, Gary and his expert team at NSG Group, draw on their extensive scientific knowledge and experience to create and update new and existing products for 2015 and beyond. In particular, the team have worked to identify key trends and products that homeowners as well as commercial clients – including architects, builders and planners – will incorporate within their home and/or commercial design concepts – improving their energy-efficiency and helping to reduce maintenance.

So, whether it’s a property revamp and renovation or a larger scale building project, these trends are sure to be of interest. As Gary says: “Glass has always been an extremely versatile building product but advances in glazing technology are enabling the creation of more innovative, multi-functional products that have the ability to work harder, for longer and in a larger range of settings.

“For many of our customers, the days of a window simply being ‘just a window’ are long gone. Customers require glazing that can perform over and above that basic function. The glass within a renovation should be viewed as an integral part of the design not simply an afterthought at the end. Where possible, we want to offer customers glazing options with additional benefits in terms of performance, functionality as well as aesthetics, over and above a ‘simple window’.”

Dual coating

Identified as a prevalent trend for 2015, Pilkington United Kingdom Limited continues to develop a range of specialist coatings – responding to specific consumer needs and the demand of dual coated glazing in particular. One of the main innovation drivers will be dual coated products, which can make better use of existing living space by combining the practical and aesthetic benefits of increased light, better energy efficiency and greater comfort.

The demand for intelligent glazing has stemmed from the associated problems of dated windows and roofs in both commercial and residential applications. A common issue for homeowners can be found in conservatories and homes constructed during the last 30 years.

Often due to limited glazing options, it became apparent that these older structures whether extensions or conservatories had low specification glass, poor quality windows and plastic roofs. People found that these structures were becoming too hot and uncomfortable during the summer months, too cold in the winter as well as being difficult to maintain. The new generation of Pilkington products has helped to resolve these issues.

Pilkington Activ SunShade™ Blue

Offers a cost-effective way to revamp existing, tired looking conservatories or to create new more comfortable modern buildings, NSG Group has worked hard to deliver a range of glass products that offer all the practical multi-functionality and performance that customers now desire.

In residential properties, Pilkington Activ SunShade™ Blueis particularly well-suited to conservatories and orangeries and is perfect for use in roof and vertical panels. Its specialist coatings offer a variety of benefits such as self cleaning which reacts with natural daylight to break down organic matter, and uses rain to wash away loosened dirt combined with solar control performance, which helps to avoid over-heating and creates a more energy-efficient living space to be enjoyed all-year round.

Typically incorporated into roof panels, Pilkington Activ SunShade™ Blue also delivers an aesthetically pleasing function – offering an attractive view from inside thanks to its subtle blue appearance – regardless of what’s happening with the fickle British weather.

Energy efficiency

Energy-efficiency is another addition to the advances in coatings, and is a key trend that will continue to inform and influence the way we buy and use glass in 2015. Combining Pilkington Activ SunShade™ with a product from the Pilkington K Glass™ or Pilkington Optitherm™ ranges in an Insulating Glass Unit (IGU) can help here.

In the glass market as a whole, demand for high-performance, thermal insulation glazing is increasing as consumers, architects, planners and builders react to environmental and legislative changes. And while high performance glazing offers clear benefits, it also presents a new set of challenges, including the issue of external condensation. This natural phenomenon occurs when the external surface temperature of the glass drops below the dew point and is actually proof that the IGU is thermally-efficient and working properly!

Commenting on this issue, Gary says: “This is most commonly seen in the early morning or during the spring and autumn months. As a team we’ve been working hard to develop new products to add to our energy-efficient products to overcome this challenge. The latest addition to our range, Pilkington Anti-condensation Glass, is designed to prevent the onset of condensation, helping to keep views and windows clear. The low-e coating on the product keeps the temperature of the external surface warmer so delays and, in many cases, prevents the onset of external condensation IGUs.”

Decorative glass

Focusing purely on improving the visual appeal of glazing and enhancing the privacy levels in homes, another development for 2015 is the increased use of decorative glass. Moving away from the traditional uses of bathroom and hallway windows, consumers are opting to incorporate textured and privacy glass, such as the Pilkington Oriel collection, into more than just windows – creating stunning glass walls, partitions as well as panel features.

For more information, visit www.pilkington.co.uk

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