Currently the In'flector window insulator is a panel that can be retrofitted to windows to significantly reduce the transfer of heat through the glass surface. And according to In'flector’s Dennis Roberts, the company is now in talks with a number of yachtbuilders to develop the product so that it is incorporated as an initial new build solution.
There is a realisation within the industry that glass has an integral role to play in enhancing the on board experience of superyacht owners. James O’Callaghan, of Eckersley O’Callaghan, was responsible for the glass element of Venus, which is an industry flagbearer for what can be achieved through its utilisation as a primary construction material. And of the future for the glass in superyacht building, O’Callaghan said: “We see many uses in the design of yachts that can embrace glass in more ambitious ways, in terms of its structural capacity and available sizes. We see increasing trends in the changing geometrical forms of yachts and the challenges associated with more complex geometries combined with transparency that is a fertile ground for glass applications.”
If this vision is realised, and glass begins to appear more substantially on board superyachts, one of the major issues that will need to be addressed is heat transfer and the resulting energy efficiency issues.
According to its developer, the installation of an In'flector radiant barrier offers four key benefits: the reduction of infiltration (movement of heat in) and exfiltration (heat escaping); the reduction of heat transfer; humidity control; and glare reduction. These are all considerations that would serve to reduce a yacht’s energy consumption and improve life on board.
‘In reality windows are thermal holes’, according to the company’s marketing. Single pane clear windows can be 20 times less energy efficient than the wall area they replace and double pane Low-E windows are 10 times less energy-efficient than the wall area they replace. What that means is that an average space can lose more than 30 per cent of its heat or air conditioning energy through its windows.
In a webinar ‘attended’ by SuperyachtNews.com, Roberts explained that tests endorsed by America’s Fenestration National Council the In'flector Radiant Barrier reduced heat loss through a double pane Low-E sheet of glass from 61 per cent to 13 per cent. Conversely, in a test televised during the webinar the insertion of the In'flector barrier in front of a freezer door increased the external temperature from 7.3oC to 15.5oC.
The energy loads placed on a superyacht are immense, and in a study conducted by the University of California’s Max Howard Sherman the average operational space will extol six to nine per cent of its total energy budget on infiltration, or keeping the space cool. With these correlating factors in mind, Roberts told SuperyachtNews.com that the company has, “looked into yachts because they have a big problem with solar gain.” “We can already see lots of benefits”, he continued”, and the next step in the product’s evolution “will be initial installation, not retrofit”.
SuperyachtNews.com contacted Eckersley O’Callaghan for the company’s feedback on the applicability of the Inflector barrier to superyacht glass installations but the company was unavailable for comment.
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