In observance of Earth Day, Vitro Architectural Glass is recognizing its growth as an environmentally-focused business and ongoing commitment to meeting the standards of sustainability certification programs through its introduction of new, sustainable products.
Vitro Glass’s commitment to sustainability prioritizes responsible manufacturing processes and large-scale energy reduction using energy-efficient low- emissivity glasses. Vitro’s family of Solarban solar control low-e glass products and other glasses by Vitro have been installed on hundreds of LEED-certified buildings, including at least three of the world’s certified net-zero “living” buildings.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-e coatings reduce the energy lost through typical windows by 35 percent resulting in about 1.5 quads in U.S. annual energy savings. Market share estimates suggest that about 0.5 quads—approximately 0.5 x 1015 BTUs—of that reduction is attributable to Vitro Glass products, say officials.
Vitro Glass produces over 100 million-square-feet of high-performing low-e glass annually. Energy modeling estimates suggest its annual production of solar control low-e glass has the potential to reduce annual energy consumption in a U.S. building by 729,000 kilowatt hours and 55,000 natural gas therms—preventing more than 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering Earth’s atmosphere every year for the life of a building.
To maximize the energy efficiency and sustainability of existing glass products, Vitro introduced Solarvolt building-integrated photovoltaic glass modules earlier this year. Seamlessly integrated into the building structure, Solarvolt modules combine aesthetics, CO2-free power generation and protection from the elements for commercial buildings, while reducing air conditioning costs and replacing cladding materials, say officials.
“Solarvolt BIPV modules are the next step in enhancing the sustainability and energy efficiency of Vitro’s range of architectural glass products,” says Nathan McKenna, director of marketing and innovation, Vitro Architectural Glass. “We’re proud to offer yet another way to utilize our products to support increasingly stringent environmental and performance codes in commercial construction projects without compromising design or aesthetics.”
Vitro also announced earlier this year that its entire range of coated and uncoated architectural glasses has been renewed as Cradle to Cradle Certified, which is a recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy across the globe. In order to receive this certification, eligible products are evaluated for environmental and social performance across five major sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness.
In addition to maintaining its Cradle to Cradle Certification, Vitro Glass was awarded a Material Health Certificate at the Gold level. This document certifies that in producing its glass products, Vitro Glass refrains from using chemicals of concern and is transparent about all chemicals used in products across its supply chains.
“Architects, fabricators and building products professionals of all kinds rely on the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard as a guide for purchasing and designing with products that have a positive impact on both people and planet,” says McKenna. “Since Vitro Glass became the first U.S.-based glass company to have its entire range of products Cradle to Cradle Certified in 2008, we have continued to offer one of the industry’s most extensive selections of clear, ultra-clear, tinted, solar control and passive low-e glasses qualified to this rigorous, globally-recognized lifecycle standard.”