The energy revolution underway in glass extensions

Christian Wiegel at Solurlux discusses glass as a construction material in the context of a research project on the development of ‘energy self-sufficient’ glass extensions

onstructions made of glass have their own special charm. As a trained architect and engineer, I am thinking first of all about architectural aesthetic appeal and I use the word archi- tecture here to encompass the language of form, design and tectonics. For more than 15 years the driving tension field of my work has been ‘atmos- pheres, tectonics and energies. Glass as a construction material has an unexpectedly large influence on the energy characteristics of a building, while the climate of a particu- lar location also plays its role. A building’s facade which is made predominantly of glass can make a significant part of the solar radiation effective as useful energy in the building. Admittedly, in the summer, solar energy may provide more heat than the user wishes and in the winter, a comparatively large proportion of the heating energy of the building is lost via the glass facade into the environment. During my professional career, I have prepared calculations and plans for many buildings to show how, over a course of a year, buildings can lose the least minimum energy through the facade. The perceptible comfort of the interior for the user is the key factor when building a glass extension.


Before the research project of the past three to four years could get fully underway there were a few things which had to be prepared and clarified including the instal- lation of the research glass extension on the Solarlux site in 2013.

As transparent extensions are glass struc-

tures, research poses a great many interesting questions including: How much energy can be provided by the sun alone? How does the location affect it? How much energy do we need for heating in winter? What savings in heating energy for a residential house can extensions provide and how much energy does an extension itself need?


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