How to Balance Solar Glass Colour with Performance
Solar Glass, or Solar Control Glass, refers to techniques and products used to manage the effects of solar glare and solar gain, such as shading devices or reflective coatings on windows.
Solar Control Glass reduces the amount of heat entering a building while still allowing natural light to permeate the interiors.
Traditionally, Solar Glass has been characterised by a blue tint, a signifier of the protective coatings that prevent ultraviolet and infrared light from entering, as well as overheating.
Now, glass interlayers and coatings can retain the same protective properties while also maintaining a neutral coloration, making tints and external shades a rendering, aesthetic choice, rather than an imposition.
How Solar Glass Coatings Work
Depending on the degree of protection to light transmission ratio, Solar Control glass applications such as fully glazed facades, roof glazing and large frameless windows can feature a variety of different coatings.
Metal oxide, for example, is a coating on the internal face of the external pane of glass on a double or triple glazed unit. The metal oxide reduces the amount of short-wave radiation that travels through the glass unit, thus reducing the natural increase of indoor heat levels.
Silver inlayer coatings are extremely effective when it comes to thermal regulation and anti-reflectiveness, as silver becomes increasingly more protective the more layers are involved, while still offering the same amount of light transmission as one single layer.
A single silver layer is placed between two durable top and bottom layers.
Depending on the desired reflectivity, a single silver layer option can offer up to 60% light transmission, while letting in only 40% of the total solar energy.
With a double silver interlayer option, up to 63% of natural daylight is let into the interiors, while only 33% solar energy can pass through. Intuitively, with a triple silver layer, the natural light intake remains at a total of 60%, while bringing down the solar energy intake to a mere 29%.
This can all still be achieved with neutral external glass tones, however, when projects require a particular tint as part of the overall aesthetic, there are also a range of solar glass colours that can be applied. Colours include but are not limited to warm grey, green, black and white.
Dynamic Glazing and Shifting Shades
If adaptability and chromatic shifts are the design choice for a project, Electrochromic and Photochromic Glass would be the most suitable options.
Electrochromic Glass is an active, smart glass technology controlled via electrical power. This conductive coating is applied within the glass unit which contains metal ions. The electricity then draws the ions to one face of the coating which changes both the appearance and performance of the glazing solution.
Photochromic Glass is a passive, smart glass technology shading system which uses solar radiation as a catalyst to start the shading process. This type of protection does not require electrical power and changes the look of the glass from neutral-clear to as dark a shade as needed for the highest protection levels possible.