The new world of glass
When you live on the beach or at the top of a mountain or in the middle of a beautiful forest, you want to maximize your view; you want to bring the outside in. Well science and technology have made advances that can help you live inside ,but feel like you're outside.
The desire for open floor plans that has evolved during the past 30 years, has paved the way for architecturally interesting spaces, including walls of glass. Instead of homeowners being happy with just one room with a great view to entertain in, now everyone wants a view from every room. This desire combined with technology providing for more energy efficient windows, tax incentives and rebates has kept glass manufacturers busy with new and innovative designs.
Today almost all windows installed in new homes and new windows installed in existing homes have special invisible coatings that block heat and keep ultraviolet rays from fading furniture and carpeting. Triple pane products with gases sandwiched between layers helping to insulate against heat and cold are also available.
In addition, Anderson windows are now manufactured with a titanium dioxide coating they claim sheds dirt and eliminates water spots. There are even windows that can be tinted electronically to accommodate for different degrees of sun based on the time of year and the property's orientation on the lot.
One of these products is called SageGlass which gives you the power to change your environment by doing what ordinary glass can't do. It switches from clear to darkly tinted at the touch of a button by sending a low voltage current across the window. The tint reduces glare and heat, but not visibility. And as all Florida residents know, impact resistant windows and doors are now code for new construction and whole house retrofits for hurricane protection.
If the cost of low voltage current running through your wall of windows is more than you can justify, there are plenty of window covering companies adding special products to accommodate walls of glass. Hunter-Douglas has a solar energy sensor that raises and lowers blinds based on the amount of detected sun, and electronically controlled and remote controlled systems are also available even with an app for your I Phone or Android Smartphone.
But like all new consumer products the cost to purchase this state of the art glass for your home is pricey. The cost to build full walls of glass rather than traditional walls with insulation is about double, and despite the technological improvements, probably not as efficient as regular walls. Remote controlled window coverings may not be as much as remote tinted windows, but also will add to your overall window treatment cost.
What about the cost to clean all this glass. It's kind of like the cost of fuel for your new boat, if you have to ask you can't afford it. One quote I read was $1,000 three times a year for a large home with walls of glass.
I'm pretty sure that the cavemen weren't interested in bringing the outside in – their primary objective was to keep the outside out. We certainly have come full circle, and although we may not want to live outside, we want to be able to feel like we are, and for that reason the passion for more glass in our homes isn't about to end any time soon.