Many offices, retailers and other businesses are strongly aware of the benefits of daylighting. They understand that energy efficient lighting will reduce their bills, create a more productive office and increase employee wellbeing.
Despite this, a large number of businesses are hesitant to switch from artificially lighting their workplaces to lighting them naturally. The reason for this is partly inertia and partly an understandable fear of one office annoyance: glare.
Glare from large windows and skylights can be a major source of disruption for many businesses, particularly those that depend on computer workstations and displays for productivity. Simply put, glare massively reduces productive output.
Thankfully, glare is significantly less of a problem than it once was for businesses that depend on natural lighting. In fact, with the right type of glazing, glare can be turned into a non-issue even for the most brightly lit, tech-focused offices.
We’ve covered the topic of glazing before, focusing on the best glazing options for different workplaces. In this post, we’ll look at a different side of glazing: how it’s easy to use to reduce glare and brightness in your workplace.
Understanding different glazing materials
Glazing comes in many different forms, and skylight glazing is often made using a variety of materials. Some of the most frequently used types of glazing are PMMA, which is also known as acrylic, polycarbonate and silica aerogel glazing.
Each type of glazing has its own advantages and disadvantages, ranging from heat transfer prevention to the ability to protect glass from impact. Certain varieties of glazing – for example polycarbonate glazing – are also highly eco-friendly.
The best glazing for reducing brightness
The best way to reduce glare isn’t to reduce light, but to install materials that turn concentrated light into diffuse light. All of our skylights can be customised using a variety of materials that reduce glare by diffusing otherwise concentrated light.
One of the best choices for modern offices is fiberglass. Fiberglass glazing is very popular with large industrial buildings, schools and other structures in which a large amount of space needs to be lit without excessive glare.
An advantage of fiberglass glazing is its ability to allow UV A radiation to transfer without significant reduction, all the while blocking more harmful UV B radiation and preventing heat transfer.
These benefits are compounded by the excellent track record of fiberglass, which has been used in modern buildings for more than four decades. Fiberglassglazing blocks glare without blocking light and prevents harmful UV radiation.
Another competitively priced and highly effective glazing material is silica aerogel – one of several glazing options we offer on our own daylighting systems. One of the biggest advantages of silica aerogel is its ability to prevent heat transfer.
Occasionally called ‘frozen smoke,’ silica aerogel glazing prevents the concentrated and specific light that can lead to glare without resulting in a significant reduction to overall light levels, making it a great choice for energy efficient offices.
Reducing light levels to reduce glare
In addition to the glazing materials listed above, a variety of filters and films can be installed on windows and skylights to prevent glare. These have the disadvantage of also reducing ambient light levels – something many businesses wish to avoid.
Protective films and filters are typically used in very bright, hot work environments in which both light levels and glare need to be controlled. In most cases, they’re not the best choice for reducing glare on its own without affecting light levels.
Whether you need to reduce light and glare or simply eliminate excess brightness in your workplace, both glazing and protective film are a good choice. The ideal choice, like many other decisions, depends largely on your priorities as a workplace.