What Is Low Emissivity Glass? The Facts You Need To Know
Low emissivity glass, or low-e glass, is a special type of energy-efficient glass that can help you drastically reduce your reliance on heating and cooling systems. This not only means it’s easier to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures year round, but it can translate to thousands of dollars in savings on your commercial utility bills.
Low emissivity glass has a special type of coating that improves its insulation value. These low-e glass coatings are microscopically thin, transparent layers of some type of metallic oxide with a low emissivity rating, meaning that it is harder for thermal energy to pass through them compared to standard window glass.
In other words, low-e glass reflects infrared and UV rays from the sun back out to keep your building cool in hot weather, and blocks warm air from your HVAC system from escaping through the glass to keep your building warm in cold weather.
Why is this so important? Well, installing low emissivity glass throughout a building can reduce heat transfer and heat loss somewhere in the ballpark of 40-70%.
Consider that the average commercial office building spends $1.50-$2.00 per square foot on energy every month, which translates into tens of thousands of dollars a year for most facilities. Now, consider that somewhere in the range of 10-30% of those expenses are due to making up for heat gain and loss through poorly insulated windows.
When you take all these factors into account, you can easily imagine how much money you can save on unnecessary heating and cooling costs over the years.
All this talk about energy savings probably sounds great, but what about other concerns like security? You may be wondering whether or not low-e glass can make your property more secure and how it performs against impacts.
Unfortunately, low-e coatings do not make the glass any stronger than traditional window glass. All low-e coatings do is make your windows more energy efficient. If you’re concerned about security threats like forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, rioting, looting, and storm damage, low emissivity glass is not going to help you.
In order to improve your property’s physical security against these types of threats, you have to retrofit your glass doors and windows with some type of security glazing to reinforce them and protect your existing glass from impacts.
Security glazing is not specifically designed for energy efficiency, and thus does not have low emissivity coatings. However, that’s not to say that it can’t help you make your building more energy efficient.
Let us explain: when you retrofit security glazing over top of your existing glass, you’re essentially adding a pane of glass to your windows. The extra pane, and the pocket of air between the two panes, can go a long way towards improving the insulation of your facility.
This is the same concept as replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows, or replacing double-pane windows with triple-pane windows — the more sheets of glass there are, the more insulated and energy efficient the building is.
In fact, since retrofit security glazing is installed along with security framing, it can even go a step further towards improving window energy efficiency by sealing any gaps around the existing framing system where thermal energy is passing through.
Improve Window Energy Efficiency and Security All At Once
Now that you have a better understanding of what low emissivity glass is, and what it does and doesn’t do, let us tell you about a solution we have for you to drastically improve your property’s security that can also help cut down on energy costs: ArmorPlast®.
ArmorPlast® is a proprietary line of polycarbonate security glazing shields from Riot Glass®. Its unique composition means it looks, feels, and functions like traditional window glass, but it has the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate.
These glazing shields are specifically designed for a range of commercial security applications. They protect businesses and facilities from forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, rioting, looting, storm damage, and more by creating an invisible barrier over existing window and storefront glass to protect it from impacts and prevent it from shattering.
ArmorPlast® is ideal for:
ArmorPlast® does not have a low-e coating and is not designed primarily for improving energy efficiency, but it can still block out infrared and UV rays and keep warm air from escaping through windows and doors.
The polycarbonate sheets and their accompanying security framing systems act as an extra pane of glass and seal existing windows, which can result in reduced energy costs for you and your facility.
ArmorPlast® adds security and insulation without changing the appearance of your building, hurting the curb appeal of your building, blocking out natural light, or inhibiting views. It’s the ultimate invisible defense against a full range of security threats, with the added benefit of improved window energy efficiency.
Benefits of ArmorPlast®:
Energy efficiency is a big concern for commercial buildings, but so is security. Low emissivity glass can drastically reduce your monthly utility bills, but it does nothing to protect against security threats, such as burglary, rioting, looting, and storm damage.
All those energy savings are going to be cancelled out if your property is targeted by criminals or suffers extensive storm damage. Security glazing keeps your property protected from these risks, and can still provide some energy savings.
Contact Riot Glass® today for more information about our ArmorPlast® solutions or to schedule a consultation.