How to Specify Glazing for Cold Climates
Thermal efficiency is key when it comes to choosing the right glazing solution for cold climate builds. By using highly thermally insulating systems, internal temperatures can be sustainably kept at a comfortable level to ensure the occupants’ comfort while reducing energy consumptions.
Thermal Performance of Glazing in Cold Climates
Glazing solutions are made of two main components: the glass and the framing profile. Both glass and frame should be thermally broken for cold weather climates to be able to provide the higher thermal efficiency.
A thermal break separates the frame into two sections from within, which decreases the heat energy transfer across the framing profile by using a low thermal conductive polyamide, or polyurethane, as these materials are excellent thermal barriers.
The glazing element of the system is also insulated with a gas filling, while the inclusion of spacer bars between the glass panes creates a thermal break within the glass unit.
The glass of the installation with have a thermal performance denoted by a Ug value. The framing will have a thermal performance as well (a Uf value). These come together with the Psi value of the spacer bar to provide the Uw value, which is the overall thermal performance of the architectural glazing unit.
The lower the U value, the better the insulation. For this reason, the ideal glazing configurations for cold climates aim to achieve the lowest possible Uw values.
Heated Glass for Cold Climates
Heated glass is a one of the technical glass solutions that can be used as condensation relief, to stop the snow build up or heat source. It is a transparent metal oxide coated glass unit and has buzz bars on head and base of the glazing unit which electricity passes through to generate heat. This electricity system is completely invisible within the glass so does not interrupt views.
When the electricity passes through the coating, it creates a radiant heat source. It can provide the main heat sourcing to an entire space or can be used as supplementary heating to keep the glass surface warm.
In cold climates, heated glass can be used on glass roofs to stop building up snow or ice on the outside of the glass installation.
This glass solution can be used for many commercial building designs in the cold climate environment such as restaurant by the ski resort, luxury spas and hotels. A luxury resort hotel in Finland used this technical solution to keep an above 0 temperature to the outside of their snow pods. The heated glass solution ensured that the glass roofs were free from snow at all times to allow the occupants to view the Northern Lights.
Triple Glazing for Cold Climates
As the glass of an architectural glazing system is the largest part of the surface, the greatest improvement in the Uw value can be achieved through improving the thermal performance of the glass itself (the Ug value).
Especially for cold climates, triple glazed units are often the first choice for any residential or commercial project, as three glazing layers provide better insulation by achieving better Uw values.
IQ can design, manufacture and install all glazing solutions as triple glazed even in ultra-slim configurations such as our sliding glass doors, as seen in this rooftop glass extension in Brussel, Belgium, where triple glazed hurricane resistant slim sliding glass doors ensure year-round comfortable temperatures even in the face of strong winds and harsher weather conditions.
Our Invisio glass façade solution can also be specified as triple glazed. This allows more creative flexibility in colder climate environment for designs that wish to maximise views through a highly glazed configuration.
This allows more natural light to permeate into the interior living spaces as well as immersing the structure into its surrounding landscape to fully take advantage of panoramic views.
Structural Glazing for Cold Climates
A common myth surrounding cold climate projects suggests using as few glazing elements as possible in order to create a highly insulated building, and while that may have been the case in the past, it is no longer true.
Contemporary glazing solutions such as our frameless effect structural glazing achieve excellent thermal performance levels that enhance the overall thermal insulation of a build exactly because it features a highly glazed design.
IQ’s high specification systems are also resistant to heavy rain, snow and strong winds, making our bespoke structural glazing suitable year-round across all climate conditions.
Villa Wallis is another great example of glazing elements enhancing the thermal insulation of a build in a cold environment. The new home is etched within the Swiss Alps through oversized fixed structural glass in combination with slim sliding glass doors, achieving the ideal thermal values for Alpine climates while still allowing dwellers to fully enjoy the beautiful mountain views.
Contact our architectural glazing experts today to discuss your next project in a cold climate.