Millions of birds are killed every year by collisions with glass surfaces or bird-strikes. But to avoid this problem the glass specialists at Arnold Glas have now developed a new type of insulated glass sheeting that can significantly reduce this danger. Architects are already praising the quality of this architectural glass, and scientists have proven its effectiveness.
The glass facades of office buildings, hotels and transparent noise barriers, as well as even domestic wintergardens can turn into a deadly trap for flying birds. Because birds cannot see the transparent glass commonly used in most buildings and they collide head-on with these glass surfaces at high speed. Each day over 250,000 birds die across Europe as a result. Seeing the use of glass can’t be avoided in modern architecture, the experts at Arnold Glas (based in Merkendorf, Germany) decided to develop an improved type of insulated glass that can minimize birdstrikes. Recently, this new type of anti-bird-strike glass was initially used in the city of Plauen during the modernization of the facade of its public swimming pool.
From a bird’s point of view - typical glass fronts and free-standing glass barriers simply aren’t recognized as being obstacles, because birds see a landscape either reflected by the glass or through it. In any event, birds tend to fly towards such apparently open areas and unfortunately this illusion ends in the death for millions of birds every year.
Here, the obvious solution is to make glass surfaces identifiable for flying birds. That’s why black bird-like silhouettes are often glued on to the glass sheeting of noise barriers, windows or wintergardens. But although well intended, these bird-stickers have been shown to be ineffective many years ago, and in Switz-erland they’ve even been taken off the market entirely.
The Solution: Using Visible UV-Light
Today however, many building can in fact be made bird-friendly, despite having extensive glass surfaces. The modern solution to this old problem is based on the use of a special UV reflective coating which is practically transparent for humans, but is clearly visible to birds which can see a broader UV spectrum than we can. Here, intense and time consuming research was needed to establish this fact which has been largely ignored by most glass makers. But thankfully there are exceptions, such as Arnold Glas whose new Ornilux insulated glass sheeting represents a new, innovative product designed to reduce the causes of birdstrike.
According to Christian Irmscher, Director of Applied Technologies at Arnold Glas, Ornilux glass uses a unique UV reflective coating that allows birds to easily identify glass surfaces and therefore avoid collisions with them. “Our new application is based on the anti-bird-strike patent and basic research conducted by Dr. Alfred Meyerhuber which examined the use of glass coatings and the UV vision of birds First Project: A New Glass Facade for the Plauen Swimming Pool The first installation of this bird-friendly glass was in the spring of 2006, during the modernization of the 100 year old enclosed swimming pool in the city of Plauen, in the German State of Saxony. In addition to its impressive modern architecture, the new pool also took advantage of the latest technical innovations: such as 152 sheets of the new reinforced insulated glass “Ornilux SB 1” which enclosed the entire 250 m² of its new glass facade.
Thanks to this new facade, the whole building now appears light and transparent, with outstanding views of the nearby river as well as the historic city center. The main reasons for using Ornilux in the facade where due to its ability to reduce bird-strikes as well as its excellent transparency, because the thin striped coating used on each sheet are practically invisible to the human eye. The total thickness of the glass sheeting was only 32 mm, with the interior surface using reinforced safety glass.
This proven to be significantly better than the other alternative, which would have used a colored adhesive (using stripes and bird-silhouettes) covering 50% of the facade. Effectiveness Confirmed Independent field studies conducted at the Radolfzell Bird Sanctuary, by Dr. Hans-Willy Ley from the Max Planck Institue for Ornithology, confirmed the effectiveness of Arnold’s unique Ornilux glass. During these experiments various glass types were tested on over 850 birds from 19 different species. After capture, the wild birds were given time to recover and were then released in a flight tunnel. The birds could then fly towards one of two glass panels mounted at the end of the tunnel which were separated by a net. Of the two glass panels, one panel was made of common insulated glass as a control object and the other panel was used for testing the effectiveness of various glass types. The experimental results for Ornilux glass clearly showed that 76 % of the birds tested (representing 82 from 108 test flights) avoided the newly developed Ornilux panel and flew towards the conventional glass panel.
Christian Irmscher from Arnold Glas adds, “Ornilux was clearly recognized by the birds as an obstacle due to its reflective UV coating. And it can thereby help reduce the number of birds which are killed by collisions with glass surfaces in building, noise barriers and private homes.” An Innovation Prize for Ornilux Insulated Glass In 2006, Arnold Glas won the prestigious “Innovation Award for Architecture and Building” during the DEUBAU international construction trade fair in Essen, Germany. Here, a jury of outstanding architects awarded this unique prize to the company in recognition of the “innovative efforts of Arnold Glas in the development of a product for large, bird-strike endangered glass surfaces.”
In addition, Arnold Glas was also recently nominated for the “2007 German Design Prize” by the German Design Council. Arnold Glas is one of Europe’s most innovative insulated glass specialists, headquartered in Remshalden with facilities in Germany and Austria. They offer a complete range of ISOLAR glass products, from single pane safety glass to laminated multi-pane safety glass as well as all the mounting fixtures and services you need – start to finish, for the best in glass.
Point of Contact:
Arnold Glas / Roeder Windows & Doors
LLC 476 E. Main Street;
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: +1 805 895 9436