Would you believe that the earliest samples of man-made glass data as far back as 3500 BC? Although glass was found at that time, the real invention of blowpipes in the 1st century was what made glass-making faster and easier. 

Soon, it was found all across the Roman empire and spread to several other places.

Cut to today where glasses are one of the most important tools in architecture. The biggest of skyscrapers and the most intricate museums all use glass to add flair to their architectures. 

However, the glass today has evolved into several different types to allow a lot of flexibility, and one such type is insulated glass unit. 

What is insulated glass unit?

The insulated glass unit is one of the many types of glass available in the market today. Many would describe this unit as one of the most creative variations of the normal glass. This is mainly because of its unique role, in not only home designs but also in the comfort of your home. 

An insulated glass unit or IGU is designed to maintain an optimal temperature at your space, no matter what the temperature in your city. In other words, you can keep your house warmer than surroundings in winters and more relaxed in summers.

Well, how you can make indoor cozy all year around? 

The answer is simple, use Insulated glass panels which are made up of not one glass, but two glass panes. Within these two glass panes, there is space filled with an insulating gas. But if you are not a big fan of physics, some explanation is in order. 

The molecules in a gas have much more space between them than solids or liquids have. This makes it harder for the high energy vibrations to pass through atoms and molecules. It ensures that the temperature outside does not get into your house through the vacuum between the two glass panes.

Types of Insulated Glass 

With several gasses that could be used between the two glass panes, many different variations emerge within IGUs too. Some of these types might also exist as combinations, which is why it is difficult to find out any of these strictly independent. 

Here are the major types of insulated glass units that you can find used around the world today. 

Failed (Fogged) Insulated Glass Unit 

A failed (fogged) insulated glass unit has a milky look to it. It is usually used to create glass curtains so nobody could peek in. As a result, the bottom ends of telephone booths or conference walls are often made of fogged IGUs. However, most people do not realize that failed insulated glass panels are not really what they were intended to be. 

They are foggy because the seals around the edges of the glass begin to fade, which allows the gas inside the glass to fail. This causes the outside air to seep into the glass and allows moisture to accumulate inside the glass. The humidity, in turn, is created as a result of the warm air inside coming in contact with the cold outer glass. 

So, although, failed or fogged insulated glass panels are not a valid type of IGU, it is only justified that it is not a form of IGU that we would create or endorse. 

Low-e Insulated Glass Unit (IGU)

The “e” in the Low-e insulated glass stands for “emissivity.” Emissivity is the readiness of any material to radiate energy. It is important to notify those materials are shiny to have very low emissivity. 

That is why tea or coffee thermoses are made quite shiny, so the liquid inside stays hot or cold for as long as possible. On the other hand, dull and dark materials have very high emissivity, which is why you would not wear black clothes on a sweltering day. 

Low-e glass uses the same idea as thermoses to reduce emissivity and adds to its insulative property. It is the glass that has a layer of reflective coating on it. This coating is called Low-e coating, which substantially minimizes the amount of ultraviolet and infrared rays that pass through the glass to reach inside.

There are two different types of Low-E coatings. These include passive Low-E coating and solar control Low-E coatings. 

The most basic way of telling whether your IGU is a Low-e insulated glass unit, you can hold a match in front of the glass. You will find four different reflections. If the glass is indeed Low-e the images will have different colors; otherwise, the reflected images will be the same color.

Argon Filled Insulated Glass Unit (IGU)

Argon-filled glass panels are another variation of insulated glass. This is an insulated glass panel that is infused with Argon gas. 

What difference does it make? 

Argon is a noble gas that is known to be one of the least reactive gasses. Argon also has a very low thermal conductivity as compared to normal air. And argon-filled IGUs are one of the most expensive ones around the world. 

Furthermore, argon-filled insulated glass panels also allow flexibility. You could use breather tubes to equalize it with high altitude conditions. 

Dual Seal Silicon Insulated Glass Unit (IGU)

Where argon-filled IGUs might be one of the most expensive IGUs available in the market, the most reliable one is the Dual Seal Silicone unit. These might also sometimes be called PIB insulated glass panels. 

Dual seal silicon IGU seems to avoid the more common irregularly applied sealants and capitalizes on double sealing which can increase the insulated properties of an IGU.

Why Use Insulated Glass Panels?

Although the idea of using insulated glass panels is very appealing to people, there are reasons other than temperature control that adds to the desirability of the glass. 

Here are some of those benefits of the insulated glass units:

Benefits Of Insulated Glass Units

  1. Versatility

    Insulated glass panels are especially useful when it comes to versatility. These glass panels work with all types of material, including vinyl, aluminum, wood, and fiberglass. 

    As a result, an interior designer or an architect could find more and more ways to add finishing and convenience to their projects with this glass. 

  2. Efficiency

    For places where central air conditioning is the most common and electricity bills are high, the best solution is to save energy. Because one of the most critical implications of temperature control is energy efficiency.  

    The best method to avoid bills going higher is to ensure energy is not lost. This loss can come as a result of the sunlight coming in through windows which could heat the atmosphere inside. With its isolative properties, insulated glass panels can help avoid the situation.

    This quality is considered environmentally friendly. How? Since reducing energy usage ensures that you save energy, you reduce your carbon footprint.

  3. Noise Reduction 

    Another important reason that people might use the insulated glass unit is noise reduction. The double or triple coating on a glass panel not only lets lesser and lesser temperature variations to pass through but also prevents noise from coming inside. 

    That’s why most buildings in urban centers use insulated glass panels to keep out the noise from all the traffic and commotion outside.

  4. Cost-Effectiveness

    Although using insulated glass units is often considered to be costlier than standard glass, the long-term implication of this usage is significant. For instance, the cost saved on electricity bills with the usage of insulated glass panels is enormous.

    Furthermore, the amount of money you save on maintenance of heaters and air conditioners due to temperature stability inside your home are also considerable. Hence, making insulated glass panels a cost-effective choice. 

Applications of Insulated Glass Panels 

With several different types of insulated glass available in the market, the main idea is to have various applications of IGUs in constructions. 

Specifically focusing on the fact that glass adds beauty to construction, IGUs are one of the most important units for a smart space. Especially in areas where temperatures might reach extremes. 

To help you find high applications, here are a few significant applications of insulated glass unit:

Commercial/Residential Windows

Most people agree that commercial or residential areas need insulated glass panels. However, there comes a disagreement on the type or nature of windows for which insulation is required. 

It refers to whether those windows are fixed or operable. The difference is simply that fixed windows are unmovable and unchangeable. On the other hand, you could move operable windows, allowing the air to come in.

So, if you prefer opening of the windows to the air in and control temperature on your own, that beats the purpose of insulated glass windows. There is no doubt that insulated glass panels can’t replicate the essence of natural weather and temperature in your space. 

However, installing insulated glass windows in your space adds to its aesthetics and value. It is specifically beneficial for commercial buildings and office when the purpose is to keep noise out and temperature suitable in every weather.  

Curtain Walls

Insulated glass curtain walls are primarily designed to keep out the weather conditions. You might think that why are they called curtain walls. Well, these walls don’t have a fixed structure but the help to keep the temperature out. 

Such walls are specifically practical for baby’s room where it is essential to keep temperature outside. Insulated walls might be an option for older people who are not healthy. 

Furthermore, curtain walls are often used in libraries to ensure that books are not damaged by the extreme weather and moisture created by temperature changes. In libraries, the sound-reducing qualities of insulated glass panels are increasingly useful. 

Moreover, these walls are mainly used to demarcate gym areas or indoor playing fields in a house or arena unit. 


Another great application of the insulated glass unit is at storefronts.  Although the most common types of storefront glasses include tempered glass, insulated glass dual pane is also increasingly on use for storefronts. 

They are usually used in an attempt to make shops more welcoming, and hence attract a greater audience to the shops. Furthermore, dual pane glasses are also more durable and stronger than normal ones. 

Sloped/Overhead Glazing

Sloped/overhead glazing is most prevalent in museums around the world. They are necessarily glass roofs that allow the people inside to look at the sky. 

Using them for overhead glazing is one of the essential applications of insulated glass panels. It is a viable option for commercial spaces where the rainfall or snowfall could drastically affect temperatures inside the building. 

Non-Vision (Spandrel) Locations

Spandrel or non-vision glass is most often found in corporate offices and settings that are meant to restrict vision into these offices. That’s why they are found on massive corporate towers with several office units inside.

It also makes sense to make spandrel locations out of insulated glass units because these panels avoid the loss of air conditioner’s cooling to sunlight outside, hence saving the organization cost on electricity and power. 

Car Windows

When it comes to minimizing heat loss and adding noise reductions, another relevant application of the insulated glass unit is found in cars. 

Car windows and windshields often use insulated glass panels because of its double-layer glass property. Which means, in case of any breakage due to projectiles, the person sitting inside gets more and more protection. 

Furthermore, cases of tempered IGUs might also be found in cars to add to the protective quality of these units. 

Wrapping it Up

With several advantages and even more applications, insulated glass units seem to revolutionized the way people think about glass. Whether it’s about versatility or cost-effectiveness, an insulated glass unit comes with several advantages.

Consider using it for commercial windows, curtain walls, storefronts, and whatnot. From argon filled glass panes to dual seal silicon glass panel, there are several types of insulated glass units to use for both residential and commercial places. Choose the one that suits your needs. 

We hope this article helps you find the best type of insulated glass panel for your home or commercial space.