A Guide To Sustainable Island Architecture

A Guide to Sustainable Island Architecture

The key to achieving genuinely sustainable designs lies in finding an equilibrium between meeting human comfort and safety needs in the face of the more extreme climate challenges that affect island regions. 

Thanks to the latest advancements in high specification glazing technologies, compromises on aesthetics and form are a thing of the past. Today, performance and design appeal stand side by side at the forefront of sustainable island architecture.

Glazing Specifications for Sustainable Island Architecture

Achieving true sustainability relies on the longevity of a structure. By incorporating custom architectural glazing elements suited to the constantly changing needs of occupants, island builds can provide maximum, timeless functionality while achieving the desired performance and aesthetic. 

sustainable island architetcure barbados

Sustainable Indoor-Outdoor Glazing

Island living means taking full advantage of a structure’s environment by maximising views of its coastal panoramas as well as its natural surroundings, effectively blending indoor and outdoor spaces into one seemingly uninterrupted living area.

By using thermal performance enhancing glazing elements made to passive house compliant specifications, both fixed and opening glass units promote natural ventilation flows, light ingress, and thermal insulation all year round.

In tropical island locations such as Barbados and the Caribbean, there are notable technical glazing specifications that would ensure the utmost comfort for dwellers even during the hottest seasons.

Solar Control Glass

The latest advancements in solar control glass technologies have made it possible for solar control coatings to efficiently minimize heat gain and reduce the need for artificial, energy consuming cooling systems, while also allowing plenty of light to permeate interior living spaces. 

Hurricane Resistant Glazing

In areas prone to seasonal hurricane storms, the use of hurricane resistant glazing is indispensable for the overall structural insulation and thermal performance. Consequently, it is mandated by building regulations and safety codes worldwide to ensure the safety and resilience of structures.

Marine Grade Glazing

Island homes and villas face continuous exposure to seafront elements, including sea salt and various chemicals that interact with a structure’s external surfaces. This requires incorporating marine grade glazing systems capable of withstanding these environmental factors. Whether it’s frameless structural glazing or aluminum-framed glazing, a low-maintenance coating is best suited for island environments. This coating helps smooth the microscopically rough surface of the glass, preventing deposits from settling on the glazing elements.

sustainable island architecture avalon villa

Sustainable Glazing in Cold Island Locations

For island locations that are affected by cold temperatures and sometimes freezing ocean winds such as the Channel Islands, marine grade glazing and hurricane resistant glazing are also the ideal specifications to ensure build longevity, as strong windstorms can greatly affect the area. Additionally, heated glass walls would provide a flexible, alternative heating source reaching temperatures between 20°C to 60°C in mere minutes to ensure a comfortable temperature while also preventing condensation from forming on the glass panes.  

Such a configuration would also reduce gas consumptions as heated glass is powered through electricity.

sustainable island architecture channel islands

Sustainable Interior Glazing

In colder island climates, glazing elements integrated within interior spaces and amenities such as indoor pools, spas, and saunas, can also be specified with heated glass, allowing dwellers to regulate temperatures with ease across different living spaces. 

Furthermore, heated glass floorlights would prove a suitable accessory or apt alternative to underfloor heating, all the while flooding otherwise obscured underground rooms with natural light, thus further reducing energy consumption needs. 


Contact the IQ team today to discuss your next sustainable island project.