Architectural Glass of Today and Tomorrow

October 2nd, 2015 by Casey Flores
Urmilla Sowell

Urmilla Sowell

Food and flat glass dynamics. Those were the two things the International Window Film Association (IWFA) brought WFCT 2015 attendees during the lunch hour for IWFA Education Day.

Urmilla Joku-Sowell, a 15-year fenestration industry member and technical director of the Glass Association of North America (GANA), explained what’s going on in the flat glass world.

“How does a trend start?” she asked. “Usually, there’s something that’s driving it. For architectural glass, it’s energy performance.”

She started with what’s happening with low-E coatings.

“They’re putting 2 coatings on the number 2 surface and the number 4 surface,” which is the internal glass, Sowell explained. This is helping dual-paned windows achieve triple-paned performance.

While there’s an effort to decrease glass usage in buildings by some code organizations, Sowell was quick to point out its usefulness, particularly with daylighting.

Companies, organizations and people with glass that provides daylighting have:

  • A 6-percent increase in retail sales;
  • A 20-percent increase in cognitive test rates;
  • 39 additional work hours per year in office worker productivity;
  • A 9- to 16-percent improved performance on visual memory tests;
  • A 15-percent decreased absenteeism in office workers (when you tune somebody out);
  • A 21-percent increase on student test scores; and
  • Better sleep and reduced depression.

She then turned to retrofitting specifics.

“Fifty-three percent of commercial buildings have single glazing,” she said. “There are solar control and low-E films that can help with the retrofit marketplace.”

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  1. ”Smart Windows” is a very big opportunity for the future in my opinion. Leon Levy Klingshield South Africa.

  2. I would say “smart glasses”. Glasses can be a very important part of our lives in few years, using them in a many unusual situations, like for dividing the room and the bathroom, for separating meeting room from the rest of the office…

    How do you think it can change our lives? How would you like to use glasses?

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