Here’s what you need to know about channel glass to get started on your next project.
When architects and building professionals choose channel glass, the decision is typically driven by the desire to achieve a specific aesthetic. The glass has such a distinctive appearance that it greatly impacts the overall design.
Fortunately, designers have a broad range of options in channel glass at their disposal, including different colors, textures and degrees of translucency.
Standard Channel Glass
Due to its iron content and relative thickness, standard channel glass has an inherent slight green hue. The surface texture is lightly dimpled, providing a moderate level of translucency. Both color and texture can be altered to create a different aesthetic for a particular project or to meet specific performance requirements.
The optical qualities of channel glass are due largely to its surface texture. The standard surface can be replaced with one that offers a higher degree of clarity and minimal texture, or enhanced patterns that increase privacy (with fluted waves, thin lines or a netted surface). To visualize how light plays through all available surface options, visit TGP’s Pilkington Profilit Texture Tool.
Channel glass is available in a wide array of colors that are achieved in multiple ways. A subtle translucent blue color can be added during manufacturing. For an variety of opaque color options, enameled frit can be heat tempered to the glass.
To obtain even more dramatic colors, a high performance coating is applied to the glass that doesn’t require tempering and is bonded to the glass with remarkably high adhesion strength (exceeded only by ceramic frit). This method makes it possible to achieve a wide array of opacities and even use metallic colors with varying translucency. Most RAL color system options are available. Learn more about Pilkington Profilit™ with TGP ProColor®. You can also read how this product was used to dress up an upscale casino here.
The lower the iron content, the clearer the channel glass and the greater amount of daylighting available. Pilkington Profilit™ OW (Low-Iron) allows the passage of light to fill interior or exterior spaces. The low iron content enables a less green appearance than typical standard glass. These low-iron cast glass channels are self-supporting and consist of extruded perimeter frames. See how Pilkington Profilit OW was incorporated into a Federal Courthouse in San Diego, CA.
One of the main benefits of channel glass is its ability to allow teams to design with daylight. Functional coatings preserve this critical light transfer while improving performance levels. Amethyst and bronze (Antisol) coatings are common pyrolytic coatings that can be added to any channel glass design. These two types of coatings shift the color from its standard green cast to blue or other light colors, while either improving U-values or energy efficiency.
A low-e coating can increase the energy efficiency of the system by improving the U-value of the glass. It accomplishes this by reflecting infrared light (i.e. heat energy) back into the building during the cold months and reflecting or absorbing energy from the outside to reduce the amount of excess heat coming into the building during the summer. As a result, uninsulated channel glass with a low-e coating can reduce the U-value to 0.45.
While a low-E coating can be applied to all available channel glass textures, it cannot be sandblasted as this will strip the coating off, eliminating the performance benefit.
Channel glass with a solar coating helps reduce the total solar radiation transmittance into the building, resulting in an approximate SHGC value of 0.38. It is translucent with a slight bronze tint and can be applied to all available channel glass textures. As with low-e coatings, it cannot be sandblasted.
Learn more about available functional coatings by visiting Pilkington Profilit Design Options.
Sandblasted channel glass is ideal for applications requiring a more obscure appearance or greater opacity, such as offices, entryways or lounge rooms. It allows for light transfer while obscuring vision in a visually engaging manner. Typically, sandblasting can be applied to all textures, unless they already have a surface-applied specialty coating. Sandblasted surfaces should be treated with a polymer type coating to protect against finger and handling marks.
Visit Pilkington Profilit Design Options to learn more about available sandblasting options.