ORAÉ®, or glazing in service of the environment
It's time to move from words to action. Saint-Gobain Glass in July unveiled the world's first "low-carbon glass" with the promise that it will revolutionize the way investors look at green architecture. The solution has just been given a name: ORAÉ® and is already in the manufacturer's product range, with production having begun on an industrial scale. This one-of-a-kind glazing is already opening up new possibilities for the construction of planet-friendly buildings. However, its impact on improving the condition of the environment has a much broader context.
Views of a better future
The popularity of façade glass, both when it comes to commercial and private developments, continues to grow. The modern design of the body of the building, the reduction of the load on the structure, the possibility of actively creating an atmosphere in the interiors, durability - the benefits can be listed endlessly. The use of such solutions is observed in an increasing number of realizations, in almost every latitude. There is also a steadily growing awareness among investors that buildings are responsible for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions, and by 2050 half of emissions will come from embedded carbon footprint. Moreover, facades can account for up to 20% of a building's embedded carbon footprint, while glazing alone accounts for up to 12% of a facade's embedded carbon footprint.
SAS building in Stockholm
Photo: Lasse Olsson © Saint-Gobain
In response to these challenges, Saint-Gobain Glass is introducing ORAÉ® glass with the lowest carbon footprint on the market. It uses 70% recycled cullet as the primary raw material (including 55% external cullet) and energy from renewable sources throughout the manufacturing process. As a result, the carbon footprint value for ORAÉ® base glass with a thickness of 4 mm is 7 kg CO2 eq/m2 - almost 40% less than for previously manufactured solutions! However, there are far more benefits that ORAÉ® glass has to offer.
An ecological foundation
The vision of implementing pro-environmental innovations stemming from Saint-Gobain Glass' overarching goal of "Making the World a Better Home" has put glass at the disposal of builders and architects as a kind of foundation for highly selective coatings, together with which it forms a solution that changes our view of sustainable construction.
As a first step, ORAÉ® has found its way into the COOL-LITE® XTREME line of solar control facade glass, which stands for optimal illumination of spaces and thermal comfort for users. COOL-LITE® XTREME ORAÉ® glazing, thanks to its parameters (g=0.33, Lt=70%, S=2.12 for the COOL-LITE® XTREME 70/33 ORAÉ® variant), will help protect interiors from overheating and significantly reduce the need to cool or light them, reducing the building's energy demand, which contributes to reducing the operational carbon footprint. The use of ORAÉ® base glass will simultaneously make it possible to reduce a building's built-in carbon footprint. The perfect duo for sustainability.
Glass factory in Dąbrowa Górnicza
Closed loop economy
Putting the environment first, ORAÉ® glass manufacturing technology fits perfectly into the model of a closed-loop economy that seeks to minimize the use of natural resources, energy or water consumption - and this directly contributes to the decarbonization process of the construction sector. This is because glass is a material that is easily recycled.
It can be produced from recycled materials without any changes in its composition, retaining its durability, functionality and unparalleled visual properties. The use of cullet, including that from third-party sources, in the glass manufacturing process fulfills the tenets of a closed-loop economy, which are the essence of sustainable construction.
Glass factory in Dabrowa Górnicza
High-performance facade glazing is undoubtedly the future of architecture. They make buildings even more environmentally friendly. The use of sustainable glass solutions directly translates into the possibility of obtainingbetter scores in prestigious environmental certifications, such as Well, BREEAM or LEED, increasing the value of each investment. The primary document that confirms a solution's beneficial impact on the climate is the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). In the case of ORAÉ® glass, it will be issued in 2023, when the standard verification procedure by a team of independent experts is completed. However, today we can already provide information on three planned developments in France where ORAÉ® glass will be installed:
- Bouygues Immobilier's state-of-the-art California office building in Hauts-de-Seine,
- Icade Santé in the Polyclinique de Parc hospital in Caen,
- Nexity in the Carré Invalides rehabilitation project in Paris.
The start of regular industrial production of base glass with a reduced carbon footprint is undoubtedly one of the most important events in the history of Saint-Gobain Glass, as well as the entire glass industry, and a signal to investors that sustainable architecture is not a melody of the future, but real solutions that can be applied today. It's also another step toward achieving zero-carbon in the building sector by 2050, while providing maximum multi-faceted comfort for building users. ORAÉ® glass is the perfect proof that ecology and wellbeing are the optimal complement to sustainable space.
For more information, visit the company's Saint-Gobain Glass page on the PdA portal.