Commercial Glazing vs. Residential Glazing

When it comes to glass installation, the needs of the residential and commercial markets are distinct. For most residences, glass is for windows and doors, and the occasional sunroom or skylight. For commercial buildings, in many cases glass may comprise a significant square footage of exposed wall space.

Due to the size and scale of most commercial properties in contrast to residential properties, a different glazing process is required. The amount and type of glass needed will be different, as will the glazing and installation process.

Glazers working on commercial projects require special training, materials, tools, and safety equipment. If a curtainwall is being installed, scaffolding and other measures may have to be applied in order to complete installation.

Internal Load vs. Envelope Load Dominated Buildings

Most commercial properties are internal load dominated buildings, which is a description used in commercial construction applied to the solar heat gain potential of the property. Large buildings that contain large amounts of people and house a large amount of equipment generate much more internal heat per square foot than that of a residential property, which is an envelope load dominated building and does not generate the same level of internal heat.

Commercial Glazing Benefits

Commercial properties are often constructed using windows or walls of glass made with specialized solar glazing to reduce solar heat gain. This type of glazing can help limit energy spending. Double and triple glazing can also be beneficial in commercial glazing and is less common (although gaining in popularity) for residences. Commercial glazing offers high-quality thermal performance, and enhanced acoustics.

Commercial glazing can create natural light in spaces occupied by many people for long hours, either in retail or office settings, and the thermal insulation provided can also be beneficial. Well insulated glass buildings have lower cooling costs in summer, and lower heating costs in winter. This is typically not cost effective for a residence but can helpful in reducing the maintenance and operation budget for an office building, supermarket, or medical center.

Commercial Glazing Applications

Interior applications for commercial glass include offices constructed with glass walls, and interior doors and foyers. Custom glass and mirrors can be used throughout the interior of a commercial structure. Exterior applications include storefronts, display windows, and curtainwall systems that provide the entire face of the building with a brilliant finish. Curtainwall glass doesn’t bear the load of the roof and requires special engineering to be properly designed and installed for a commercial structure. Again, this type of expense is not typically desired for residential homes.

While some advantages of commercial glazing can be translated into benefits for a luxury home, in most cases commercial glass vs. residential glass remain two separate industries and you will need a specialized glazer for your commercial construction project. Contact Perspective Glass today for a consultation and quote.