Daylighting Education


LEED and Solera®

Until recently, the lack of appropriate materials has made it exceedingly difficult to design high-performance buildings with translucent glazing in vertical applications. Most translucent glazings were some form of plastic, unsuitable for use in curtain walls. Solera® offers, for the first time, the ability to create innovative designs for high-performance buildings with vertical translucent glazings that meet the highest aesthetic and performance requirements.

Solera® is a high-performance insulated translucent glazing. Used in window, clerestory, and curtain wall applications, it fills rooms with soft light while providing excellent thermal insulation. Unlike conventional translucent glazing materials, Solera® is glass and so has a very small environmental footprint.

Sustainable Sites/Light Pollution Reduction

One of Solera®’s many attributes is its ability to diffuse light — both incoming light during the daytime and outgoing light at night. In addition to the beacon effect that Solera® possesses at night, the light escaping a building can be considerably less than with vision glass, thereby reducing light pollution of the surrounding area.

Energy and Atmosphere/Renewable Energy (20%)

One of the prime opportunities for renewable energy utilization lies in Daylight Harvesting. Solera® makes daylight harvesting feasible by by enabling the daylight to penetrate deep into the space, something that clear glass is unable to do. Using a blue green glass in the product Solera® product configuration creates a "cool" daylight, reducing A/C loads.

Energy and Atmosphere/Optimize Energy Performance

Solera®’s exceptional thermal insulation (R5) and diffusion of incoming solar heat gain will reduce and often remove the need for perimeter heating or cooling. And with spectrally selective blue-green glass, Solera® will also reduce solar heat gain, thereby reducing the A/C load even more.

Solera® facilitates Daylight Harvesting to reduce the requirement for artificial lighting. Additionally, Solera®’s ability to deliver daylight to deeper space means that larger floor plates are possible. These have a lower ratio of perimeter to floor area, reducing operating costs for HVAC while meeting requirements for deep space access to daylight.

Materials & Resources/Regional Products

For projects in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, Solera® meets the requirements for local/regional product credit, with its manufacturing location in Nova Scotia, Canada. Employed in locally prefabricated glazing assemblies, Solera® will meet this criterion everywhere.

IAQ Low/Emitting Materials

Solera® is a low-emitting material. Unlike plastic or FRP translucent glazing materials, Solera®’s exterior surfaces are architectural glass. Solera® contains neither VOCs nor sealants, thereby fulfilling the requirements of both SCAQMD rule #1168 and the Bay High performance insulated translucent glazing units with the quality and permanence that comes only with glass.

Area Air Quality Management District Reg. 8, Rule 51.

Solera® also contains less than 0.001ppm of the EPA’s list of 17 chemicals targeted for reduction.

Thermal Comfort

With an R-factor up to R 25, Solera® dramatically reduces localized overheating or cooling problems encountered near windows with poorer thermal performance.

Daylighting & Views

Solera® diffuses light, thereby delivering it further into a building’s deep space. With appropriate building design, Solera® delivers soft daylight to the target 90% of user spaces. In combination with vision glass, users receive glare-free daylight while maintaining views.

Life Cycle

Solera® is glass. It represents a long-life alternative to conventional plastic-based translucent glazings. Conventional plastic glazings have typical, practical life spans of 10 to 20 years, limited by color change, scratching, cracking and, in the case of FRP products, degradation caused by delamination and fiber bloom. In contrast, Solera® achieves a usable lifespan of 60 to 100 years. This is a result of several factors:

  • Glass is used as the major environmentally-exposed material. Glass holds its appearance and physical properties for an indefinite period, and serves to protect underlying components from exposure to UV-B and UV-C.
  • The spacer system is made from anodized aluminum, which is protected from the elements by an architectural framing made from the same material. The spacer system has a very long lifetime in this configuration.
  • The other significant material component in the Solera® TGU is its’ acrylic-based honeycomb transparent insulation. Acrylic, like glass, is an inherently UV-stable material. It requires no UV stabilizers. In Solera®, the acrylic component is protected from UV exposure by glass, and will have an indefinite lifespan.
  • Use of ‘equilibrium moisture dynamics’: Standard non-diffusing air-spaced glass glazing units require that the cavity be kept at a low humidity and dewpoint to prevent internal condensation. In fact, in these systems, seal failure or ordinary through-seal diffusion will exhaust desiccant, at which point the IGU will likely have to be replaced. Solera® works on a completely different principle, called ‘equilibrium moisture dynamics’, and, when properly installed, will not accumulate internal moisture. With respect to maintenance, the exterior surfaces of Solera® units are glass and require no special attention other than glass cleaning.