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Sustainable architecture is more than a trend

27 of June '23

From the series „Facade and wall materials – trends 2023”

Progressive climate change has become a fact of life, and in order to reduce its pace, action is being taken on many fronts, including the broader construction sector. Responsible and systematic development of environmentally friendly architectural solutions is a challenge facing the entire industry today, which is responsible for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, modern glazing plays an important role. How to use them to create the architecture of the future? How can digital tools developed for modern architecture help in meeting stringent regulatory requirements and investors' expectations?

On the guard for sustainable construction

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. They are designed to prepare the legal foundations that will facilitate the implementation of the roadmap to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, as confirmed, among other things, by the provisions of the European Green Deal. The intermediate step set by the Community, meanwhile, towards the aforementioned goal is to decarbonize by at least 55% by 2030 within the framework of the Fit for 55 package.

A common goal - eco-friendly solutions

The need to adapt construction projects to environmental requirements, including a significant reduction in their carbon footprint, directly influences the development of a range of solutions for sustainable construction. Speaking of glass, one of the most important elements of efforts to reduce its environmental impact is the steady increase in the share of cullet used in the production process. Its recycling has a positive impact on reducing the consumption of raw materials 1 ton of cullet will produce 1 ton of glass (it takes 1200 kg of glass mixture, including 750 kg of sand, to produce 1 ton of glass from natural resources). It will also reduce energy requirements by up to 30% compared to glass produced from natural resources alone. Moreover, each ton of cullet saves up to 300 kg of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere. The development and implementation of innovative solutions and processes that enable comfortable living in harmony with concern for the fate of the planet is also the Saint-Gobain Group's overarching goal of "Making the World a Better Home", an expression of its ambition to make the world a more beautiful and sustainable place to live.

Modern architecture

Façade glass plays an important role in architecture - it adds lightness to the mass, guaranteeing a modern design and the durability of the building. It contributes to improving interior conditions by providing access to natural daylight or taking care of the right temperature. Equally important to a building's energy efficiency is reducing its carbon footprint, thus focusing on having as little negative impact on the environment as possible - from raw material extraction to demolition. Facades can account for as much as 20% of an investment's embedded carbon footprint, 12% of which is generated by the glazing itself. Consistency in the quest to develop a solution that reduces a building's embedded carbon footprint has resulted in the Saint-Gobain Glass brand introducing the world's first glass with the lowest carbon footprint, ORAÉ®.

ORAÉ® sets new standards for reducing CO2 emissions. For 4 mm thick glass, it is only 6.64 kg of CO2 per m2 over the product's entire life cycle (cradle-to-grave analysis), a 42% reduction compared to existing solutions, as evidenced by the provisions of the Environmental Product Declaration. Such a result was possible thanks to the use of a significant percentage of cullet and renewable energy sources in the production process explains Monika Naczeńska, Marketing Manager of Saint-Gobain Glass.

Stłuczka szklana


© Saint-Gobain Glass

As a first step, ORAÉ® base glass was used in the COOL-LITE® XTREME line of solar control glass, which is distinguished by its excellent selectivity, i.e. the ratio of the amount of visible light that passes through the glass to the amount of infrared radiation that is reflected outward. The higher its value, the brighter the interiors are while "blocking" the heat that does not pass through the glazing. For the COOL-LITE® XTREME 70/33 ORAÉ® variant, the technical parameters are: g=0.33, Lt=70%, S=2.12. Thus, they guarantee users protection from overheating in the summer, allowing them to take care of the ideal temperature in the interiors, as well as ensure uninterrupted access of natural daylight to the rooms, which directly translates into reducing the energy demand of the building and lowering its operational carbon footprint.

By taking a comprehensive approach to environmental protection from the use of renewable energy to a drastic reduction in the demand for raw materials the new proposal becomes an excellent pillar of efforts to reduce the built-in and operational carbon footprint of buildings, and thus brings the building sector closer to achieving climate neutrality.

Habitat 7 projekt Architect Krook & Tjäder szkło na fasadzie COOL-LITE XTREME ORAE

Habitat 7 design Architect Krook & Tjäder glass on facade COOL-LITE XTREME ORAE

© Saint-Gobain Glass

Projects of the future with Calumen® application

Glass can make up as much as 60% of a facade's surface. Choosing the right solution while maintaining the highest standards when it comes to the impact on the environment and the high quality of time spent indoors is a challenge for all participants in the investment process. In order to reduce the time spent searching for the optimal glazing for a project that meets the principles of sustainable construction, the Calumen® online glazing configurator was developed. Thanks to this application, the selection of glass is even faster and possible in two ways: manually, using the intuitive configurator, or thanks to a special option "Reverse", which allows the application to do it for us. The user, through constant viewing of technical parameters, can continuously check the energy efficiency of selected glass solutions and compare their parameters and aesthetic qualities. And all this in the comfort of your own office.



© Saint-Gobain Glass

Calumen® is a free configurator for all-in-one glazing specifications Monika Naczeńska says. Its refreshed version is a response to the precise expectations of architects, engineers and facade consultants or glass processors. It allows you to upload your own designs, compare data in real time, and, with the ability to save your work to your personal desktop, return to it at a convenient time. Calumen® also offers the ability to calculate a glazing's carbon footprint, and visualize assemblies, reducing the need to produce samples, in keeping with the zero waste ideology.

The application is accessible from a web browser on computers or tablets. It has also been comprehensively tested for usability even before its official debut, and combines functionality, ease and intuitiveness of use.



© Saint-Gobain Glass

Responsible, sustainable architecture is the foundation of the entire construction sector. Climate change is undoubtedly influencing the direction of various sectors of the economy, where the common denominators will be the reduction of the greenhouse effect, the conservation of natural resources or the development of a closed loop economy. The next few years will certainly reinforce the trend of energy-efficient construction, manifested in a significant reduction in the embedded and operational carbon footprint of buildings. This is the right time to ensure that the right solutions and tools are in place today to create the architecture of tomorrow. For the good of all of us and the planet.

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

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