Jun 2018

7 Pros & Cons of using Glass as a Building Material in commercial properties


A commercial building portrays the work area and ambiance of the building. And if we use glass as a building material, it adds on 10 times more beauty and elegance to the look and feel of the building. Glass is a brilliant material which has various properties and uses, and it presents architects with various new designs and possibilities. It is mostly used as a transparent glazing material in construction and is also used in architectural features like windows, doors, and partitions in the office area.

A glass is basically a transparent hard substance that is created by the application of heat to sand. It is an inorganic, transparent or translucent material and can be easily molded into any shape with the help of high-temperature heat. A glass is a mixture of raw materials like sodium potassium carbonate, lime, Silica, and Manganese oxide.

Glass as a building material is the most versatile and oldest material trusted by architects to be used in the construction of a commercial glass building. And its role in architecture has evolved over the years. Traditionally, the glasses were defined as the supercooled liquids. And this is because the glasses do not behave like metals or plastics on cooling.

Properties of Glass:

1. Strength

A glass is a hard material but it is liable to break easily. Thus, one should be careful while using glass as a building material and in the home as well.

2. U value

U value is the measurement that calculates the amount of heat transferred through the window. The lower the U- values of glass, the better the insulation properties.

3. Workability

A glass can be used in various ways as it can be blown drawn and pressed. Thus, it can be molded into different shapes and serves various purposes.

4. Transparency

A glass is transparent and allows visual connection with the outside world. Though, its transparency can be altered just by adding admixtures and can leave the overall beautiful look of glass.

5. Greenhouse effect

The trapping of heat in the glass leads to a higher temperature and the trapping occurs due to the greenhouse effect.

6. Recyclable

The glass material is totally recyclable and the broken glass scrap is gathered and remelted to be used again.

Most Common Types of Glasses Used for Glass Buildings:

1. Toughened glass

Toughened glass has low visibility and is tempered and it breaks into small dice-like pieces. These types of glasses are available in same thickness and weight as of float glass.

2. Laminated glass

These types of glasses are made by inserting glass panels with a protective layer. Laminated glasses are heavier than normal glass, it is tougher and protects from UV radiation and also insulates sound by around 50%. This glass is used in making aquariums, bridges, floor slabs, staircase etc.

3. Tinted glass

The tinted glass is the one in which a color can be added without compromising the strength of the glass. Various types of chemical elements are added to the glass to create the tint. For example, Iron Oxide is added to give a green tint to the glass, Sulphur is added to add yellow, red or black tint, and Copper Sulphate can turn the glass blue. Etc.

4. Extra clean glass

These types of glasses are hydrophilic, that means it allows water to move over it without leaving marks. Thus, it is easier to maintain and clean this glass.

5. Chromatic glass

These type of glasses control daylight and transparency. These glasses are available in 3 forms, Photochromatic, thermochromatic and Electromatic.
Photochromatic- Light sensitive lamination on the glass
Thermochromatic- Heat sensitive lamination of the glass
Electromatic- Light sensitive glass
Chromatic glasses are usually used in meetings rooms and ICUs.

6. Float glass

Float glass that is also known as clear glass or soda lime glass. This glass is produced by heating the molten glass that is clear and flat. A float glass is available in standard thickness that ranges from 2mm to 20mm approx. This glass is too transparent and is used in making canopies, glass blocks, railings etc.

7. Double glazed glass

A normal glass causes an immense amount of heat, but on the other side, a double glazed glass provides an air gap between 2 glass panes in order to reduce the heat loss or gain. But, a green energy efficient glass can reduce the impact.

Pros of Using Glass as a Building Material

1) A glass can absorb, refracts and transmits 80% of available natural daylight in both the directions.
2) A glass can be made transparent or translucent, thus it adds extraordinary beauty to the building.
3) It can be blown, drawn and pressed to any shape and hence it is used for various purposes.
4) It is dustproof and can be easily cleaned because of smooth and glossy texture
5) Glass does not rust so it does not degrade by time with chemicals and surroundings.
6) A glass is 100% recyclable and it does not degrade during the process of recycling. The broken pieces of glass can be gathered and melted and it becomes reusable.
7) It is unaffected by noise, air, water and most of the acids thus, it makes the building look beautiful lifelong.

Cons of Using Glass as a Building Material

1) A glass is unsafe for earthquake proven area.
2) Use of glass in a building enhances the cost of security because of the transparency
3) The glass is made of very rigid and easily breakable material so when it is subjected to stress, it breaks without strain
4) Broken pieces of glass are very sharp and can hurt badly
5) Glass offers transparency of heat hence the heat needs to be balanced with relatively low R-value.
6) Glass absorbs heat and acts as a greenhouse, hence are not suitable for hot climates.
7) Glare is one of the most problematic things in glass façade building.

How Glass usage helps with environment-friendly office buildings

A glass is 100% recyclable and sustainable; using glass is a great way to conserve the natural resources. The best part about using a glass is it can be recycled numerous times and will still not lose its quality and strength. A glass that is made up of the recycled cullet (scrap or small broken pieces of glass) that creates very less air pollution and water pollution than the glass made up of raw material. A recycled glass saves a lot of natural resources like limestone and sand. Thus, it is advised to use glass over resources that cannot be recycled and reused like plastic.

Thus, a glass can be used in office buildings and one super successful example of glass building is Imperia Mindspace. Mindspace is a commercial office building that is situated in Gurgaon and is made up of glass material. It looks beautiful and attracts the visitors and employees. The best part is Imperia used glass as a building material which is 100% recyclable and environment-friendly.

So, these were some Pros and Cons of using Glass as a Building Material in commercial properties. Overall, using a glass as a commercial building material is best to choose.


Disclaimer: Article published by Imperia Structures

Updated: 03 Jun 2018
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