The width of single glazing. The warmth of double glazing.
Although mentioned in patent literature as early as 1913, the first successful fabrication of vacuum glazing did not occur until 1989, shortly after the commencement of research at the University of Sydney.
Since 1994, Nippon Sheet Glass Co Ltd has worked with the University on the commercialization of vacuum glazing and finally, in 1996, Nippon Sheet Glass launched its first commercial vacuum glazing product known as SpaciaTM. During this time Nippon Sheet Glass pioneered many aspects of the science and technology of vacuum glazing, including advanced engineering techniques, creative and innovative design concepts and new production methods.
SpaciaTM is made up of 2 pieces of 3mm glass one of which has a Low Emissivity coating, they are separated by a Micro Spacer Grid of small pillars each measures just 0.5mm diameter set 20mm apart, robotically positioned, with "intelligent" camera checking. The edges are sealed hermetically with a low melting point glass frit, then air evacuated and capped. Now part of the NSG Group, Pilkington introduced SpaciaTM to the UK market in Spring 2009. Having over 10 years of real life product experience in Japan, the company was confident that the tried and tested innovation of Pilkington SpaciaTM vacuum glazing would have a natural sympathetic fit with a range of, single-glazed buildings traditionally found in the UK.
At an astonishing thickness of only 6.5mm, Pilkington SpaciaTM delivers an impressive 78% light transmission, and an outstanding acoustic performance of Rw (C, Ctr): 35dB(-1,-3) which is 3dB better than triple glazing. With the possibility of glazing areas as large as 2,400 X 1,350mm and a life expectancy far in excess of the 10 year warranty this is an amazing product. In addition, it delivers thermal insulation which is four times better than single glazing and also offers reduced levels of internal condensation. Pilkington SpaciaTM with a centre pane U Value of 1.4W/m2K, thermally out performs a typical hard coat low-e double glazed unit, which has been the industry standard since 2002. Because of these outstanding credentials, Pilkington can improve the energy efficiency of older, traditional buildings, where original frames have to be retained.
The low weight of Pilkington SpaciaTM allows for the upgrading of box sash windows, with very little adjustments to the operating mechanism. Where new windows have to be fitted to heritage sites, Pilkington SpaciaTM can be installed to give the appearance of single glazing, with the performance of double. Specified by United House for a social housing project for the London Borough of Camden, Pilkington SpaciaTM has already demonstrated savings of up to £300 a year on heating bills. The old Milton Keynes Central Bus Station has benefited from a Pilkington SpaciaTM make-over, thanks to a £500,000 grant from SITA Trust and V, the youth volunteering charity. The architect on this project was Robert de Grey who was the building's original architect. The refurbishment of the original aluminium windows now offers a significantly better performance than when the windows were new.