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Curtain Walls Keeping Weather out and Building Costs Down

By William Hauselberg Subscribe to RSS | December 14th 2011 | Views:

Say the word "curtain wall" and most people will think of a curtain used to divide a room. Explain that it keeps the weather out, and they will think of a tent. Perhaps the word is a misnomer, as curtain walls exist in buildings all over the world. They exist in plain sight, with people passing by and not noticing.

Perhaps they have heard the term, "glass wall." That is another misnomer, as a wall is designed to support part of the structure's weight. The curtain wall does not support the weight of the wall or the building. Rather, steel or aluminum framing supports the weight, and the space is generally filled in with glass.

Energy Efficiency in Construction Use

Curtain wall installation uses glass with high energy-efficiency to minimize heating and cooling costs. Glass with a low U-rating is used to reduce solar heat gain. A U-rating describes how much heat the building material conducts. For example, if a windowpane has a U-rating of 20, a lot of heat is transferred through and cooling costs rise. Glass with a UV-protective coating and a U-rating of 1 is highly efficient.

Curtain installation is accomplished by using each material in the process with low U-ratings. The glazing, insulation and the aluminum or steel framework are carefully chosen to maximize energy efficiency.

Standard glass panes measuring ¼" thick may be used in some outer walls, but thicker insulating glass is generally used. Such sheets can measure 1" or more in thickness. In tall buildings, these glass sheets are used because they can withstand the force of the winds at higher altitudes.

Cost Efficiency In Construction

Standard windows bear no weight of the building. Framing around the window to accomplish this requires additional materials, thus adding to construction costs. In a curtain wall installation, the load bearing is placed on the mullions, anchors and the infill material instead of the glass sheets.

Other materials may be utilized instead of glass. High-impact plastics or glass blocks adorn many buildings with curtain installation projects. The effect is stunning, and the cost of materials is less than a conventional wall.

Curtain walls are cost effective for the builder and client while providing energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing building for public viewing. Begin by researching different architects to find one skilled in curtain installation. The end result is well worth the effort and the building will be stunning.

William Hauselberg - About Author:
The author has an immense knowledge on Curtain wall installation. Know more about curtain installation related info in his website.

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