It’s Clear: Glass Can Reduce Building Costs

As a project develops from initial design to final working drawings, materials or assemblies are often analyzed to see if building costs can be reduced. This process is called value engineering (VE).

In most cases, VE can be performed during any phase of the project but we recommend an investigation in the early stages – say, during the schematic design or design development phase.

One way to reduce building costs is to analyze the storefront glass as a VE material. Storefront glass makes up 30-50% of our building envelopes, and in some cases, much more! Storefront glass can come in various types: Low E, tinted, laminated, and reflective to name a few. In analyzing glass systems, there are several questions you should ask …

Is the glass energy efficient? One way to find out is to perform a Comcheck analysis. You can input U- factors and SHGC values given by the respective product specifications and that will let you know if it passes energy code requirements.

Is the glass easy on the eyes? We often specify Low-E clear glass on our projects because it performs well and as the name states, it is clear. Having tinted glass may not be ideal but it may cost considerably less, and can still be energy efficient.

Will the glass meet zoning ordinances? Some zoning ordinances will not allow reflective glass, and may require a certain percentage of glazing on main facades.

When analyzing an alternate glass system, your choice should not compromise performance or quality of the project. However, finding the right kind of glass can reduce the cost of a project.