Building Regulations and Planning Permissions

Sustainable Home Design & Architectural Glazing

High performance sustainable glazing

It is imperative that sustainable home design and architectural glazing facades work in harmony to achieve optimal thermal performance while adhering to Building Regulations.  

The race to reach zero carbon within the built environment has never felt with such immediacy. Implementing sustainable designs into every build or home renovation is essential in order to reduce carbon emissions and keep in line with RIBA’s 2025 targets as a minimum and 2030 targets wherever possible. 

Poorly insulated buildings and inefficient cladding and glazing are the largest offenders of carbon emissions within the home, invariably leading to significant increase in energy consumption. 

RIBA’s stepped approach towards reaching net zero by 2050 looks at the reduction of operational energy by 60% reducing embodied carbon by at least 40% (meaning looking at the lifecycle analysis of materials within the build of the whole life carbon), reducing potable water by 40% (as outlined by CIBSE). The building envelope encompasses all structural and cladding materials and importantly, the glazing.  

This informative article will offer some insights and tips for architectural glazing with sustainable design. 


Modern architectural glazing in sustainable design 

The evolution of architectural glazing has significantly contributed to energy-efficient building designs and changed the way architects use glass in the built environment.  

With the recent amended Part L1 to existing dwellings and Part L1 to new build dwellings , designers have clear and strict guidelines on conservation of fuel and power, ensuring good thermal insulation to all external facades.  

Sustainable home design encompasses a variety of strategies aimed at minimising the environmental impact of a building while maximising its energy efficiency and comfort. This can involve factors like orientation, layout, insulation, ventilative cooling, and the use of renewable energy sources. The ultimate goal is to create a building that reduces energy consumption, carbon emissions, and resource use over its lifecycle. 

Thermal breaks in glass frames 

The thermal break within the housing of glass creates low thermal conductivity between two or three glass panels reducing heat loss from inside to outside through the frame maintaining a more stable indoor temperature and reducing energy consumption for heating or cooling. 

Glass coatings for thermal efficiency 

Dual coatings improve thermal performance and can be applied on both sides of the glass, typically to reflect heat away using solar control coating on the internal panel of the external glazing unit, and on the other side, a low-e coating to reduce heat loss during colder months. All of which is outlined in Building Regulations Approved Document O (overheating). 

Controlling solar gain in the built environment sits high on the agenda of architects and as one of their guiding principles, great design should not ‘cost the earth’. 

Vacuum glass and triple glazing

It is recommended to use Triple glazing for oversized elevations of glass which offers the ultimate thermal performance, as does Vacuum glass. These thermal insulating glazing systems hold a hefty price tag with vacuum glazing costing around 35% more than triple glazing. These thermally superior systems can reach impressive heights with the same slimmest sightlines as double glazed systems meaning that there is no compromise on the design, and if anything, visionary architects can ‘pull out all the stops’ with their ambitious designs.  


Low carbon glass 

ORAÉ® glass is the new low carbon glass by Saint Gobain produced by combining high recycled glass content using renewable energy achieving reduction of embodied carbon by more than 40%.  This low carbon glazing system would be recommended for the most stringent of sustainable building goals.


Sustainability with architectural glazing 

Our Sustainability in architectural e-Book was launched in accordance with the latest Building Regulations looking at cradle-to-cradle sustainable designs in glazing systems as a useful resource for specifiers.    


Sustainability in Aluminium  

Aluminium is widely used for its lightweight, strong, and infinitely recyclable qualities in the building sector and is arguable the most sustainable building material in the world.  

Aluminium is resistant to rust or corrosion, making it an obvious choice of glazing frame for coastal glazing projects  

In harsh marine environments. Aluminium windows are highly recommended for marine environments because of its hardwearing and resilient nature.


Sustainability in Steel 

Steel is inherently strong, durable and completely recyclable. In fact, steel plays an important part in the circular economy since it uses less energy to produce than years ago, plus, new steel combines more than 30% recycled content.  

Steel windows and doors  possess a timeless quality which continues to remain a popular choice in various types of projects including barns, period properties, and new builds. 


Sustainable glazing in IQ Glass projects 

Glovers Barn 

Glovers Barn Grade II listed sustainable dwelling with IQ Glass

Glovers Barn, a Grade II listed barn underwent a complete renovation to achieve a sustainable dwelling with thermally efficient large frameless sliding glass windows and doors with structural roof glazing to reflect its original design highlighting the lattice steel diagrid structural beams cleverly continuing the design throughout the extension.  

The high performance aluminium framed windows installed within Glovers Barn increases energy efficiency with its thermally broken for insulation, and reduces solar gain with the added specialist metal oxide coating which reduces temperature transfer across the framing. 

Claywood House 

Claywood House thermally efficient dwelling with high performance glazing by IQ

Claywood House combines high performance bespoke glazing with innovative green power sources to create a sustainable five bedroom home.  

Claywood House featured on Grand Designs TV.  

A red brick and timber clad exterior with minimal framed floor to ceiling sliding glass doors easily accessible to the garden was prominent feature throughout the new build.  

 Working alongside the architects, the team at IQ designed every aspect of the glazing with sustainability in mind. This specialist glazing package utilised a wide variety of systems including slim sliding doors, structural glazing, steel framed fire rated doors and frameless effect Invisio roof glazing. 


Low carbon dwelling in Yorkshire with expansive thermally efficient glazing by IQ.

Greenways, an 9000 sqft eco home in Yorkshire, uses expansive elevations of high performance glazing both internally and externally. The new build included minimal windows sliding glass doorsframeless glass balustradesslim framed aluminium windows and frameless windows as well as a frameless glass link. 




Are you working on an ambitious project requiring highly thermally efficient sustainable glazing? 


Contact the technical team today!