Where can glass be used?

Application Overview

Glass is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of different applications. The design requirements for glass will depend on the application, and below are highlighted key considerations to help determine the right glazing solution.


Windows are the most common application for glass, offering light into a space, and a view out of it.

Windows can be designed for high levels of thermal insulation, in double and triple glazing configurations, as well as, where necessary, solar gain reduction, noise reduction and safety and security.

Saint-Gobain offer a wide range of solutions for residential and commercial applications.

Full-height glazing, where the window forms a significant part, or the whole, of a wall, allows high levels of daylighting to the interior of a building. Saint-Gobain's range of high performance products allow maximum levels of light, whilst reducing overheating and incident noise from outside, and at the same time offering safety and security to building occupants.

Saint-Gobain is able to support with specifications, and to provide guidance on suitable configurations to meet Building Regulation requirements, and satisfy the demands of associated Codes of Practice.

Glass can be used as part of a balustrade, or a free-standing barrier, in order to allow light to flow throughout the interior without compromising on safety. 

Where glass balustrades are installed in buildings, they should be designed to adequately protect people from falling, or from any other hazards. The design of a balustrade is determined by the intended use of the building, the potential risks to its users and occupants and the design of the supporting system.

The design of glass for balustrade applications can be complex, and BS 6180:2011 provides additional guidance on design. Saint-Gobain is able to support with specifications and calculations, and provide guidance to help determine suitable solutions for both free-standing barriers and balustrade infill panels.

Further information on the design of balustrades is available within the Technical Library.

Rooflights allow for additional daylighting of spaces where windows don’t let in enough light. Products are available to offer thermal insulation, solar control, low maintenance properties and noise reduction.

Overhead glazing should always be designed to withstand potential wind and snow loadings, and most importantly with the safety of those beneath in mind. Falling glass would be a key risk for building occupants where overhead glazing is considered, and ensuring suitable glass types are in place can reduce, or negate, the risk of harm.

In some cases, where access to the glazing is possible, additional requirements for glazing need to be considered. These requirements can range from containment in the case of accidental fall, through to glazing that is essentially acting as a floor.

Spandrels and shadow boxes are typically aesthetic elements, designed to complement the aesthetic of the glazing, whist providing high levels of thermal insulation.

For shadow boxes, they can be designed to give the perception of depth behind the glazing, again, for aesthetic reasons.

Both spandrels and shadow boxes must be designed to withstand potentially high temperatures due to high levels of solar absorbance, both with regards glass and thermal stress, and interlayer stability.