Useful Information about Architectural Glazing

Can you use privacy glass for shading?

Privacy glass is not an effective solution for shading

When we speak with people who want to use privacy glass on their project, our first question to them is ‘what will it be used for? This is because there is a common misconception that privacy glass is a shading device.  


What is Privacy Glass?  

Privacy glass, also known as smart glass or switchable glass, is a type of glass that can change its transparency or opacity with the application of an electrical current. This glass typically has a layer of liquid crystal or suspended particle film that responds to a stimulus. When the glass is off or inactive, it appears frosted, providing privacy by blocking visibility from both sides of the glass. When the glass is activated, it becomes transparent. Privacy glass was specifically designed to offer privacy without losing natural light into a space.  

So when we are asked ‘can I use privacy glass for shading?’ the simple answer is no.  

Privacy glass allows solar radiation and sunlight to pass through meaning that only the smallest amount of natural light will be lost through the glass (approximately 10%). This is a key part of how it was designed.  


What are the best applications of privacy glass?  

Privacy glass offers modern, on-demand control, and is a popular choice in areas of high footfall and medical applications which require low cleaning maintenance and hygiene control is required.  

Privacy glass is most successfully used in interior applications where controllable vision is wanted between two different areas. Privacy glass can also be successfully specified for exterior glazing where you may want to block vision through glass at times.  

What are my options for shading with glass?  

If you cannot use privacy glass to shade an internal space what can you use?  

Shading with blinds is a viable option for controlling heat and light from the sun and privacy in internal spaces is positioned high up like rooflights, a blind system can be fully integrated for automated control.  

Shading with blind systems are a popular choice of designers as any style can be achieved from traditional to the contemporary seamlessly, and can be discreetly designed to be out of sight when open. You should work with a company who has experience working with frameless glass systems to ensure that the design of the shading and glass work together.  

For a more high tech option, tinted Electrochromic Glass is an advanced electrical glass solution for a wide range of glass elevations to provide automated solar shading and glare reduction from within the glass unit.  

The light transmission of an Electrochromic Glass Unit will fade down to a minimum of 1%, with the G factor reducing to 5% for a full solar shading solution from a glass elevation. 

Shading solutions provide effective light and privacy control through traditional means but may lack the same level of instant transition and high-tech appeal unless custom bespoke. The choice between the two invariably depends on factors such as budget, aesthetic preferences, desired level of control, and practicality. 



For more information on glazing applications, contact us today