How to choose architectural glazing for cold climates

If the glazing solutions of a building are not suitable for cold climates, the internal temperature cannot be kept to a comfortable level because the warm air will travel outside.  

Thermal efficiency is the key point when it comes to choose the right architectural glazing for cold climates. By using high thermally insulating glazing, it is possible to keep the internal temperature to a comfortable level to live and have more sustainable lifestyle for the environment. 

Read on below for some further insights into how to specify architectural glazing for cold climates.

cold climate glazing
sliding glass door in a cold climate

Thermal Performance of Glazing in Cold Climates

Glazing solutions have two main components which are 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. 

The thermal break makes the frame as two different interior and exterior sections. This break decreases the heat energy transfer across the framing profile using a low thermal conductive polyamide, or polyurethane material. These materials are generally preferable to make that thermal break because these materials are excellent thermal barriers. 

The glazing element of the system is also should be insulated; a gas filling and spacer bars between the glass panels will make the glazing insulated and thermally broken.  

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 installation.  

The lower the U value, the better insulating the architectural glazing solution so for cold climate installations we are often looking to achieve the lowest possible Uw value.

floor to ceiling architectural glazing
oversized glass wall in Belgium

Triple Glazing for Cold Climates

As the glass of an architectural glazing installation 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 (the Ug value).  

When it comes to the cold climates triple glazed systems are often the better choice for any residential or commercial projects. The three glazing layers provide better insulation and therefore triple glazed solutions have better Uw values 

IQ can design, manufacturer and install all our glazing solutions as triple glazed like ultra-slim sliding glass doors. This rooftop glass extension in Brussel, Belgium is wrapped with ultra-slim, triple glazed sliding glass doors. The highly insulated penthouse got the best temperature anytime of a year and high hurricane resistance if there is a strong wind. 

Our Invisio glass façade solution can be installed as triple glazed. This allows more flexibility for project owners in cold climate environment to use more glazing rather than building materials. Maximised glazing means more natural light and stunning and surrounding landscape views to enjoy. Bespoke architectural glazing also allows blending the indoors and outdoors together to feel like living in a one environment.

ultra-slim aluminium framing profiles
oversized sliding glass doors in Switzerland

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.

architectural glazing for cold climates

Structural Glazing for Cold Climates

A common myth of cold climate projects is that you have to use fewer glazing elements to create a highly insulated building. However, this is not true. Our frameless effect structural glazing solutions have excellent thermal performance that can be used within a highly insulated building design.  

IQ offers the high-quality glazing installations that also resistant against the heavy rains, snows and winds. Our bespoke structural glazing is suitable in every seasonal condition all year round.

Villa Wallis project is a great example with combining many glazing elements in a such a cold environment. The new build house sits in the Alpines in Switzerland. Oversized structural and sliding glass doors with high thermal value protected the family and let them enjoy the beautiful view.

The same style glazing can be used for ski chalets. Frameless effect framing and glazing allow the daylight while watching the stunning surrounded area in cosy and warm chalets.

Contact our architectural glazing experts today to discuss your next cold climate project in anywhere in the world.