In Italy, the construction sector is responsible for 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions: more than the transport sector (at 32%) and industry (at 28%). Heating and cooling, depending on the season, accounts for 70% of a building's energy consumption and CO2 emissions. For this reason, the demand for insulating glass has increased. With the demand for increasingly energy-efficient homes and buildings, glass plays a key role. Double glazing, triple glazing, low-emissivity, solar control: there are different types on the market. The ideal would be glass that can offer the comfort and performance of triple glazing while being as thin and light as a single pane. A challenge that AGC has accepted.
The company has been researching innovations for vacuum glazing for years, and the project began to move following an alliance with Panasonic to integrate plasma display technology for consumer electronics with AGC's glass expertise. The use of Panasonic's technology to produce insulating glass led AGC to design a production line with customised machines and integrate this system into a continuous production flow to meet the glass industry's requirements for automation and reliability.
Latest generation glass
Fineo is AGC's latest generation of ultra-thin vacuum-packed glass, guaranteeing living comfort and high performance in terms of insulation. With its ultra-thin thickness (from 6 mm), it achieves unprecedented thermal and acoustic performance, as well as optimal light transmission. The ultimate in slim design to optimise living comfort. A double glazing consisting of two 3 mm panes, one of which is coated with a super-insulating layer, separated by a 0.1 mm super-thin vacuum space where small, almost invisible cylindrical uprights are positioned to prevent the two panes from coming into contact due to external pressure. Unlike other vacuum glazing technologies, Fineo does not have a visible evacuation opening and has very thin edge seals, thus ensuring maximum viewing area.
The Belnine project
With 6,500 square metres of office space on 11 floors, Belnine is a refurbishment project that guarantees a bright and high-quality working environment thanks to its high performance in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation. "With this project, Fineo is breaking new ground. Previously, we had focused on offering the product as a solution for the renovation and restoration of historic buildings, but Fineo is also an interesting option for new buildings with high energy performance. For Belnine, we chose a hybrid product combining Fineo glass with traditional double glazing. A much thinner and lighter solution than triple glazing, offering better thermal performance and high acoustic insulation, which also has advantages in terms of recyclability, with a positive impact on the environment,' explains Serge Martin, CEO of Fineo - AGC Glass Europe.
Fineo's performance is capable of positively impacting the energy balance of buildings. The slim profile allows it to be integrated into existing frames or new glazing and curtain walls. Ivan Frank, architect of the ArtBuild studio responsible for the project, explains why he chose the combination of Fineo and Schüco for the façade of this building: 'Until now, meeting the technical and energy requirements of buildings meant choosing thicker materials: thicker insulation, double and triple glazing and so on. But now we are moving in the opposite direction, with thinner glazing. This has been a challenge for us because Rue Belliard is a very symbolic location in Brussels. So when designing this building, we tried to develop an envelope that would not only provide a feeling of openness to the outside world, but also protect against the impact of noise pollution. This is what Fineo is all about: creating a barrier to protect the offices and at the same time open them up to the city'.
Joep Romgens, Head of Engineering Belgium & Luxemburg at Schüco Belgium, one of the partners in this adventure, explains why he chose to work with AGC, selecting Fineo glass. "Increasingly stringent energy efficiency standards for buildings require intelligent solutions that offer innovation in terms of sustainability, technology and design. Together with AGC, we believe we have created a complete solution that offers façade builders many advantages, the main one being that they need less time and space on site. Each façade element is prefabricated in the factory and delivered to the project site when needed. The process of integrating Fineo into the shared project was subjected to theoretical testing and practical inspections at our technology centres."