A protective glass coating that’s well worth a birdsong is flying high in the UK.
A UV-reflective glass—Ornilux—developed by German company Arnold Glas is reportedly protecting birds from fatally smashing themselves into buildings.
New York Audubon Society “Bird Safe Guidelines”
|Millions of birds die each year from structural collisions. Most involve collisions with reflective or transparent building components.|
The system has been in development for a few years and has already been used on a number of buildings in the United States.
It was also recently installed in the lookout tower and visitor center on Holy Island, Lindisfarne.
Authorities in the UK wanted to do something to avert the dangers of birds flying into the structures, considering the bird population and migration season on Holy Island, reports said.
Extensive testing has resulted in glazing significantly reducing bird strikes and deaths, the company says.
Need and Development
Many green- and sustainable-designed buildings these days come complete with architectural glass features that reduce operation costs and enhance aesthetic appeal. However, the glass is considered a kill-shot to hundreds of millions of birds every year.
Why? Birds see the reflection of trees or the sky in the window or behind the glazing instead of the glass itself. It is not recognized as a barrier.
|The glazing mimics a spider’s web, with a web of coated lines that are virtually invisible to humans but reflect UV light, alerting birds to danger.|
That’s where Ornilux comes in.
Mimicking a spider’s web, the glazing features a web of lines coated onto the glass that are virtually invisible to humans but reflect UV light, alerting the birds to danger, according to the manufacturer.
The manufacturer of Ornilux’s product portfolio includes several glazing ranges including bird protection glass, vacuum heat insulation glass, solar control glass, and structural glass façades.
Bird-safe buildings are not just an issue for the birds. In 2011, San Francisco developed new standards for Bird Safe Buildings. Citing more than 30 years of research, the standards report that between 100 million and 1 billion birds are estimated killed each year in North America from collisions with structures.
Most of these deaths are the result of collisions with building components such as transparent or reflective glass. Some one-time strikes have wiped out thousands of birds at one time. (Two hundred birds of 40 species were fatally struck the Empire State Building on a single September day in 1948.)
The problem has grown with newer architectural designs that integrate more glass and more light, experts say.
“Adopting architecture and lighting systems that reduce collisions” was also a leading goal cited by the Department of the Interior’s 2009 State of the Birds report.
Bird-friendly building designs are also eligible for a LEED pilot credit.