Safety trends in building glass are addressed in a relatively new discipline – yes, you can even get a degree in it – called fenestration. Created as a master’s degree program and professional certification by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, a fenestration degree encompasses test methods, code requirements, product and material information, and technical and performance standards for the use of glass in building projects.
What’s driving the need for this degree, and why should a business owner looking at a commercial door glass replacement in a renovation or new building project care? The demand for safety from builders and building owners, large and small, continues to grow. Building owners also want assurance that door glass and windows can withstand storms. A consultant who is schooled in fenestration can help guide builders in these areas.
But building owners are also looking for fenestration that is easier to use, particularly with operable windows. This trend has resulted in a boom in new products, including dynamic new storefront systems, tilt-and-turn windows and automatic doors.
Manufacturers have responded to demand for new types of fenestration for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the solutions to various problems building owners and managers face.
- A thin, lightweight glazing product has been designed to hold glass together on impact for four minutes – long enough to give school occupants a meaningful lead. The quarter-inch thick glass holds together under impact with heavy lamination between two safety glass panels. Compare this to bulletproof glass, which can be up to 3 inches thick and cost significantly more that this lightweight product.
- To bring down the shocking figure of 300 million birds killed/year by collisions with glass, Guardian Glass Bird1s has developed bird-friendly exterior glazings. These glazings are applied to laminated glass to break up reflectivity and to make the glass more visible to birds.
- SageGlass Harmony offers in-pane tinting that eliminates defined lines between clear areas and tinted areas. Tinting blocks heat gain and glare, but allows views to be unrestricted.
- Safti First offers Superclear 45-HS-LI. The product uses low-iron glass for super-high visual clarity, with visible light transmission of 90 percent (compared to 88 percent for premium filmed ceramic).
- Manufacturers continue to produce highly insulating windows that are more energy efficient, with triple pane glass, and low-E, but with an eye to bringing the cost down.