The Advantages of Translucent Facades

The Advantages of Translucent Facades

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Climate change and economic turmoil have made sustainability one of the most important factors in contemporary architecture. Designers and homeowners alike are now concerned with building more eco-friendly homes that can lower both carbon emissions and energy costs. One recent innovative idea in sustainable design is the construction of translucent facades or exteriors, which can help reduce a home’s energy consumption.

Building materials can have a major effect on the sustainable longevity of any home. Houses built with transparent or translucent exteriors can take advantage of the sun to light a home during the daytime and also help retain heat in the winter. The two most popular translucent materials are glass and polycarbonate, which offer long-term energy efficiency and have a modern aesthetic appeal for homeowners.

Glass Exteriors

Glass has become a very contemporary material, with floor-to-ceiling glass buildings gaining popularity over the years. A facade that is either entirely or partially made out of glass offers a modern elegance that’s appreciated by architects and clients alike.

In addition to being stylistically attractive, a glass exterior is energy efficient—and by extension cost effective—for homeowners. By offering natural lighting and solar heat, glass abundant homes reduce the use of electricity and heating indoors, which helps residents save money on their utility bills.

Despite its benefits, glass is a building material with a few setbacks, too. It’s both heavy and fragile, which makes it difficult to work with during construction. Glass also creates glare, in addition to being susceptible to vibrating and breaking. These drawbacks have made many designers turn to a more durable translucent option—polycarbonate facades.

Polycarbonate Sheets

translucent facades

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Polycarbonate sheets or panels are a useful alternative to glass because they offer similar sustainable benefits but are more malleable and functional materials. Brands like Rodeca and Makrolon produce polycarbonate products that are lightweight, but also very durable.

Polycarbonate can resist major impacts from storms, ensuring that residents feel comfortable and safe in their homes. It lets sunlight in but limits glare while also protecting from harmful UV rays. Like glass, polycarbonate exteriors allow the sun to light and heat a home, making them energy and cost efficient.

Here in sunny Boulder, translucent facades built with either glass or polycarbonate are a great solution for homeowners concerned with sustainability. Not only can they save energy and cut down on utility bills, clear or semitransparent exteriors also allow residents to enjoy the city’s beautiful natural views.

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