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If you would like to learn more about architectural glass, and its use in modern day construction, we’ve compiled a list of the most relevant glass terminologies here for you. These terms and definitions will also help you to understand certain concepts that we have mentioned across our other articles on this site.

Architectural glass is used in the construction of buildings, both commercial and residential. Most typically architectural glass is used as transparent glazing in the fenestration, including windows and glass doors. In addition glass is used in other architectural fixtures like shopfronts, sun rooms, skylights, balustrades, office partitioning, facades and curtain walling.

performance glass options

Please note: we are not a glass supplier and we do not sell glass to the public. At Pro Aluminium & Glass, we use glass as a high performance component of our architectural aluminium installations.

Glass technologies have advanced significantly over time, and architectural glass offers a range of different benefits from energy saving, to security, to sound reduction and more. Some of the key considerations when choosing glass are maintaining natural light, solar heat gain, thermal conductivity and controlling UV and glare. By choosing the right glass for your building project, you can enjoy these benefits while still retaining great views and natural light.

You will also benefit from reading our other articles on glass, by clicking on the links below:

Glass Glossary

Acoustic Glass: Acoustic, or sound reduction glass, incorporates specific sound inhibiting qualities, and serves to combat levels of unwanted noise both in homes and offices.

Aesthetic Glass: Glass is not only a highly functional building material, it can be manufactured with various aesthetic properties to enhance architectural designs. Click here to learn more about our range of tinted, reflective and coloured glass

Air Infiltration: Industry test that measures the amount of air leakage through a window or door (the lower the number the better).

Acoustic Glass: Acoustic, or sound reduction glass, incorporates specific sound inhibiting qualities, and serves to combat levels of unwanted noise both in homes and offices.

Aesthetic Glass: Glass is not only a highly functional building material, it can be manufactured with various aesthetic properties to enhance architectural designs. Click here to learn more about our range of tinted, reflective and coloured glass

Air Infiltration:  Industry test that measures the amount of air leakage through a window or door (the lower the number the better).

Airspace — the space between adjacent layers in a multi-layer glazing system.

Annealed Glass:  Standard float glass. Glass without internal stresses caused by heat treatment.

Argon Gas:  Colourless, odourless gas used in the air space of double pane Low-E glass to increase the acoustic performance.

Bay Window:  Window consisting of three or more units that angle out beyond the wall; often configured with a large centre unit and two flanking units.

Bow Window:  Window consisting of three or more units projecting out from the wall to form a radius.

Bullet-Resistant Glass: Glass that consists of multiple layers of laminated glass. It is designed to resist penetration from medium- to super-powered small arms and high-powered rifles.

Casement Window:  Unit with hinged sash that opens to the side; or from the bottom outwards, allows for variable ventilation and rain defence.

Clerestory:  Window located up high on wall; typically unreachable from ground level.

Coated Glass: Glass with a chemical film applied to one surface. The film can provide enhanced performance characteristics such as solar or mirror effects.

Combination Unit:  Storm window and insect screen contained in a single frame.

Composite unit — a fenestration product consisting of two or more sash, leaves, lights, or sliding door panels within a single frame utilising an integral mullion.

Condensation:  Water that collects as droplets on the glass/sash/panel interior or exterior under certain conditions (typically cold services when exposed to humidity).

Curtain wall — a non-load-bearing exterior wall cladding that is hung to the exterior of the building, usually spanning from floor to floor.

Deflection — displacement due to flexure of a member under an applied load.

Design Pressure (DP): A measurement of the structural performance of a window or door. Usually specified as one-and-a-half times greater than necessary based on expected building, wind and weather conditions.

Design wind load — the wind load pressure a product is required by the specifier to withstand in its end-use application. Note: When other loads such as snow load are included, a “design load” results.

Damage Function:  Percent of the Ultra-Violet (UV) and Visible Light energy from the sun that can cause fabric fading. The lower the number, the less potential for fabric fading. Preferred over just looking at UV transmission.

Daylight Opening:  Visible glass area.

Double Glazing: Where two layers of glass with a small insulating gap in between is set in a window to reduce the flow of sound in either direction

Dry Glazing: A method of securing glass in a frame by use of a dry, preformed, resilient gasket without the use of a compound.   

Energy-saving and Comfort Glass: Ordinary glass can be responsible for up to 40% of the energy lost through your doors and windows. Our specialised energy saving glass products offer an effective way to achieve better energy efficiency by reducing the cost of heating and cooling.

Fenestration: Openings in the building envelope, such as windows, doors, secondary storm products (SSPs) curtain walls, storefronts, roof windows, tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), sloped glazing, and skylights, designed to permit the passage of air, light, or people.

Fire Rated Glass: Fire-rated glass can be very effective at retarding the spread of a fire and are typically used in facades, doors, partition walls and lift glazing

Fixed Light: Non-venting or non-operable window.

Fixed window: a window that is designed to be non-operable and consists of a glazed frame or a non-operating sash within a frame.

Flashing: A strip of material that diverts water away from a window, door or skylight.

Float Glass: The process through which clear and tinted glass is made.

Frame: The combination of the head, jambs and sill that form an exact opening in which a window sash fits.

French Door: Hinged single or double doors with a large glass area surrounded by wide wood side styles and a tall bottom rail.

Full Frame: Frame intended for installation directly to the rough opening; opposite of insert window.

Fully tempered glass: glass that has been heat treated to a high surface and/or edge compression to meet the requirements of ASTM C1048 (kind FT) or CAN/CGSB 12.1.

Note: Fully tempered glass, if broken, will fracture into many small pieces (dice) which are more or less cubical. Fully tempered glass is approximately four times stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads.

Gasket: A seal, usually made of rubber, that holds a piece of auto glass to the vehicle body. There are various sizes and shapes of glass-part gaskets, depending on vehicle design.

Glass: a hard, brittle substance, usually transparent, made by fusing materials such as soda ash (NA2CO3), limestone (CaCO3), and sand under high temperatures.

Glazing: Glass (and other materials) in a window or door. Also, the act or process of installing glass in a frame.

Green Building: A movement in architectural and building circles aimed at creating structures that are occupant and environmentally friendly. Criteria such as sustainability, energy efficiency and healthfulness are considered.

Heat Gain: The transfer of heat from outside to inside by means of conduction, convection and radiation through all surfaces of a house.

Heat Loss: The transfer of heat from inside to outside by means of conduction, convection, and radiation through all surfaces of a house.

Heat-strengthened Glass: (also called Tempered Glass) Glass twice as strong as regular annealed glass of the same size and thickness. It also is able to withstand greater wind loads and impacts. When broken, it fractures into large, jagged pieces.

Impact-Resistant: Term used to describe window and door products that have passed established tests for resistance to windborne debris. Such products are typically used in coastal areas that are prone to hurricanes.

Infrared: Part of the light spectrum; infrared rays that cause heat.

Insulated Glass Units (IG Units):  Double pane windows separated by gas insulators. The units reduce the tendency for condensation to form on the interior of the glass. They also reduce sound transmittance.

Laminate: Vinyl inner layer of laminated glass.

Laminated Glass:  Layered glass that resists breakage and holds together when broken. Consists of two or more lights of glass permanently bonded together with one or more polymer interlayers.

Leaf — a part of a side-hinged door system, glazed or unglazed, surrounded by a frame. Leaves can be fixed in place (non-operable) or moveable (operable).

Light Transmittance: The percentage of visible light able to pass through.

Low-E glass: Glass with a low-emissivity coating that restricts heat loss.

Low-emissivity: Glass coated with a low-emissivity substance can reflect radiant infrared energy, encouraging radiant heat to remain on the same side of the glass from which it originated, while letting visible light pass.

Light: A term for a pane or finished piece of glass. In windows and doors, refers to separately framed panes of glass (as well as designs simulating the look of separately framed pieces of glass).

Mullion: A component used to structurally join two window or door units.

Pane:  A framed plate of glass within a window frame.

Picture Window: Large, non-operating window. It is usually longer than it is wide to provide a panoramic view.

Projected Window: A window in which the sash opens on hinges. Also called casements windows.

Pyrolytic Glass: A glass product that is coated, usually to provide low-emissivity or solar-control benefits, during the manufacturing process at the molten glass stage. Commonly referred to as a hard coat, this type of coating offers a surface that is generally as durable as an ordinary glass surface, and therefore requires no special handling and does not need to be used in an insulating glass unit. The other type of glass coating is a sputter-coat, which is applied in a secondary process. Sometimes referred to as a soft-coat, these types of coatings generally require some additional care in handling and fabrication and must be used within an insulating glass unit.

Radiation: The transfer of heat in the form of electromagnetic waves from one separate surface to another. Low-E glass is designed to reduce this type of heat transfer by reflecting electromagnetic waves.

R-value:  Measures the overall resistance to heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the less heat is transmitted through the glass.

Reflective Glass:  Clear or tinted glass with a thin layer of metal or metallic oxide on the surface. The reflective coating reduces heat gain, solar radiation and glare from the outside while allowing visible light to enter. A mirror-like appearance.

Safety Glass: A general term used for a strengthened or reinforced glass that is less subject to breakage or splintering and less likely to cause injury if broken. Law requires glass in doors to be some type of safety glazing product, such as tempered or laminated glass.   

Sandblasting: Sand blown by compressed air for etching or decorating glass.

Seal: A compressible surface that inhibits air and water passage

Single Glazing: Use of a single light of glass in a window; generally not as energy efficient as insulating glass or other forms of double glazing.

Sloped glazing (other than unit skylights) — a glass and framing assembly that is sloped more than 15° from the vertical and which forms essentially the entire roof of the structure. Note: Generally, this is a single slope construction.

Solar glass: Glass that either reflects or absorbs the ultraviolet and infrared rays from the sun.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): A rating, which is now generally replacing shading coefficient, measuring a window’s ability to transmit solar heat. It measures both the solar radiation which is directly transmitted, as well as the solar radiation absorbed by the glass and subsequently transmitted. The lower a unit’s solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits, and the greater its shading ability. It is approximately equal to the shading coefficient divided by 1.15. It is expressed as a number without units between 0 and 1.

Solar-Control Glass: Glass produced with a coating or tint that absorbs or reflects solar energy, thereby reducing solar gain.

Tempered Glass: Glass four times as strong as annealed glass of the same size and thickness. It offers greater strength against deflection and better resistance to the force of wind than heat strengthened glass. When broken, it shatters into cube-shape pieces.

Tempering: Strengthening glass with heat.

Thermal barrier:  an element made of material with relatively low thermal conductivity, which is inserted between two members having high thermal conductivity, in order to reduce the heat transfer.

Tinted Glass: Glass to which a small amount of colour has been added consistently throughout the glass batch. The tinting reduces glare and absorbs heat.

Translucent: Permitting light to come through but diffusing it so that objects on the other side appear vague, distorted or imperfect.

Transom: Window used over the top of a door or window, primarily for additional light and aesthetic value.

Transparent: Permitting light to come through without distortions so that objects on the other side can be seen clearly.

Ultraviolet light (UV): Invisible rays of solar radiation at the short-wavelength violet end of the spectrum. Ultraviolet rays can cause fading of paint finishes, carpets and fabrics, as well as deterioration of some materials.

U-value:  Measures the heat that is gained or lost through glass due to the difference in indoor and outdoor temperatures. The lower the U-value, the less heat is transmitted through the glass.

Vacuum Deposition: A process in which glass is placed in a vacuum chamber, electric energy is added, and a magnetic reaction takes place that causes the metal atoms to strike the surface of the glass at high speeds.  The atoms coat the surface of the glass uniformly.

Wind Load: Force exerted by winds on building panels and complete structures; may be inward (positive) or outward (negative). And a magnetic reaction takes place that causes the metal atoms to strike the surface of the glass at high speeds. The atoms coat the surface of the glass uniformly.

Talk to Pro about Performance Glass Fixtures

We trust you have found this information useful. We, at Pro Aluminium and Glass, take pride in specifying the optimal type of glass for all our aluminium windows, doors and commercial architectural aluminium fixtures. Please feel free to contact us if you require advice or a quotation for your next building project.

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