Technical Glazing Terms

Solar Control Options for Structural Glass

Structural glass installations tend to be very large unencumbered structures of glass. Whether the element is a structural glass wall, floor, roof or window the entire glass installation will be frameless with little structure marring the division between inside and out.

This simplistic glass design is perfect for projects looking to connect the internal spaces to the outside and bring in the maximum amount of natural light into a space. But with this ingress in natural light also comes an increase in the amount of solar radiation that enters the space.

Too much solar radiation entering a space can cause overheating, referred to as solar gain. So when specifying structural glass on a project it is also important to consider the options you have for solar control (reducing or controlling the amount of solar radiation that comes through the glass).

Below are some of the more popular and suitable ways in which you can incorporate solar control into a structural glass install:

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Solar Control Coatings

A solar control coating is one of the easiest ways to integrate solar control into any glass structure, especially a structural glass install.

These transparent coatings are applied to the internal face of the external pane of glass within the unit. They can be applied to a whole range of glass thicknesses which makes them perfect for structural glazing where a variety of glass specifications are used.

The metal oxide coating is designed to allow light and vision through glass but reflect solar radiation away, stopping it from entering a space and overheating it.

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What solar control coating you use for your structural glazing will depend on the amount of solar control needed and the appearance you require from the glazing. Solar control coatings are denoted by numbered codes that show their respective light transmission and G Factor (the amount of solar radiation that can penetrate through the coating). For example, a 70/35 coating means that the light transmission through the glazing is 70% and the G Factor is 35%.

It is important to keep in mind that as the G Factor of the glazing reduces the visible external reflection from the glazing increases and the glass may have a coloured tint.

Speak to the technical team at IQ Glass about the solar control options that are available for your project. We will have to take into account the glass sizes, specification and the performance you need from the glazing in order to be able to advise you properly. We have a large variety of solar control coating samples available to view at our showroom in Amersham should you want to see them in person.


External Blinds

For complete shading, you could incorporate an external blind into your structural glass design. An external blind is not always suitable for every structural glass installation (for example it could never be used for a structural glass floor or 3D structural glass install).

One great use of an external blind is for a single storey structural glass wall. The blinds can be manual or automated as required to open and close for shading as and when required. The downside of a blind is that in order to achieve solar shading the blinds have to be closed, stopping vision through the glass elevation and light ingress as well.


External Louvre Systems

These automated louvre roofs are extremely popular on the continent in sunny countries such as Italy and Spain where they are used to provide solar shading for large elevations of glass. External louvre roofs are starting to become a lot more popular for UK architectural designs thanks to their modern appearance and high shading abilities.

Made from an aluminium frame these roofs hold automated aluminium louvres. The user of the space can control the rotation of the louvres, turning them to angles that shade the elevation of glass.

The beauty of this type of shading is that the glass design remains unchanged and you can completely shade a glass façade whilst maintaining views out. Another plus point? When the louvres are closed they create a fully watertight roof. Perfect for creating outdoor living spaces in the British weather.

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IQ Glass offer a range of aluminium louvre roof systems that are used on a wide variety of projects for both solar shading and outdoor living. We have two variations available to view at the showroom in Amersham so make an appointment to see them in person.

There are various ways in which you can design a louvre roof system into a building design including cantilevered roof corners to maintain corner views, integrating the louvres into a solid roof structure and cladding the structure in a different material such as specialist metals or timber.

Automation of the louvres can also be integrated into a smart home or building management control system. You can also integrate sun, rain or wind sensors into the installation so that the louvres operate in relation to the weather. They can automatically close in rain or rotate depending on the position of the sun in the sky.

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Internal Blinds

For a true solar control system, you should try and deal with the solar radiation externally, before it enters the space. If this is not possible the integration of blinds or curtains inside a space is the next best way to provide solar shading.

Horizontal internal blinds are a good solution for large glass rooflight installations to provide shading there. Grants Blinds can provide a bespoke solution for internal blinds using concealed blind boxes for both roof glazing and vertical elevations.

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Want More Information?

If you have any questions or queries about the solar control options that are suitable for your structural glass installation just get in touch with the team on 01494 722 880 or email

Further Reading

What to Consider When Specifying Structural Glass

What is Heat Gain and How Can You Control It?

How to control Solar Gain and Overheating in Highly Glazed Spaces

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