February 08, 2019

Meeting the Evolving Demands of Glass

by Eric Thompson

Commercial construction never stops evolving. Architects and designers continue to push boundaries, while new building codes and standards push performance demands to new heights.

Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t already know. But recently, we’ve explored a few new trends that have the potential to take hold in the glass world over the coming years. Maybe it’s smart glass. Maybe it’s solar windows. Maybe it’s something we haven’t heard of yet.

We might be years away from some of those things becoming commonplace, but our industry should always be on the lookout for this kind of evolution. Because no matter how glass technology changes, we always remember our goal: Delivering high performance products that contribute to a beautiful and functional whole.

Sometimes I think it’s worth reminding ourselves why every part of that sentence is so important.

Performance. Glass products must stand up to the new demands all around the world, and those demands are getting tougher.

We noted back in December that governments like Canada are imposing bold new climate change action plans that will call for new heights in thermal performance. As a fundamental part of the building envelope, the fenestration community must be ready to meet its end of the bargain. Taking advantage of new components and technologies that deliver on the thermal demands of tomorrow’s buildings will be essential.

Aesthetics. There’s long been some push and pull in the industry over window-to-wall ratios, but as far as looks are concerned, glass is winning the battle. Increasingly complex and prominent glass designs are being incorporated in new structures all over the world.

Take this recent commercial project that the Quanex team took part in: The Anaha Ward Village in Honolulu, one of the most sophisticated and design-forward high-rises in Hawaii. The striking, multifaceted curved-glass façade utilizes the proven performance of products like our Super Spacer® technology to achieve a true architectural marvel.

Functionality. While thermal performance is a top priority, how we’re thinking about indoor environments is growing more comprehensive. Increasingly, commercial glass manufacturers and glaziers must be working toward holistic occupancy comfort.  

For instance, my colleague Joe Erb talked about the desirable benefits of daylighting in a recent contribution to USGlass magazine. “There’s plenty of data detailing how efficient buildings can save on energy costs, but now we’re seeing that the benefits are far greater than just that,” Joe writes. “There’s a definite correlation between access to natural light and several work and wellness benefits.”
Performance, aesthetics and functionality are all intrinsically linked. None would be possible without the other, and it’ll take our industry’s continued commitment to each of those values to ensure that we’ll continue to thrive.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Eric.Thompson@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: February 08, 2019 by Eric Thompson Filed under: design, glass, trends