Glass firms reflect on threat of green ruling

Debate is raging in the construction industry about the external facades of commercial buildings. The government will next year introduce rules on energy performance, which will mean big changes for glass manufacturers.

One adviser to the amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations told CJ that contractors working on office buildings will need to use less glass in facades to meet regulations for low-carbon design.The source said: "It is recommended at 40% of the building’s area, whereas for the past few years, buildings tended to be fully glazed over.We would encourage building designers to use less glass."

However, Pilkington market development manager for Europe Rick Wilberforce argued that glass will help buildings meet carbon targets.

He said: "We don’t see the regulations in themselves placing any limits on glazing. There’s nothing inherent in the regulations that will cause a reduction in glass facades.

"Our view is that large areas of glazing could be quite positive from an energy point of view. We shouldn’t just look at a window in terms of U-value and energy loss."

Wilberforce said innovations in coatings will control heat and light in buildings. He added that the regulations will see an increase in twin-skin facades.

He added: "The Building Regulations in general are a major driver for business and Part L is particularly important to glazing manufacturers. It’s an issue that’s very high on the agenda."

Davis Langdon partner Simon Rawlinson agreed that specifiers will choose glass facades, as buildings will be measured for their overall carbon production. He said: "The U-values have remained the same from 2002, so there are no materials that are going to be disadvantaged. It’s their overall contribution to carbon reduction targets, and this is where solar shading and controlling heat gains at the building’s perimeter comes in."

Rawlinson said heaters and coolers have the biggest influence in reducing carbon emissions. "It gets very complicated, but if you do reduce solar gain at the perimeter, you get a saving in the cooling plant."

600450 Glass firms reflect on threat of green ruling

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