VIG technology is the next evolution of insulating glass technology addressing differences between outside and inside temperatures. VIGs are those that evacuate the shallow space between the glass panes instead of filling it with gas. Ongoing R&D has indicated vacuum-insulated glazing can insulate a home (i.e. prevent conduction) five times better than standard double-pane glass. While this represents a huge leap forward for thermal efficiency, the technology is largely targeted at residential applications , and has not yet seen broad market adoption.
Electrochromic (or ‘dynamic’) glass has been in incubation for nearly five decades, but was only commercialized on a large scale a few years ago. This high-performance glazing solution leverages embedded nanotechnology and building sensors to change its state from clear to tinted on demand, providing greater control over the amount of light and heat (i.e. solar gain) entering a building. This dynamic control significantly cuts down on lighting and HVAC electricity consumption, as well as peak load, enabling reduced HVAC equipment sizing.
One of Canada’s largest acute-care hospitals, Humber River Hospital, is installing dynamic glass to meet both its patient-focused and energy-efficiency objectives at its new state-of-the-art facility in Toronto. Set to open in October, Humber River Hospital’s goal is to use 40 per cent less energy than mandated by NECB; it expects to realize annual savings of about $10/m2 ($1/sf) in utility costs. More importantly, patients will be able to enjoy unobstructed views from their bedside and benefit from natural light, which has been shown to accelerate patient recovery from depression.
With increasingly stringent energy standards, the need for technologies that can elevate architectural design freedom while also reducing a building’s carbon footprint is immense. The allure of glass will always be undeniable among architects, so it is imperative the glazing industry work toward sustainable solutions that can minimize design compromises and maximize energy savings.
Brandon Tinianov, PhD, PE, LEED AP, is the senior director of business development at View, and an expert in energy efficiency and building sciences. His 20 years of experience in the construction industry (including ASTM and International Organization for Standardization [ISO] development) span various materials and systems including insulation, wallboard, glazing, and software controls. Tinianov serves on the board of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Northern California Chapter and as an expert in the California Technical Forum (Cal TF). An accomplished inventor, he has been issued 26 patents, with more than 20 pending.