Large and expansive windows make any home or office building brighter and allow for a good view, however, plain glass windows are a major cause of heat transference. In the balmy Malaysian climate; this translates to high demands placed on indoor cooling devices such as air-conditioning units.
How low-e glass helps lower the carbon footprint
Conductive heat transference (the ability of a material to transfer heat) is measured as a U-value. Plain glass easily transfers heat and has a very high U-value. Commonly known as "low-e glass," low emission (or low emissivity) glass significantly reduces U-value.
Typically, two types of low-e glass are available in the market today:
Hard Coat Low-E Glass refers to a pyrolytic coating applied to hot glass during the manufacturing process, while Soft Coat Low-E Glass refers to a coating applied to cooled glass and is primarily used for double-glazed windows. The soft coated layer faces the air vacuum between the panes of a double-glazed window to protect the coating from damage.
Both types of coating achieve the same result: they reduce the amount of ultraviolet heat energy that passes through glass without significantly reducing natural light transference or visibility. Low-e glass panes can have different U-values to suit the climate they are designed for.
In a warm climate like Malaysia where temperatures average 28-30°C daily, a low U-value is an important consideration point for green building.
Modern shading devices for exterior cooling
The use of shading devices are also an important aspect of many energy-efficient building design strategies. In particular, buildings that employ passive solar heating or daylighting often depend on well-designed exterior cooling structures such as awnings, aluminium shades and cooling fins.
With modern technology, shading devices have evolved. Where trees used to be planted next to houses to prevent direct sunlight from entering homes, it is now possible to fine tune your shading for the season or even the time of day.
Modern shading devices can be added on or built in to a design. A retractable awning is a good example of an add-on device. Aluminium frames and light-weight materials allow retractable awnings to cover a large area, and remote-control devices allow the user to precisely adjust the level of shade they require.
An excellent example of a built-in shading device is the design of the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City show house, scheduled for completion in 2015. The upper storey overhang of the three-storey bungalow provides morning sunlight for the ground floor patio and living-dining area and cooling shade throughout the heat of the day.
The development is a joint venture of PanaHome Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary company of Panasonic, and Gasing Meridian Sdn. Bhd., and promises to be a milestone in Malaysia's efforts in creating a more sustainable property development landscape for the future
Low-e glass and shading devices are just two ways developers can utilise energy technology to build a more sustainable future by reducing carbon-dioxide emission, as well lowering the energy demands for cooling devices used in homes.
By integrating various technologies and green-building solutions through one stop housing companies such as PanaHome and Panasonic, property development in Malaysia has the potential to reach great heights both in design, functionality as well as sustainable living.