High performance glass in office building.

High performance glass in office building.

High-Performance Glass

Reduce SourcesElectricityEnhance Efficiency
Reduce SourcesBuildingsEnhance Efficiency
CO2 Equivalent
Reduced / Sequestered
Trillion $US
Net First Cost
(To Implement Solution)
Trillion $US
Lifetime Net
Operational Savings
High-performance glass improves window insulation and makes building heating and cooling more efficient. By minimizing unnecessary energy use, it curtails emissions.

Solution Summary

A one-time luxury, glass windows are now standard across the world, bringing light and visibility into the built environment without inviting in the weather. Except windows do let in the weather, in the form of heat or cold. They are much less efficient than insulated walls at keeping room temperature in and outside temperature out—by a factor of ten or more.

Various measures can improve a window’s efficiency: layered panes, reflective low-emissivity coatings, insulating gas between panes, and tightly sealed frames. High performance glass reduces a building’s energy load for lighting and improves heating and cooling efficiency.


Many improvements in glass technology have been made over the years including double-glazing, yet adoption of these is limited to 18 percent in global residential buildings and 6 percent in non-OECD commercial buildings worldwide. If instead high-performance windows are installed at a 2.75–5 percent annual retrofit rate, the emissions reduction can be 10–12.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Financials would be a challenge however since the total net costs would be US$3.2–3.4 trillion for a lifetime saving of US$3.4-3.9 trillion.