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As the demand for energy continues to increase globally, as well as its cost, many new products are being designed to create, harness, and conserve energy.  This is where architectural glass, whether for cold or hot climates, can play a pivotal role in meeting the new initiatives.  Most architects design buildings, homes, and offices to have a spacious, light and open look.  The advantage of using glass is that it contributes to that appearance by offering outside views and allowing incoming natural light.  However, with glass there are also some disadvantages. With it comes the problem of too much energy entering a building or home, and too much energy escaping the same dwelling.

One solution to this dilemma is Low-e (low emissivity) glass.  The technology behind Low-e glass involves depositing thin film layers of a variety of metals and oxides onto the sheet of glass.  These microscopic depositions, which can be made of different materials, change the properties and performance of the glass to both conserve and deflect energy.  In cold climates, Low-e glass conserves heat inside the building and deflects the cold outside, with the opposite happening in warm climates. 

This is where silver plays a pivotal role and is one of the most critical layers deposited on the glass.  Silver films exhibit infrared properties critical to the reflecting performance of the glass.  As window design has evolved over time, companies continue to use more silver layers on an increasing number of glass panes. This silver is sputter-deposited on the glass during the manufacturing process. This has significantly enhanced the energy performance of advanced glass products which are used in almost all new construction. 

Window glass progression




Figure 1 illustrates the progression of window glass, from single pane, to double pane, then onward to triple pane. 





Silver layers

There is also the increased use of silver in a single coating layer, to double layer, then triple layer silver as illustrated in Figure 2.  

With increased energy legislation mandating the use of Low-e glass in new construction design, there have been impacts to the industry.  Materion, as a premier producer of high quality silver products and advanced material solutions, has the technology to meet the demands of the glass manufacturing industry.  If you would like more information on Materion’s window glass capabilities, please contact: Chris Johnson, Product Marketing Manager,