Photomeric Calculations

What is Low-e Glass?

Low-e glass is a specially treated glass with low emissivity. Emissivity refers to the ability of a surface of a material, in this case glass, to radiate thermal energy (heat). Untreated glass windows can allow a great deal of heat to pass through, thus making for poor insulators against temperature change. The surface of low-e glass is treated with special thermal coating to improve reflectivity, and keep heat on the right side of the glass. In the winter, low-e window glass keeps the heat inside, and in the summer, low-e glass keeps solar heat outside. Low-e glass acts as a high performance thermal insulator, reducing heating and cooling costs, improving energy efficiency, and reducing the carbon footprint of a building. What makes low-e glass so special is its ability to dramatically improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your building while enabling visible light to pass through the glass. 

How is Low-e Glass Made?

There are two types of manufacturing processes for low-e glass. In the first method, known as pyrolytic coating, glass is coated by spraying a thin film of special reflective material at high temperature directly onto the surface of float glass during its primary manufacturing. The pyrolytic coating process is used to create passive low-e glass, which is generally used in colder climates. The second method, known as magnetron sputtering or magnetron coating, uses vacuum chambers to apply a succession of special coatings onto glass sheets to achieve highly efficient low-e glass products. arcon’s solar control low-e glass products are created using magnetron coating to deposit microscopically thin silver-based films onto glass. Silver itself is vulnerable to environmental damage, and must be enclosed in insulated glazing to protect it from contact with moisture or corrosive agents. This precision coating process creates a high performance low-e glass coating which is highly effective and yet microscopically thin. The result is a beautiful low-e thermal glass window product which lets visible light through, and keeps the heat on the right side of the glass. 

Why is Low-e Glass so Important?

As individuals and businesses recognize the importance of energy efficiency, and new laws and regulations require the reduction of energy consumption, it is more important than ever to consider efficient building materials. Modern architecture calls for extensive use of stylish glass windows and expansive glazed surfaces to achieve contemporary designs. These applications call for high performance thermal windows and window glass for home, business, or public constructions. Unfortunately, traditional untreated glass surfaces are highly inefficient, and such untreated glass windows incur enormous heating and cooling costs to such modern buildings. Low-e glass offers architects and planners the freedom to create ambitious modern glass designs without compromising energy efficiency. By utilizing low-e coated glass, designers can achieve any imaginable construction while optimizing the building's overall appeal, comfort, environmental efficiency, and cost effectiveness. 

Low-e Glass Products from arcon

Nearly any type of clear or body-tinted architectural glass can be treated with arcon low-e coatings. This includes float glass and tempered safety glass up to 15 mm thick, screen printed tempered safety glass, enameled tempered safety glass; or alarm tempered safety glass up to 12 mm thick; laminated glass up to 17.5 mm thick; several patterned glass types up to 10 mm thick. arcon low-e glass coatings must be employed in insulating glass, and are always located in position 3, which is the inward facing surface of the outer insulating glass unit. The outer insulating glass unit encases the sensitive silver-based film, protecting it from contact with moisture or corrosive agents. This special low-e coating produces a glass product that is especially good for reducing heat loss during winter months. arcon thermal glass windows are ideal for any public, business, or home architectural application. 

Architectural Applications with arcon Low-e Glass

University of Applied Sciences Potsdam Laboratory and Workshop The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (Fachhochschule Potsdam) was founded in 1991, and offers over 20 different courses of study to nearly 3000 students. 90 professors supervise a spectrum of programs ranging from civil engineering, social and cultural work, and creative disciplines. With a focus on the sustainable future of the growing university, as well as the preservation of valuable resources, Berlin Architecture firm Becher & Rottkamp have designed and implemented the innovative remodel of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam Laboratory and Workshop with an integrative and holistic energy concept. The geometric, contemporary look of the center is achieved with extensive use of glass windows, which requires special consideration to optimize interior climate control. arcon low-e window glass allows the architects to realize this glass-intensive visual design while emphasizing energy efficiency. Local climate conditions are such that the loss of interior heat during cold winter months is a primary concern, and the utilization of arcon’s high performance solar control thermal glass is fundamental in achieving optimal resource savings. Beyond the functions of thermal protection offered by the incorporated low-e glass windows, the glass is also printed with a unique irregular pattern, which gives the window glass a stunning effect of depth and dimensionality. The finished product is a high performance, modern, functional design built with long-term environmental and energy performance at its core.

House of the Mountains, Berchtesgaden National Park, Bavaria Berchtesgaden is the only German national park in the Alps, and is home to the incredible “House of the Mountains” (Haus der Berge) which functions as in interpretive center and view point for the breathtaking Watzmann Wilderness. With its environmental education mission, the Berchtesgaden National Park brought this light and airy architectural project to life utilizing vast glass facades and sleek modern geometric forms. The building design itself reflects the majestic mountain landscape, and provides a dramatic alpine vista for visitors to admire the stunning wilderness. Not only does the educational center achieve aesthetic harmony with its alpine setting, it also maintains an extremely environmentally friendly existence through the use of energy efficient construction materials and methods. A large part of realizing this “green” project is achieved with the employment of arcon solar control coated glass in its construction. By utilizing arcon’s low-e coated insulated window glass in the expansive glass facades, the House of the Mountains creates a stunning optical effect with optimal environmental efficiency. The arcon solar control coating allows for incredible visibility while reducing heat loss through the windows in the cold alpine climate. The 17,000 square-meter House of the Mountains interpretive and educational center was proudly opened to the public in 2013. The center provides visitors expansive views of the fascinating alpine wilderness and interpretive exhibits and experiences year-round. This masterpiece of design and construction showcases high performance low-e glass windows and environmentally efficient technologies that will continue to inspire both park visitors and architects for generations to come.

arcon low-e glass is continuously refined, optimized and completed with further coatings. You can find all current products with their technical values in our compact low-e glass overview »

For additional information and technical support, please refer to our contact page »

Leisure pool Fildorado Stuttgart, low-e glass N33
Glacier Garden on the Zugspitze, low-e glass N33
Glacier Garden on the Zugspitze, thermal insulation glass N33
Low-e glass N33 made by arcon
Architectural Applications with arcon Low-e Glass