11 Apr Taking Self-tinting, Wireless and Dynamic Glass to Market
With the launch of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic in February, 2017, Clayton Glass have brought the first ever self-tinting, wireless glass technology to the conservatory and lantern roof market, as commercial director, Jason McCabe, explains.
Not only is Clayton Glass a multi-award winning business and a company that’s been listed in the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, but we’ve built an enviable reputation for product innovation. For over 10 years, we have been pushing the technological boundaries in conservatory glass and our flagship Ultra 86 product fully supports this claim.
However, we believe that the launch of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic reflects the start of what we believe will be a fundamental shift for the specialist conservatory roof glass sector. Whilst static fixed tint glassed are and will probably remain the norm for some time, equally we are now able to offer a cutting egde dynamic glass, that changes properties as quickly as the UK climate demands, every minute of every day.
For our trade partners it’s reassuring to know that this new glass innovation can be manufactured in any shape, delivered in 10-14 working days and can be handled in the same way as any other standard IGU. Unlike electric or switchable glass, there is no need for any wiring, all of the clever engineering is contained within the external pane of glass. As well as updating our new Product Guide, we’ve also developed a clever interactive tool which can demonstrate the immediate impact of heat on a SMARTGLASS® Dynamic sample.
With several hundred enquiries for sample kits already received, we can safely say that such a unique offering has generated considerable interest from local installation companies, large regional players and also nationally recognised brands. We are already encouraging companies to install the glass in outside showrooms, so the physical properties of the glass can be experienced in real time.
While we have done much to push the boundaries in terms of standard conservatory roof glass, the fact remins that however the properties stack up, it remains a static product. It’s tinted to the same degree all year round and other technical specifications do not change as the weather dictates. But SMARTGLASS® Dynamic in contrast does, offering broader sales opportunities and being able to be applied in other domestic applications, particularly where there are large areas of glazing, including bi-folding and patio doors.
SMARTGLASS® Dynamic works by means of a reaction on the upper leaf of the glass unit and so will darken gradually and dynamically when heated by direct sunlight and conversely will revert back to a clear state as the surface of the glass cools down. It’s also a glass that’s unsurpassed in terms of G-value, which varies from 10-34% and can reflect up to 90% of solar energy, a superior performance to any other dedicated conservatory roof glass.
Light transmission is also offered on a scale of 6-60%, with a centre pane U-value of 1.2 W/m2K, offering impressive insulation properties for the colder months of the year. For the very warmest months of the year, in its darkest state SMARTGLASS® Dynamic offers a 6% light transmission, reflecting 90% of all solar energy. In winter conversely it offers a 60% light transmission close to that of a standard clear unit, when you need it most.
But the performance at either ends of the spectrum is only part of the equation, as the glass is not only dynamic in name, but dynamic in nature. It will regulate the level of inbound solar energy throughout the day, so there are an infinite number of interim states that are affected by the temperature of the outer pane. Time of year, position of the sun and location of the installation will all have contributing factors.
This new technology also benefits from an ability to block 99% of harmful UV rays, helping to eliminate the risk of damage to furnishings and flooring. As with all products that bear the SMARTGLASS® name, there’s also true self cleaning, warm edge technology and argon filled low e credentials.
We also envisage interest from the bi-folding and patio door markets, particularly on exposed, South facing elevations where glare and solar heat gain are an issue. Typical IGU’s are designed to bring an element of solar heat gain within a building, part of the Window Energy Ratings, yet something in certain circumstances that is not welcomed. This phenomenon has also spurred us on to develop another industry first in terms of SMARTGLASS®-W, designed specifically for side frames.
We’re certainly ahead of the curve with the launch of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic and we fully expect the early adopters in terms of the trade and consumers to take up this new, dynamic product proposition. It’s a product perfectly suited for conservatories, atriums, lantern roofs and the burgeoning bi-folding door sector, but how long before we see it adopted in the rooflight market for loft conversions by some of the global brands..?