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How does glazing reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects?

26 of May '23

One only has to look around to understand that "sustainability," "green building" and "zero waste" are not just empty slogans or a fad, but the real foundations of responsible businesses actively engaged in contributing to local and global ecosystems. The constant search for innovative green solutions, putting efforts into reducing the negative impact of the construction sector and architecture itself on the world around us, and finally treating the fight for a better tomorrow not as an opportunity, but as an obligation, mean that we are witnessing a historic change taking place in the construction industry. One of its leaders today is becoming Saint-Gobain Glass, which has launched ORAÉ®, a base glass officially recognized as the glazing with the lowest carbon footprint.

Over the past few decades, humanity has made tremendous progress in civilization, and there is no indication that this force can be stopped. We are surrounded by unbelievable technological achievements, which until recently remained only in the realm of imagination. They are having an increasing impact on, among other things, the processes of shaping the urban fabric. But is this development cost-free?

Primary goal - to reduce carbon emissions

The construction industry is responsible for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Such sensitive values result not only from the day-to-day operation of buildings (the so-called operational carbon footprint), but also from the manufacturing processes used to produce the individual structural components that make up the final project (the embedded carbon footprint of the building). Reducing emissions along these two pathways is therefore crucial to combating climate change and improving the state of our planet. What share does appropriate glazing play in the reduction? Not insignificant, it has been calculated that glazing accounts for 12% of a facade's carbon footprint. It therefore becomes important to find a solution that preserves the excellent performance of "glass walls" without burdening the environment.

The development of architectural solutions that meet environmental requirements is due not only to the growing environmental awareness of investors, but also to restrictive regulations - both local and international. These are designed to prepare the legal foundations that will facilitate the implementation of a roadmap to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

An example is the European Green Deal, or the Fit for 55 regulatory package, which includes a series of regulations and directives related to reforms concerning, among other things, decarbonizing every possible field, increasing energy production from renewable sources to 40% by 2030, or nearly doubling overall energy consumption. Conscious, responsible manufacturers, realizing the need for change, are undertaking a whole range of activities to meet these pro-environmental requirements. Such activities are also part of the long-term sustainability strategy of the Saint-Gobain Glass brand, which in September 2022 redefined the investors' view of low-carbon glass, surprising the industry with a solution that no one in the world has yet.

The industry revolution is named ORAÉ®

stłuczka szklana

cullet glass

© Saint-Gobain Glass

ORAÉ® base glass represents a milestone in the development of environmentally friendly architecture. This is because its sustainable production combines two extremely important factors: the use of increased cullet and the use of renewable energy sources.

ORAÉ® takesCO2 reduction standards to a new level. For 4-mm-thick glass, that's only 6.64 kg ofCO2 per m² over the product's entire life cycle (cradle-to-grave analysis), which is 42% less compared to the solutions used to date, says Monika Naczeńska, Marketing Manager at Saint-Gobain Glass. - Such a conscious approach to creating solutions for the 21st century has resulted in ORAÉ® passing the EPD declaration verification and is now officially recognized as the glass with the lowest carbon footprint. It has also received prestigious industry accolades, including the TOPBuilder 2023 award, confirming its high position in the market, he adds.

Nagroda TopBuilder 2023 dla szkła ORAÉ®

TopBuilder 2023 award for ORAÉ® glass.

© Saint-Gobain Glass

The possibility of using this solution in investments will enable the construction sector to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, develop a closed-loop economy and combat climate change more effectively.

The perfect duo of performance and user comfort

ORAÉ® glass has found its way into the COOL-LITE® XTREME line of facade glazing, which is characterized by an excellent level of selectivity. This means the highest ratio of transmitted light to protection from the sun's heat, while maintaining the neutral appearance of the sheet. The result? Providing users with both thermal comfort and optimum illumination of rooms with natural light, and the planet with a well-deserved breather from reduced energy intensity of investments.

ORAÉ® glass is our proposal that will contribute to promoting the principles of sustainable architecture of tomorrow. It is also a confirmation of the Saint-Gobain Group's full commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050," concludes Monika Naczeńska.

The unique characteristics of ORAÉ® glass are attracting the attention of investors from all over the world who are looking for ways to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the condition of the planet and want to meet the demands of the latest trends related to conscious architecture. One recent example confirming this trend is the Swedish Habitat 7 development in Gothenburg, which proves that ORAÉ® glass has and will continue to play a key role in promoting sustainable construction and a low-carbon, circular economy. A façade made with its help will raise the prestige of construction projects and contribute to better scoring in Well, BREEAM or LEED environmental certifications.

Habitat 7, projekt Architect Krook & Tjäder

Habitat 7, designed by Architect Krook & Tjäder - glass on the facade COOL-LITE XTREME ORAE.

© Saint-Gobain Glass

Only integrated and responsible action can contribute to slowing the pace of climate change. Glass fits perfectly into this scenario, becoming the foundation of the architecture of the future.

For more information, visit the company's Saint-Gobain Glass page on the PdA portal.

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