Glass technology at one Iowa City school district building helps learning environment – KCRG

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) – The windows along the Alexander Elementary Library are designed especially for younger students. They keep out loud noise, thus reducing distraction, while also bringing in more natural light — it’s called light diffusing glass.
“It takes sunlight and it spreads it out and turns it into soft, gentle, natural light that is used for illumination, it fills a space with beautiful, perfect spectrum, natural light without glare and without overheating,” said Dr. Douglas Milburn, Advanced Glazings Limited Co-Founder.
The company that makes them, Advanced Glazings Limited, works with places worldwide, but they recognized the need for something like this in the Iowa City area.
“Number one it’s a very developed and aware population, but it’s also got a climate – in the Midwest there’s a lot of natural light, it’s a bright and sunny climate,” said Milburn.
This kind of material is more expensive than typical glass, but it brings in more natural light while keeping the cost of cooling and heating down. It also keeps out more unwanted noise.
Because it is such a complex material, architects are in conversation with the school district leading up to and after the installations.
“As we talk through it with them, we’ll find out why they need it and that’s when we start to do the research for the material,” said Joseph Tursi with OPN Architects.
And the benefits range from better behavior among students to a positive impact on test scores.
“Comparing a dark box school to classrooms with really really good natural light, they see as much as 20-25% better test scores out of the kids learning in that,” said Milburn.
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