When you’re having an office building constructed, a number of considerations come into play. Interior design is a primary concern because it directly affects the comfort, satisfaction, and productivity of your staff. Exterior elements are equally important since they have a hand in projecting your company’s image to the outside world.
While appearance and functionality are important, the materials used in the construction of your building are crucial. They have significant impacts on energy efficiency and operating costs as well as all those previously mentioned factors. Though dozens of construction materials are available, glass could be one of the most beneficial choices from several perspectives.
Glass is one of the most common materials of choice for office buildings these days, and its popularity has certainly grown over the years. In fact, worldwide sales of flat glass panels recently topped $72 billion. Analysts expect the upward trend to continue during the years to come.
Despite glass’s fame, quite a few people question its benefits for widespread use in construction. With green building and energy efficiency being growing concerns, many people believe glass goes against the grain of current construction expectations. In reality, few things could be further from the truth.
All-glass offices offer numerous advantages in terms of efficiency. For one, glass panels for exterior walls allow for maximum natural lighting. This helps lower energy costs significantly by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Considering the various types of glass, coatings, and other efficiency-enhancing options on the market at present, this material can certainly aid in lowering heating and cooling costs as well. Although windows of the past allowed for nearly devastating heat transfer, today’s models combat this issue in several ways.
Some reports show modern, ultra-high-efficiency windows can cut energy transfer by 40 percent or more over even their energy star-rated counterparts. This gives them a level of efficiency comparable to that of traditional insulated walls.
On the Inside
While exterior windows should minimize heat transfer, interior glass walls follow a different set of expectations. In many cases, they’re designed to allow for the exchange of heat or air conditioning. This helps reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain comfort levels in various rooms throughout the building. Of course, if you need varying temperatures in different rooms, specialized coatings and other insulative measures can be added as necessary.
As is the case with exterior windows, glass walls inside your office space allow light to shine through. This means you won’t have to waste as much electricity for artificial lighting as you would if the light were blocked by walls made of wood, drywall, or other opaque materials.
Today’s glass is much more effective at blocking heat transfer than earlier versions were, and its insulative properties are easily adjustable to meet your unique needs. This certainly isn’t the only benefit of having an all-glass building, though. You’ll find plenty of other advantages as well.
Until the 1950s, glass buildings were unheard of. Glass panels of the time had numerous weaknesses, both literal and figurative. Because of this and other factors, people simply didn’t trust glass alone to protect them against the elements. Improvements in the glass industry and construction sector brought glass into a new light, though.
Today’s glass curtain walls and interior panels offer considerable strength when compared to panes of the past. They’re not completely impervious to damage, but they’re highly resistant to it. Shatterproof glass and films improve resistance and help safeguard the people inside. Something as simple as an office chair or employee bumping into a glass wall certainly won’t cause any damage, and flying debris from outside isn’t likely to be a problem, either.
Protection against Radiation
Not very long ago, windows were notorious for allowing the sun’s UV rays to radiate through. This caused furniture and carpeting to quickly fade and wear out. At the same time, prolonged exposure to certain types of UV rays can lead to a range of health issues, including skin and eye damage.
Some modern glass panels block as much as 99.5 percent of potentially harmful UV rays. They’ll prolong the life of your office furniture, meaning you won’t have to replace it as often as you might otherwise. Radiation-blocking technology also protects your staff members from exposure and the resulting health issues.
Glass offers a great deal of decorative appeal as well as versatility for architectural purposes. On the inside, glass panels are beautiful, functional, and accommodating. With movable glass partition systems, you can even rearrange your workspaces at will without having to invest a great deal of money in renovations.
On top of all those benefits, glass is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials on the market. It’s completely recyclable, so manufacturers don’t have to use unnecessary resources to create new panels. When compared to many manufacturing and recycling processes, reclaiming glass doesn’t require exorbitant amounts of energy or create excess harmful emissions, either.
As mentioned, several types of glass are available. You can have various coatings, insulative options, and other features added per your specifications. Double-pane windows are among the most widely used in construction. They’re composed of two panels of glass with a layer of inert gas, such as argon, in between to ramp up their efficiency.
When building an all-glass building, though, double panes may not be enough. Triple-pane windows might be your best option. They consist of three layers of glass with inert gas sandwiched between each interior space.
Low-e, or low-emissivity, glass is also an alternative. These panels feature a coating that’s designed to reduce the amount of radiation flooding through the glass and help lower heat transfer. Suspended film glass is another option. It offers improved efficiency over standard triple-pane glass while being more lightweight as well.
One of the benefits of glass is its transparency, but many people are concerned about the resulting lack of privacy. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice privacy to gain all the benefits of glass. Smart glass allows you to transform your panels from clear to frosted at the touch of a button. Windows with built-in blinds and shades are likewise available.
Having an all-glass office building comes with several advantages. Efficiency, aesthetic appeal, versatility, and recyclability are only a few of the benefits. Manufacturers can add a range of extra features to suit your distinct needs. Though many naysayers think glass couldn’t possibly be an energy-efficient option, it’s actually the perfect choice for those who want to go green and reduce their carbon footprint on several levels.
Have glass installs in your plans? Be sure to check out KLEIN products for easily maneuverable interior sliding glass systems and hardware.
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