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Ornilux Mikado bird-protection glass from Arnold Glas

By Damir Beciri
26 December 2010

arnold-glas-ornilux-mikado-bird-protection-glassIf you ever worked or lived in a building with a glass facade, it is certain you have witnessed to (or heard stories about) birds flying into windows. In order to avoid this problem, the glass specialists from Arnold Glas have developed a type of insulated glass sheeting that can significantly reduce this danger. Architects are already praising the quality of this architectural glass, and scientists have proven its effectiveness.

The glass facades of office buildings, hotels and transparent noise barriers, as well as even domestic winter gardens can turn into a deadly trap for flying birds. Because birds cannot see the transparent glass commonly used in most buildings and they collide head-on with these glass surfaces at high speed. From a bird’s point of view – typical glass fronts and free-standing glass barriers simply aren’t recognized as being obstacles, because birds see a landscape either reflected by the glass or through it.

The modern solution to this old problem is based on the use of a special UV reflective coating which is practically transparent for humans, but is clearly visible to birds which can see a broader UV spectrum compared to human abilities. This has proven to be significantly better than the other alternative, which would have used a colored adhesive (using stripes and bird-silhouettes). Effectiveness Confirmed Independent field studies conducted at the Radolfzell Bird Sanctuary, by Dr. Hans-Willy Ley from the Max Planck Institue for Ornithology, confirmed the effectiveness of Arnold’s unique Ornilux glass. During these experiments various glass types were tested on over 850 birds from 19 different species.

After capture, the wild birds were given time to recover and were then released in a flight tunnel. The birds could then fly towards one of two glass panels mounted at the end of the tunnel which were separated by a net. Of the two glass panels, one panel was made of common insulated glass as a control object and the other panel was used for testing the effectiveness of various glass types. The experimental results for Ornilux glass clearly showed that 76 % of the birds tested (representing 82 from 108 test flights) avoided the newly developed Ornilux panel and flew towards the conventional glass panel.

“Ornilux was clearly recognized by the birds as an obstacle due to its reflective UV coating. And it can thereby help reduce the number of birds which are killed by collisions with glass surfaces in building, noise barriers and private homes”, said Christian Irmscher from Arnold Glas.

The glass was first introduced in 2006, and the company released an aesthetically improved version with a crisscross pattern. Developed in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, this latest version is called Ornilux Mikado because, when looked at against a backlight, the coating looks like a randomly unfolding layer of the game Mikado pick-up sticks.

ORNILUX Bird Protection Glass has been selected as one of BuildingGreen’s Top-10 products of the 2010 by the editors of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec.

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