With steady advancements in technology and innovation, man’s activities continue to have a large impact on the planet.
While technology has made our lives easier, it has also had a negative effect on the planet. The realisation of this impact has led to the advancement of many eco-friendly initiatives.
Governments encourage greener activities by offering incentives to individuals and businesses alike. Businesses are encouraged to go paperless, curb their energy use, and encourage recycling among staff in exchange for getting tax breaks. Through government schemes, local councils can reward residents who recycle. Individuals are also supplied with free smart meters to help control their energy usage.
One method that is gaining popularity, especially as a retrofit option, is the use of curtain walling on buildings.
First used in the eighteenth century as support for timber buildings, they have become more widely used as a building envelope to protect against environmental and physical factors.
A versatile exterior element, they can be used on a new build or to protect an old building. The range of materials that can be combined and the configurations that can be created have made curtain walls an essential architectural component.
Choosing a stick, unitised, mullion or spandrel system will depend on the lead time available, preferred aesthetics, and construction site constraints. Individual elements of the facade can be swapped around to confer different properties on the building. These ‘extra’ properties are some of the reasons modern architects can use curtain walls to create more eco-friendly buildings.
Aesthetics aside, (just look at the Gherkin Building) curtain walling provides a host of other functions in modern office buildings including:
- They can be used as a source of renewable energy. By installing photovoltaic cells on the wall, energy from the sun can be harnessed and converted to electricity. This electricity can be used to provide heat and light in the building and even be sold back to the National grid.
- By using double glazed glass, the thermal performance of the building can be enhanced. Trapping an air pocket between two panes of glass provides improved insulation and condensation control; this effect is enhanced in double skin curtain walls. The envelope allows energy conservation by trapping warm air to act as a buffer against the cooler air outside. In warm weather, the effect is reversed.
- The use of thick laminated glass will reduce incoming noise while allowing natural light to flood the building. This has been found to provide a positive effect on the building’s occupants.
- By retrofitting a curtain wall on an old building, the building’s historical value can be preserved. It also eliminates the cost of demolishing and of a new build.
- The facades can be designed incorporating different materials; resulting in buildings that are elegant yet efficient. Granite, steel, timber, and brick can be mixed and matched to create modern masterpieces.
By being both aesthetically pleasing and offering protection to the building and its occupants, curtain walls present one answer to a number of architectural problems. The fact that they also make buildings more energy efficient is a welcome bonus.
The professionals at SRL Limited are committed to helping you construct a functional and stylish curtain wall. Using industry approved materials, we are attentive to every detail and pledge to deliver an ideal finished product. Contact us today for a quote.