The pros and cons of glass design

7 March 2018

From skyscrapers to self-builds, glass buildings have been a glistening feature in all manner of settings across the globe.

As with all building materials, glass has its fair share of pros and cons. So, if you’re contemplating a glass building, take these into consideration:


Natural light has positive impact on workers

Daylight in the office can have a huge effect on the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff, Eco-Business reports.

Lecturer in architecture at Manchester University, Dr Alan Lewis, told the Independent: “Research has shown that visible light helps the human body to regulate the production of the hormone melatonin, which in turn helps to regulate our body clock, affecting sleep patterns and digestion.

“Visible light also helps to stimulate the body’s production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can reduce the symptoms of depression.”

Reduces heating costs

As JBA notes, one of the primary benefits of this building material is that the access to daylight heats up the building, enabling businesses to reduce or eliminate their need for heating — helping to save money and cutting down their environmental impact.

Aesthetically pleasing

Whether in the heart of a bustling metropolis or in amongst nature, glass buildings can be both aesthetically pleasing to look at and provide inhabitants with first-class views, which can help boost the building’s interior.


Health and safety hazard

As Apple has found out, having a glass building can produce unseen problems. The new campus in Cupertino was Steve Jobs’ design. He wanted it to be the “best office building in the world”, with sweeping glass panes. But, as the Independent reports, within the first few days, emergency services had to be called as several employees hurt themselves by walking into the glass walls.

Costly to cool buildings down

While glass buildings can be great at capturing heat, they are not all so good at releasing the heat. To combat all the daylight in the summer months, glass buildings can often result in higher than average cooling costs.

Sun glare

Access to daylight may be a benefit for those inside glass buildings but, for those in the street, the sun glare can prove to be a nuisance.

In 2013, the “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper in London partially melted a car in the street below due to the reflected light. According to the Daily Mail, the intense rays also blistered the paint of a nearby shop, caused a doormat to start scorching, and a journalist was even able to fry an egg on the street. The building has since been fitted with brise soleil to stop any further damage.

Do you think the benefits of glass buildings outweigh the negatives? To see how you can make the most out of your office’s access to natural daylight, call the experts at Kerr today.

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