December 15, 2021

Reduce CO2 Emissions Effectively With Natural Light

Written by Rebecca Clayton

Reduce CO2 Emissions Effectively With Natural Light

How choosing the right specialist glazing systems can impact your energy usage and reduce CO2 emissions

With a move toward sustainable building design, changes to building regulations and the government's plans to cut carbon emissions, finding ways to reduce CO2 emissions in homes has become an increasingly hot topic. One way to do this is by maximising natural light to reduce the energy needed for artificial lighting. 

Natural light has long since been regarded as an essential rather than a luxury within any new build home project. In modern architecture, large elevations of oversized glazing are regarded as the ultimate luxury and interior design schemes often revolve around spaces flooded with natural light, which can help to reduce CO2 emissions.

Why should we reduce co2 emissions?

luxury new build home with slim framed aluminium glazing

Building regulations part L sets out guidance for the consumption of fuel and power in dwellings. Part of this is balancing solar gain with the amount of daylight that will need to be supplemented with artificial electric lighting. Highly glazed homes may run the risk of overheating is not specified with solar control glass, this needs to be considered during the early stages of a project. 

Homes with little influx of natural light will see an impact on their energy use, requiring the use of electric lighting more than properties featuring a lot of glazing. Building Regulations recommend “an appropriate combination of window size and orientation, solar protection through shading and other solar control measures, ventilation and high thermal capacity.”.

Benefits for Architects

It is beneficial for architects to include glazing sensibly within luxury new build dwellings, to utilise natural light and ultimately limit the use of artificial lighting. All of our slim framed window and door solutions are fully thermally broken and deliver exceptional levels of thermal performance whilst allowing in a vast amount of natural light. When specifying the full glazing package, a mix of opening and fixed elements can be discussed with the technical experts to ensure the space is adequately ventilated.

As of June 2022, new building regulations chages have come into effect for new projects, this includes new regulations for glazing. More information on updated Building Regulations Approved Document L and architectural glazing can be found here

How to use glass and natural light to reduce carbon emissions

eaves window maximising natural light to reduce the comes carbon footprint

Frameless glazing is the best way to bring natural light into an interior space and our Invisio structural glazing system has been specifically developed to offer the highest performance levels.

As the first fully thermally broken structural glazing system, the Invisio system delivers high thermal performances to keep highly glazed spaces comfortable in the colder months, whilst preventing overheating in the summer.

Part L1 states that “if the area of glazing is much less than 20% of the total floor area, some parts of the dwelling may experience poor levels of daylight, resulting in increased use of electric lighting”.

It is beneficial for architects to incorporate as much natural light into the project as possible, particularly in projects striving to follow a biophilic architectural design.

Solar Gain and Solar Control

If a glass installation is south facing, it is important to consider solar gain, not only to stop the space from overheating but also to prolong the life of any furniture in the room. The sun's rays can cause discolouration and damage to furniture if precautions aren’t taken to provide solar shading. Specifying low e glass will enhance the functionality of the design, whilst prolonging the life of your furniture.

oversized glazing used to increase natural light and reduce artificial lighting

Solar control glass is an invisible solution that works by reducing the amount of short-wave radiation that travels through the glass units, therefore reducing the overall heat levels inside. If a softer approach is preferred, integrated curtains can be specified. With concealed tracks and hidden fixing details, recessed curtain tracks are the perfect choice for soft, minimal designs.

It is important to note that solar gain can also be utilised to reduce c02 emissions, as the heat from the sun's rays can be incorporated into the heat source for the home. 

A great example of this is a project that IQ worked on in the Cotswolds, which is a large extension to a listed building that was granted planning permission under Paragraph 80 (previously paragraph 79).


South Facing Elevations

The south facing elevations of the home used Invisio structural glass walls and minimal windows slim sliding doors to create a glass facade that ran along the side of the extension. This was done so that the solar gain from the sun's rays could be used as the sole heat source for the new space, eliminating the need for traditional heating systems that increase a home's carbon footprint. 

Whichever minimally framed glazing solutions are specified for your project, IQ are on hand to help advise on glazing specification to help meet project requirements, both in terms of performance and design.


Just get in touch to see how you can utilise our advanced glazing systems to cut down your CO2 emissions.