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ClearVue glass scores “game-changing” fire safety status


ClearVue Technologies’ solar window facades have been declared “fire-safe”. Credit: File

ClearVue Technologies says it can help minimise the sometimes devastating danger of fires breaking out in some of modern society’s most important buildings after having its solar glass windows certified “fire-safe”.


The company says the imprimatur from globally-renowned testing, inspection and certification firm TÜV SÜD, allows its glass units to be included in buildings towering more than 18m and in high-risk environments such as hospitals, schools and hotels. The safety confirmation is a critical addition to the product’s baseline ability to generate power and impact temperature at either end of the scale.


ClearVue described the certification as a “game-changer” for the construction industry at a time when the world has recently been confronted by several disastrous high-rise building fires where the exterior cladding of buildings has come under unprecedented scrutiny – particularly during the heartbreaking fallout from the fatal 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London.


Management says TÜV SÜD determined that its solar vision glass is non-combustible and does not significantly contribute to the formation or spread of fire. The company’s double-glazing unit performed at the highest levels because it exhibited only minimal smoke propagation and no flaming droplets or debris fell while burning during tests.

ClearVue’s fire safe certification is a game-changer for the construction industry. It is extremely rare, if not unheard of, for building integrated photovoltaic façade solutions to achieve fire safety ratings under these exhaustive and exacting standards. With this certification, ClearVue Solar Vision Glass can be used in a broad range of buildings due to its excellent fire safety performance. ClearVue Technologies chief executive officer Martin Deil

Deil said meeting safety criteria for building facades had become a “major impediment” for the construction industry.


Well-publicised, large-scale tower fires have clearly devastated the lives of many. And it seems that all of the buildings either had, or were thought to have used combustible cladding, which has proven to be not just a major contributor to the spread and severity of the blazes, but also to the difficulty experienced by firefighting crews and residents in gaining access to burning structures and also exiting from them.


London’s Grenfell fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people, is one of the worst in recent memory. Originating from a fridge-freezer, the blaze quickly jumped to the external cladding and climbed all four sides of the building.


The fire created a torrent of flame around the building, which spread rapidly up the cladding. Dozens of fire engines responded to the scene, but the fire quickly became unstoppable and with some 100 flats in flames, the fire took more than 24 hours to burn itself out.


The disaster triggered a public inquiry and an investigation into the building materials and cladding is still ongoing. And Australia is far from immune to similar dangers.


In 2019, a fire at the Neo 20 apartment building in Melbourne’s CBD sent the city into chaos. The 41-level building was later found to have been covered with combustible aluminium composite panels (ACP).


A recent audit of 170 Melbourne CBD tower buildings by the Victorian Building Authority is reported to have found that 51 per cent of them employed similar non-compliant ACP materials.


In 2014, a fire also tore through the 13-level Lacrosse apartment tower in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct, racing up the facade and reaching the roof in less than15 minutes. The fire was also found to have been fuelled by flammable cladding.


So, it seems obvious that any improvement in either preventing fires or helping to quell them in high-rise buildings will be warmly welcomed.


ClearVue’s main mission has been to develop advanced glazing, insulation and renewable electrical technologies that preserve glass transparency to maintain building aesthetics and internal amenity and ambience, while also generating electricity and providing insulation.


Its technology was first put to serious quantitative testing of energy production performance and efficiency almost three years ago, with the construction and installation of its photovoltaic integrated glazing units (PV-IGUs) into an agricultural greenhouse at Perth’s Murdoch University.


The two-year trial of ClearVue’s glass panelling at Murdoch last year confirmed a high consistency of power generation, at times even outperforming conventional solar panels. The company said the trial also showed a reduction in building energy use of up to 40 per cent in Murdoch’s greenhouse when compared to a conventionally-glazed equivalent. It was accompanied by average daily harvested energy of about 19kWh.


ClearVue also made giant strides in its global corporate interrelationships and manufacturing and distributorship licences last year, stretching its reach to the Netherlands, the United States, Singapore, Africa and South America.


And just last month, the company revealed it had secured an order to provide a complete solar windows facade for union heavyweight CFMEU’s new Training and Wellness Centre in Melbourne – marking its first major commercial supply of its solar power-generating and insulating technologies to be installed as a fully built-in photovoltaic facade.


ClearVue chief operations officer Doug Hunt told Bulls N’ Bears that the TÜV SÜD fire certification represented a significant step in removing the barriers to the uptake of its product by the construction industry. It means the company’s IGUs can be installed anywhere with no changes to the buildings design to manage fire risk when compared to traditional glazing solutions.


Hunt said it was a signpost in the company’s continuing research and development program aimed at creating a welcome bridge between the green energy revolution and the building industry.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: office@bullsnbears.com.au

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