Industrial Glass USA | Four Hidden Innovations in Glass

By Jose Mario D.

The glass in windows and doors is designed to provide outward view while at the same time protecting us from external conditions. Interestingly, the transparent material still finds plenty of applications as a basis for the house’s entire facades. According to a study, we are a stay inside generation. The study surveyed about 16,000 people over 14 countries in North America and Europe and found that around 90 percent of people spend near to 22 hours inside every day. Doors and windows, in particular, play a crucial role. They are the pieces that connect to at least three of the four elements – air, earth, water, and light that we need for life. The windows or glass façades also protect us from the adverse effects of the outside world, such as wind, heat, cold, noise, exhaust fumes, and uninvited guests. However, as some innovations show, glass functions can be extended considerably.

These four examples show you the new options that glass installed in windows, doors, or mirrors offers:

Industrial Glass USA - Four Hidden Innovations in Glass

1) Dynamic Remote Controlled Smart Glass

Dynamic glass refers to glass & windows, which change their light control’s state and appearance in response to external stimulation. The stimulus may be tension, heat, or sunlight. Dynamic glass is generally produced with two or more laminated glass layers with an interlayer of the active or switchable film between. Dynamic glass can change from clear to a private or tinted variable to darken a room or building. This makes the occupants more comfortable, connects them to the outside if desired, and saves energy by reducing HVAC and interior lighting systems’ demand. Dynamic Remote Controlled Smart Glass offers:

Whiteout privacy and light diffusion instantly switchable
Darkening, tinting, and light control of variable room on request
Sunlight-responsive, eco-adaptive self-tinting glass for room dim and light control

2) Turning Windshield Into a Digital Dashboard Glass

Improved transparent display technology based on a fluorescent emissive projection system transforms a whole glass window or windshield into a motion display panel without affecting the glass view. This new technology acts as an electronic display screen for an entire vehicle windshield or glass window building. Fluorescent phosphorus nanostructures embedded in the windshield glass matrix display show various information, such as opaque images, or data. Technology applications include storefront glass windows, glass panel hi-def video displays, and other high-contrast projection displays.

3) Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) Transparent Solar Glass

Inventive power-generating windows can generate 50 times more power per building than conventional solar panels. In contrast to traditional and opaque PV technology, BIPV can be easily used as a coating to a glass window or plastic surface and generate electricity instantly, even in artificial light and shade. The technology can produce more power at a lower cost and remain unaffected by high temperatures so that optimal operation does not require ventilation.

4) Switchable Glass

Windows that switch from transparent to opaque with the touch of a button are being developed for residential use to help reduce the cost of cooling in summer months and for year-round privacy.

Electrochromic technology currently allows windows to tint on demand and has been used for several years in aircraft windows. Present models take a transition time of up to seven minutes and don’t get dark enough for widespread residential use.
Researchers at the University of Stanford are working on an improved version. Within three minutes, their prototype shifts from bright to dark. The new research involves the use in the glass of an electrolyte gel combined with a transparent conductor. When applied with an electrical voltage, the glass changes from transparent to opaque. A negative charge causes ions to form a solid metal, and darkening of the glass. A positive charge dissolves the metal and returns to clear glass. The electrical voltage is required only to alter the opacity of the window. Once unplugged, the window will remain in the same state until re-applying electricity.


Glass is already a fascinating material: it is transparent but full of possibilities. The four innovations are, of course, just a small part of it. After all, they’re limited to the role of glass in windows, doors, facades, and mirrors. You wouldn’t have been capable of reading this without glass at all. Without a fiber optic cable infrastructure, the dear World Wide Web would be so slow that it probably could not have established itself in this form at all.


Industrial Glass USA | Why are Fire-Rated Glasses Necessary?

After a long day, home is what you come back to. But that humble abode of yours is still at risk of harm from Mother Nature’s multiple powers. One of these powers, the most uncontrollable one without a doubt, is fire. Commercial buildings, restaurants, malls, educational institutes, and almost every building are now equipped with fire-rated glasses. Although the damage done by a fire is irreparable, the degree to which it spreads can now be managed with the help of fire-rated glass.

Let’s discuss more about this industrial glass and its types.

Introduction to Fire Rated Glass

Fire-rated glass, sometimes referred to as fire-resistant safety glass, provides a period of fire-resistant protection against smoke and flame. It contains special glazing that, for a certain period, prevents it from cracking or shattering. 

There are two broad categories of Fire Rated Glass:

  • Fire Protective Glass

Fire-protective glasses are made with protective glazing that withstands heat and flames for a specified amount of time, prevents the glass from melting, and prevents smoke and flames from spreading.

  • Fire Resistive Glass

Often fire-resistive glasses provide protective glazing to help preserve flames and smoke, but also provide a barrier to the flow of radiant heat.

Classification of Fire Rated Glasses

The fire-resistant glass comes in three variations, that are:

  • Integrity Glass, E Type

It is the most common fire-resistant form of glass. This type of glass prevents flames and hot gasses from entering via the unexposed side when exposed to flame. This doesn’t stop heat from passing through the glass, however.

There are different approaches to integrity glass production and completion:

  • Wired Glass: Wire is wrapped in float glass when in a molten state. The glass is made of sheets, usually, 6-7 mm thick, and cut to fit as required.
  • Modified Toughened glass: A single glass panel undergoes a toughening (or tempering) process in which heat is applied to modify and strengthen the glass structure. When it has gone through the toughening cycle, it is made to order and can not be cut.
  • Radiation Control Glass, EW Type: Like integrity glass, this glass type prevents fire and hot gasses from burning through to the other side. It also prevents the penetration of any gas, due to how its interlayers respond to fire.

Production methods for this type of glass are:

  • Modified coated toughened glass: To counteract some of the heat, a special coating is added to the outer layer of toughened glass, and therefore the volume transmitted through the glass reduces. The glass is made to order and can’t be cut until the process is complete.
  • Laminated Glass: Two or more glass layers have a resin or intumescent coat. This type of glass varies in thickness by the manufacturer but typically is 7-20 mm. The glass is manufactured in sheet-shaped form and cut to scale.
  •  Insulation Glass and Integrity, EI Type: The EI class is the best of the classifications for fire-resistant glass. This type of glass stops flames and hot gasses from spreading when exposed to a spark and also holds the average temperature of the non-exposed face below 140 ° C.

Where to use Fire Rated Glass?

Below is an outline of four places where all of the glass used must be graded as fire rated.

  • Fire Escapes

Building regulations provide strict guidelines for the protection periods for each fire-rated glass component of a building. The use of fire-rated glass in fire escapes prevents fire from spreading.

  • In Commercial and Housing Industry

As part of a system, the fire-rated glass should be used to confine a fire to the room where it originated, without spreading it in other rooms or structures. Fire-rated glass partitions delay the fire spread, without developing a claustrophobic feeling.

The materials used for a building’s interior lining can contribute significantly to the fire’s growth, both in terms of the fire’s ability to spread across its surface and the amount of heat generated during its combustion.

  • Exterior Building Material

To avoid the spread of fire from building to building, exterior walls and roofs in commercial buildings are legally required to resist flames spread across their surface. Fire-rated glass walls are a non-combustible material, unlike more conventional exterior building materials, meaning they provide improved protection against fire spread.

A key component of modern building design is fire-resistant safety glass, not only in health and safety but also in harnessing the benefits of increased light, transparency, and visibility. Fire-resistant glass can have a variety of decorative and horizontal applications, including frameless systems. 


Industrial Glass USA | Are Smart Windows the future?

‘The way you see and interact with the surroundings and the way you feel is governed by advanced materials.’

There are days when the sun keeps coming or going affecting your space’s visibility, and you have to make constant alterations. With the arrival of electrochromic glass, popularly known as smart glass, this can become a problem of the past. How? The smart glass goes from transparent to opaque and back at the push of a button. The Department of Energy of the United States believes that the energy consumption for electricity will increase by 45%, which means a higher price has to be paid by consumers. Smart windows can offer a solution to this, along with significant environmental benefits. Let’s look at it in detail!

Need for Smart Windows

Windows are an integral, fascinating, and fragile part of a place’s architecture. They add to the aesthetics, provide ventilation, allow sunlight to enter, and save up heating costs. But inefficient and old windows can add on one-fourth to the heating/cooling cost of your home. More use of air-conditioning means more exhaust and heat outside.

Windows don’t last long. Their average life is about 20 years. Also, the cost of window replacement can go up to ten thousand dollars. This is where smart windows step in. It is a low-power consuming technology in the wake of America’s concentrated research on ways to increase its energy supply. It is a cutting-edge window technology that offers light control, reduces solar heat gain, and can save billions of dollars as residential windows amount to two percent of the used energy in the States.

How does it work?

Smart windows can be made of different types of smart glasses. A glass can reduce its visibility and become translucent or become opaque and mirror-like. The technology behind each one of them is different. The usual windows are either a single vertical pane of glass or double glazed with space between two panes to improve insulation and acoustics. Some are advanced, having a layer of metallic chemicals to keep your house at a reasonable temperature. Smart windows also work like this. The coating is much more sophisticated, and sputtering-the manufacturing process is intricate. The side facing the inside has five ultra-thin layers double sandwiched. The layers include a separator, electrodes, and transparent electrical contact layers. The basic building blocks are lithium ions. A voltage supply is required to change them from bright to dark state and back again.

Pros and Cons

As mentioned earlier, smart windows come with environmental benefits. They can reflect about 98 percent of light in their darkened state, reducing the installation and running costs of air conditioners. As they are operated electrically, they can be controlled like other smart-home IoT devices. Some distinct advantages of having smart windows are convenience, improved security, and no fumbling around with dusty blinds. The cost of treating standard windows to reduce sunlight is higher than the installation of smart ones.

The major drawback of smart windows is the expense. A single, smart window costs about $500–1000 per square meter, which is several times the ordinary glass. As the technology is comparatively new, the durability is a doubtful parameter. Another issue is that some technologies can take up minutes going clear back and forth. Stick- on electrochromic films are a better option as its process time is in seconds.

The future

Glass buildings have been on the run for the past two decades, and clear glass is undoubtedly a desirable building material. However, with alternatives and substitutes around, it has reached its peak in building design. The demand for the future is a sustainable material. Smart windows can fulfill these expectations. The question now is ‘How to encourage replacing the regular glass with smart glass?’. The answer lies in after-market solutions for window replacement.

Another probabilistic venture is the combination of solar cells and smart windows. This can transform the absorbed light into a source of energy rather than reflecting most of it, which can be stored in batteries to power up your home. But it suffers from a drawback. The combination will have a lower efficiency because a window cannot do both the tasks simultaneously. But, electrochromic is here to stay, and it would find its way.

An essential part of our homes is now high-tech. The available options require less maintenance, are more energy-efficient, and integrated with the smart home system. Smart windows are a unique light and privacy control option, along with being the future opportunity for smart home integrators.

Jose Mario Douglas is the CEO and founder of Industrial Glass USA, a high end glass and windows distribution company. Jose has over two decades of experience in the commercial glass business. In 2009, Jose, along with his wife Vanessa , founded Industrial Glass USA Inc. to expand international distribution of their Colombia-based family enterprise. With a well-established reputation for high-end glass manufacturing products, including residential and commercial windows, Industrial Glass USA capitalized on Florida’s real estate recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. The company has since expanded to neighboring states in the southeastern region. Jose attributes his success to forging friendships with boutique construction and remodeling companies, who sought a superior glass offering at a more affordable price point. Jose is responsible for all aspects of the business. He led expansion to Spain and the United Kingdom in 2016 and 2017 respectively.