Written By: Brad Campbell | June 7, 2023
Sustainable commercial architecture, also referred to as green architecture and environmentally-friendly architecture, aims to reduce the carbon footprints of commercial buildings and lessen their negative impact on the environment.
Although sustainable architecture is not a new concept, it has gained more popularity in recent years, and commercial building owners and architects alike are increasingly looking for ways to make their buildings more green, especially in terms of energy efficiency.
While security glass is primarily designed to increase the safety and security of commercial buildings by protecting people and property against various threats, it can also be used to improve a building’s overall sustainability.
When it comes to making commercial buildings more energy efficient using security glass, there are a few main ways you can do so:
One of the most cost-effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings is to retrofit security glazing over all the existing exterior glass.
When you retrofit security glazing over existing glass, there’s no need to remove and replace doors and windows or their framing systems.
Certain types of security glazing can be fixed into or onto existing framing systems using retrofittable framing adapters.
When you do this you’re essentially adding a pane of glass, which improves the energy efficiency of doors and windows by making it harder for hot and cold air to pass through them.
In other words, you could use security glazing to turn a single-pane window into a double-pane window.
Windows with more panes of glass and some air space between the panes reduce solar heat gain (infrared heat from the sun coming through windows) and insulate better, thereby reducing your reliance on heating and cooling systems and cutting down on your property’s energy use.
Another way to make commercial facilities more green with security glass is by using security IGUs, such as ArmorPlast® IGUs.
These unique insulating glass units combine the energy efficiency and insulating properties of standard IGUs with virtually unbreakable ArmorPlast® security glazing.
The ArmorPlast® glazing goes on the outside of the insulating units to protect against impacts and security threats, while the inside surface can be made of security glass, tempered safety glass, or standard annealed glass.
ArmorPlast® security IGUs can be used in new construction or to upgrade existing doors and windows.
As with adding a sheet of security glazing on top of existing glass surfaces, these self-contained IGUs improve energy efficiency because of the two panes of glazing and the insulating space between them.
Additionally, ArmorPlast® security IGUs contain a Riot Glass® shock spacer, which helps the glazing disperse the force of impacts towards the edges of the windows even more efficiently.
A third way to use security glass for sustainable commercial architecture is to install security glazing with low-emissivity coatings.
Low-e coatings on security glass are designed to reflect infrared and ultraviolet light, which helps reduce the amount of heat that is transmitted through the glass. Low-e coatings also help trap warm air inside, insulating buildings better in cold weather.
By reflecting solar heat and preventing warm air from escaping through windows, security glass with low-e coatings can help commercial buildings shrink their carbon footprints by reducing their energy consumption related to running HVAC systems.
Besides making commercial buildings more green in order to achieve the sustainability goals of building owners and architects, there are many other reasons to use security glass. These include:
The primary purpose of commercial security glazing is to protect people and property against the many day-to-day threats that all types of commercial properties are at risk for. It does this by providing access denial, or in other words, keeping bad guys out.
Whether it’s for retail burglary and smash-and-grab theft protection or active threat mitigation in schools, government facilities, and religious buildings, implementing security glazing is the best way to secure vulnerable doors and windows against would-be intruders.
Security glazing also reduces the risk of glass-related injury due to windows breaking from storm damage, blast damage, and other impacts (whether accidental or intentional).
Unlike standard annealed glass, which breaks apart into sharp, dangerous shards that can fly inwards and cause serious injury, security glazing maintains its form, even if it cracks, spalls, or gets riddled by bullets.
Another extra benefit of using security glass to make buildings more energy efficient is that adding extra panes of glazing and insulating spaces between glazing helps block out noise, such as that from traffic, airplanes flying overhead, or construction.
Lastly, security glazing is less prone to breaking or getting damaged than other types of commercial glass, so it’s less likely to require repair and replacement. This even contributes to sustainability by reducing the materials required to maintain commercial buildings over time.
At Riot Glass, LLC we work with commercial building owners and architects to improve the security and sustainability of their buildings all at once.
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