Emirates Glass calls for avoidance of European style transparency in glass

In the hot climate of the Gulf, and in today's age of steel and glass edifices, glass is the 'weakest link' in a building's defences against excessive solar heat gain, according to a senior Emirates Glass Official.

Arthur Millwood, Emirates Glass Technical Manager said: " What we see around us in our city, from outside and inside, are vast areas of glass".Delivering a keynote address to about 200 members and guests gathered for the April meeting of ASHRAE- UAE's Falcon Chapter, Millwood said glass is a cost-effective and durable means of protecting ourselves from the elements. "Dubai has a strong love-affair with glass", he pointed out, "and this will continue".

The Emirates Glass official said that glass is very effective in providing high daylight values and heat-conservation in cold climate regions. "In a heated building, modern transparent glass works very well, but in typical Gulf climatic conditions, can we live with North European levels of transparency?" he asked, "Are transparent buildings compatible with 'Green-Building' principles in terms of energy saving and protection of the environment?"

We know that a large quantity of daylight is the cheapest way to light the interior of a building. But, in the Gulf, a large amount of daylight also brings excessive heat. Here, there is abundance of light and, since light equals heat, too much light can mean unacceptable afternoon heat-gain levels which cost enormous amounts of energy expenditure to maintain a constant cool, comfortable indoor environment.

He said the way out of this problem was to ensure control of specifications for use of glass in buildings, concentrating more on the solar resistance of the glass. This can only be achieved by the use of reflective coatings.

Even when the glass transmits only 5% - 10% of ambient daylight, this is frequently sufficient for many building-types, especially commercial buildings with west facing elevations (the worst case scenario)

The Emirates Glass official praised Dubai Municipality for taking the lead in introducing, and strictly implementing, rules for minimum glass performance levels to ensure that Solar Heat Gain is maintained at reasonable, or low, levels. This is necessary to achieve optimum cooling costs, and also to control the rapidly growing afternoon peak-demand at the Dubai Electricity and Water (Dewa) power generating stations.

Dubai Municipality has taken a major step in recognition of "Green-Building" principles and should continue to look for further ways to strengthen the rules for glass performance in air-conditioned buildings.

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