A quick look around the modern home will reveal the growing influence of sustainable thinking. Glass in particular is helping homeowners reduce energy consumption without compromising on design aesthetics. Here are three intriguing uses of glass that promote sustainability:
Fireplace panels. Many people still think of fireplaces as dirty and environmentally unfriendly, but hearth manufacturers have designed some of the most efficient and clean burning fireplaces and stoves in recent years. Glass plays a role in this trend as glass-ceramic panels for fireplaces guard your living room from smoke and sparks. Because glass-ceramic panels can withstand the high temperatures inside the firebox, they contribute to optimum use of energy and heat by allowing fuel to burn completely and efficiently. In addition, the panels radiate heat throughout a room for more consistent heating.
Induction cooktops. Induction cooktops with glass-ceramic use a magnetic field to quickly heat and cook food. This appliance is highly efficient -- induction cooktops make use of 90 percent of the energy used to heat them, whereas electric ranges only use 65 percent, and gas uses a mere 55 percent.
Daylighting. While primarily used in commercial or community buildings, daylighting glass has potential for the home. This glass is designed to maximize the use of sunlight for interior spaces. For example, certain glass can diffuse sunlight inside a building to take better advantage of natural light. Another type of window glass regulates room temperature by blocking the sun when it's high in the sky during summer and allowing in more light when the sun is lower on the horizon during winter.
Architects and home builders continue to build more efficient houses that reduce the cost of heating and lighting, both for homeowners and the environment, and glass is one material that's leading the way toward this sustainable future.
Linda Mayer is president and CEO of SCHOTT North America. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University, an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Prior to joining SCHOTT, Ms. Mayer served in a variety of roles including director of financial analysis, corporate planning, development and marketing for the Kohler Company and vice president of marketing at John Deere.