Vitro Architectural Glass

Satisfy Your Environmental Objectives with Vitro

At Vitro Architectural Glass, we see it as our mission to continually raise the industry standard for sustainability. Vitro was the first U.S. glass manufacturer to have its entire collection of architectural glass products recognized by the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program and the first North American manufacturer to publish third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for flat glass and processed glass products.

Vitro's commitment to sustainability transcends certification programs into responsible manufacturing processes and large-scale energy reduction through the use of our energy efficient low emissivity (low-e) glass products. In fact, Vitro glass products have been used on hundreds of sustainable projects worldwide, including LEED®-certified Platinum, Gold and Silver buildings and net-zero “living” buildings. Solarban® glass and other high performance glass products from Vitro have been specified on more AIA COTE award-winning projects than any other glass manufacturer. Meanwhile, Vitro continues to build partnerships and establish new product brands to realize the full potential for environmentally friendly glass innovation on a global scale.

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Low Embodied Carbon (LEC) and the Built Environment

As architects and glaziers work to design and construct building projects in a more sustainable manner, the consideration of embodied carbon has become a bigger factor in understanding the overall impact of a project’s carbon footprint.

In 2024, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced new standards for products that can be considered low embodied carbon (LEC). As part of achieving these standards, products must offer a Type III Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) in kilograms of carbon equivalent per metric ton (kgCO2 eq/ton) of glass.

Vitro recently announced it received an updated Environmental Product Declaration for its flat glass products that indicate its architectural glass products contain just 1,240 kilograms of CO2 equivalent, which is 13% lower than the National Glass Association’s industry standard.

Based on these results, all Vitro Architectural Glass products meet the Top 20% ("Most Preferred") LEC material category. This lowest embodied carbon designation applies to all Vitro-produced architectural glass from all Vitro plants all the time.

Most of the embodied carbon in architectural glass originates with the energy-intensive process of heating the melting furnace to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to convert a blend of silica, soda ash, dolomite, metal compounds and recycled cullet glass to flat glass. For more information, please see “Embodied Carbon in Glass.”

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Making an Impact with Low-e Glass

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-e coatings reduce the energy lost through typical windows by 35%, resulting in about 1.5 quads in U.S. annual energy savings. Market share estimates suggest that about 0.5 quads—approximately 0.5 x 1015 BTUs—of that reduction is attributable to Vitro products.

With the addition of an oversized glass coater at Vitro's Wichita Falls, Texas, plant, we produce over 100 million square feet of high-performing low-e glass annually. Energy modeling estimates suggest our annual production of solar control low-e glass has the potential to reduce annual energy consumption in a U.S. building by 729,000 kilowatt hours and 55,000 natural gas therms—preventing more than 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering Earth’s atmosphere every year for the life of a building. Vitro also pioneered oxygen-fueled glass furnace technology, which cuts natural gas consumption by 15% compared to conventional air-fired glass furnaces, while reducing carbon emissions by 10%.

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Environmentally Friendly Glass Innovations

Vitro proudly offers a range of glass products designed to protect wildlife populations such as birds and turtles. Bird collisions with glass facades are a major cause of bird mortality in North America, claiming the lives of millions of birds each year. Vitro partners with Walker Glass to offer AviProtek® E with Solarban® glass, an advanced architectural glass that unites bird-friendly, acid-etched patterns from Walker Glass with high-performance solar control, low-e coatings by Vitro.

Turtle glass, or glass with a visible light transmittance (VLT) of 45% or less, is mandated in dozens of developed municipalities near coastlines with turtle hatchling populations to help prevent hatchlings becoming confused by artificial light and moving away from the water. Vitro’s performance tinted glasses feature low VLT values to help meet these mandates. Available in blue green, gray and bronze tints, the entire collection is also available with Solarban® solar control low-e coatings for excellent thermal performance.

Combining renewable energy generation with the aesthetic and performance benefits of glass, Vitro Glass manufactures Solarvolt™ building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) glass modules. Seamlessly integrated into the building structure, Solarvolt™ combines aesthetics, CO2-free power generation and protection from the elements for commercial buildings, all while reducing air conditioning costs and replacing cladding materials.

For the Latin American commercial and residential markets, Vitro produces LUMAX® reflective vision glass, which reduces heat gain by 33% compared to uncoated clear glass while transmitting six times as much daylight as uncoated reflective glasses. This new offering provides an affordable way to reduce energy demands for air conditioning and artificial lighting.