Glow glass – you have to feel it, to believe it

Paul Higgins
Paul Higgins

TuffX has launched Glow heated glass, game changing technology that introduces a wealth of opportunity to the industry. Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, visits the TuffX HQ to find out more.

According to Wikepedia, innovation ‘is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services’.

In the glass and glazing industry – like many other sectors – innovation is absolutely vital to drive businesses forward, which is why we place such a high value on new ideas, products, services and initiatives.

And it’s why we see often see new products and services described as ‘cutting edge’ or ‘game changing’. But every so often, we’re treated to an innovation that really does have the potential to significantly raise the bar in terms of product offer.

The launch of Glow glass, by TuffX, might very well be one of these industry milestones.

Glow glass, which enables the interior pane of a double or triple glazed unit to be heated up, is not an entirely new technology, in fact I first saw it showcased four or five years ago. Since then, TuffX has been working hard to fine tune that early concept into a product that is finally ready to be rolled out to customers.

That has included additional R&D as well as a considerable investment in production processes and quality control at its Knowsley based factory.

So, what does Glow look like, how does it work and what benefits does it bring?

Having visited the TuffX factory and showroom to experience it for myself, the most remarkable thing about Glow – apart from the fact that it generates heat – is that it looks virtually identical to a regular glazed unit. You really do have to feel it, to believe it.

Unlike the heated rear window of your car, the glass is completely clear and free of visible heating elements. Instead, Glow uses specialist glazing with a conductive coating that generates heat when an electrical current is passed through it. The heat can be thermostatically controlled, in much the same way as other primary heating sources, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature by turning the glass on and off as required.

It’s also a very efficient way of providing warmth. Glow has been designed to emit radiant heat rather than convection heat, so it warms up people and objects rather than just heating an empty space.

According to TuffX, if you were to install Glow units in a bi-fold, the average hourly cost would be around 9p per bi-fold door, so a three door bi-fold configuration running for five hours per day would will cost around £1.35, based on an electricity cost of 25p/kWh.

Considering the current push for net zero, and the requirement to produce more energy efficient and sustainable homes – including a move away from traditional gas boilers – the launch of Glow is perfectly timed.

“With traditional heaters and gas boilers being recognised as inefficient, there is an urgent need for effective and affordable alternatives,” explains Paul Higgins, commercial director of TuffX. “Glow offers a solution that is like underfloor heating in that it doesn’t require wall space but is also not prohibitively expensive.

“Utilising infrared technology, it is thermostat controlled like existing familiar heating systems. The product offers fabricators a completely unique solution to a growing problem.

“We understand that with such revolutionary ideas, our fabricators and their installer customers need additional support. TuffX is offering full training on Glow’s features and benefits, and correct installation methods to our approved trade partner fabricator customer base, which they can then disseminate to their installers.

“The system is comprised of a sealed unit that is layered with intelligent conductive coatings to emit radiant heat into the home,” continues Paul. “With this advanced technology it can be utilised as a primary heating source with temperatures reaching 35-40°C and has the added benefit of eliminating unsightly condensation.

“And speaking of aesthetics, we are pleased to bring this product to market with no visible trace of a heating system inside. The coatings we have used are completely undetectable. From a homeowner’s perspective the glass will look the same as that found in any other bi-fold door.

“The Glow heated glass system is fully compliant too, conforming to EN12150 and EN1279 Parts 1-4 and is a fantastic solution for the upcoming Future Homes Standard as it’s a direct replacement for the soon to be obsolete gas heating systems.

“It also boasts a 1.2W/m2K U-Value for optimum energy efficiency all year round. Glow heated glass for bi-fold doors will be open to applications for approved trade partners from December, allowing fabricators and installers to benefit from this unique innovative product in their portfolio.”

Future proof & retrofit

While we’re on the subject of Future Homes Standard, Paul also points out that Glow glass can meet a U-value of 0.8 if specified with triple glazing, which makes it compatible with the much-anticipated figure for FHS and therefore suitable for any new build applications.

And thanks to the fact that Glow units are relatively simple to fit – the only difference to regular units being the electrical connection which may require an electrician to connect to a home’s mains supply – they can also be retrofitted.

That opens up exciting upselling opportunities for installers, who can promote the benefits of Glow to homeowners looking to enhance existing living spaces such as conservatories with heated roof lights or bi-folds, or those looking for alternative, modern and energy efficient ways to heat an entire property.

“Consumers need alternative sustainable heating methods that are realistic and don’t cost the earth,” Paul concludes.

“We are proud that the TuffX development team has cultivated such a fantastic solution for the end user, but that is also easy for fabricators and installers to add to their offering.

“The product with its radiant technology really is a game changer and we’re excited to see its impact in the market.”

Glow glass – at a glance

  • Alternative, efficient heating source – Glow can replace traditional radiators, a key selling point for Future Homes Standards
  • Environmentally friendly – Glow heated glass emits less carbon than traditional heating systems
  • Cost of installation – Installation cost is cheaper than underfloor heating or radiators
  • Maintenance free – Unlike some heating systems that require regular service intervals, Glow requires no ongoing maintenance
  • Retrofittable – Glow units can be handled like regular double or triple glazed units, opening up opportunities in the retrofit market
  • Condensation – Dramatically reduces condensation to preserve uninterrupted views
  • Improved use of space – Homeowners can enjoy more efficient use of space without radiators
  • User friendly – Glow can be controlled via a wall mounted thermostat