Solar Glass

Unveiling the Future of Architecture

In the ever-evolving realm of architecture, innovation continually pushes the boundaries of design possibilities. One such groundbreaking technology that has gained momentum in recent years is vacuum glass. Architects are increasingly turning their attention to this advanced glazing solution, drawn by its unique properties and a plethora of benefits. In this article, we delve into the concept of vacuum glass, exploring its composition, functionality, and the compelling reasons why architects should consider integrating this relatively new technology into their designs. 


Understanding Vacuum Glass: 

Vacuum glass, also known as vacuum insulated glass (VIG) or evacuated glazing, is a high-performance architectural glass that consists of two glass panes separated by a vacuum. Unlike traditional double or triple glazing, where the space between the panes is filled with air or an insulating gas, vacuum glass relies on the absence of gas molecules to minimize heat transfer through conduction and convection. The depth of the vacuum is irrelevant to whether it prevents conduction, so the thinnest space gap between the two pieces of glass is more than adequate. To stop the two toughened glass panes touching, spacers are used, micro steel spheres, at selected points in a grid formation, and an external band is sited around the edge to seal the unit. This standard configuration of vacuum insulated glass units is universal and used by all manufacturers. Originally the air was extracted through a frontal port, commonly know as an extraction port, which left an unsightly cap in one of the corners, and on the face of the unit. The spacers were also originally fairly sizeable, so quite obvious and off putting, visually, to prospective customers. These two issues have been pondered over since the first vacuum unit was produced back in 1997. 

 The response has been to reduce the vacuum thickness to a minimal depth, 0.15mm being the most common, and in doing so, reducing the diameter of the spacers, and lessening their appearance. The extraction port has been widely removed by most manufacturers for smaller units by the use of a vacuum chamber during production. Unfortunately, there are still issues, as heat is used to meld the external edge seals, and this can cause annealing to the toughened/tempered panes. One manufacturer, Werkman Tech, has invented low temperature edge melding and also clear ceramic spacers to remove both issues and enhance the units. By using low temperature methods, not only does it protect the tempered glass, it also allows for a higher and deeper vacuum and in so doing, an even longer life expectancy of over 50 years.  

Thermal Efficiency:

Vacuum glass is unparalleled in its thermal insulation capabilities. The vacuum between the glass panes eliminates heat transfer, providing superior insulation compared to conventional compressed gas filled window units. This results in greatly reduced energy consumption for heating and air conditioning systems, contributing to sustainable and energy-efficient building designs. 

Slimmer Profiles:

  • One of the notable advantages of vacuum glass is its thin and lightweight construction. Architects can now achieve sleek and modern designs without compromising on energy efficiency. The slim profiles offer more design flexibility, allowing for larger windows and an increased influx of natural light. 

Condensation Prevention:

The insulating science of introducing a vacuum between two pieces of glass creates a thermal break between the inside and outside. There are no conduction particles, so each piece of glass reacts to its location. This allows the inner pane to adopt the internal core temperature of the room or building and eliminates the formation of cold spots and the risk of condensation forming. The elimination of glass condensation has obvious benefits, such as streak free views, but some of the less obvious benefits include the prevention of mould or mildew developing and with timber windows, the elimination of wet rot due to condensation. This all contributes to a much healthier indoor environment.  

Acoustic Performance:

Vacuum glass excels in sound insulation, providing a peaceful indoor environment. Architects can use this feature to design spaces in noisy urban settings or to enhance privacy in various applications, such as residential buildings, offices, and healthcare facilities. Standard vacuum units usually have a sound reduction between RW=39 to 45Db. Werkman Tech can increase this level of sound proofing in their units by the introduction of acoustic glass to a vacuum unit to further reduce sound frequencies by up to 95%.

GVG Outside

Long-Term Durability:

  • Vacuum insulated glass by its very design is built for longevity. Internal pressures pull the glass together along with external pressures pushing, so both sides are competing to maintain the airtight seal and vacuum inside. This gives units an expected life span of up to 50 years and new low temperature sealing technologies are lengthening the expected life span even longer by eliminating annealing. Architects are specifing vacuum units with confidence, knowing that it offers a long term, durable solution with far better insulating values and does not require maintenance or changing over the building’s lifespan. 

Environmental Sustainability:

The energy efficiency of vacuum glass aligns with the growing demand for sustainable building practices. Using vacuum glass greatly contributes to achieving various different green building certifications by reducing the overall environmental impact of a structure on heating and pollution and also by removing the traditional use of gas, plastic spacers, silicones and mastics. Add the multiple use of replacing traditional double or triple glazing units to maintain a U value, the further glass, gas, plastic and mastic wastage every five to ten years, and the buildings carbon footprint drastically drops with the use of Vacuum insulated units long term.  

Niche Glazing Items:

The development and innovation of vacuum insulated units is moving forward at pace to catch up with the gas filled market. Werkman Tech have pushed their R & D departments into creating even larger units, available at 3.3m x 2m, curved units to form glass building corners and curved shaped building envelopes and to also complete in the transport window market for trains, planes, superyachts, ships and all other vehicles that require windows. For commercial white goods manufacturers, they are looking to the benefits of vacuum glass for refrigerated unit doors and chest cabinet sliding door tops. For the power generation market, Werkman Tech have introduced clear solar vacuum units to produce electricity from windows. Finally, they also manufacture fireproof and bulletproof vacuum units.  

shibuyasky skyline


As architects seek to create buildings that harmonize aesthetics with functionality, vacuum insulated glass emerges as a transformative material. With its exceptional thermal insulation, slim profile, acoustic performance, condensation prevention, durability, environmental sustainability and niche area abilities, vacuum insulated glass units offer a most compelling case for inclusion in modern architectural designs. Embracing this innovative technology not only elevates the energy efficiency of buildings and lowers carbon footprints but also opens endless possibilities for architects to redefine the boundaries of design and create spaces that are visually striking, environmentally responsible and achieve a longevity that no other material can offer.