This All-Glass House Shatters Assumptions About ‘Green’ Construction

December 29th, 2014 by Trey Barrineau

Forget that bit about throwing rocks. People who live in glass houses might be healthier and happier.

That’s the thinking behind the Photon Project, a British start-up developing all-glass residences called Photon Spaces that the company says will “enhance the positive effects of natural light on health, well-being, mood and behavior.”

The idea for an all-glass dwelling arose from a chance meeting in 2010 between Charlie Sharman, the director of U.K. architectural glazing firm Cantifix, and Oxford University neuroscientist Russell Foster, an expert on how light affects sleep patterns and biological rhythms.

“The biological facts about the relationship between daylight and health Russell told me about over a cup of coffee changed the way I thought about the world we live and work in,” Sharman said in a statement. ”If it is true that light is the major stimulus for setting our body clocks, and when these clocks get out of sync with environmental time the impact on our health, mood and behavior can be extremely serious, then this must be an essential part of the conversation when designing buildings for human habitation.”

The 485-square-foot modular structures, which can be installed in about four weeks, will be made almost entirely of high-performance, energy-efficient glass that the company says blocks 63 percent of solar radiation, 99.9 percent of UV rays and 85 percent of external sounds. Windows can be darkened or lightened by a switch or a smartphone app thanks to advanced nano-scale particles suspended in a liquid and laminated between two pieces of glass.

The prototype for the Photon Space was unveiled at the 2013 London Design Festival. Cantifix developed the specification for the structure’s “healthy” glazing, which allows the optimum amount of natural daylight into the interior while maintaining energy efficiency.

The company says it can build the structures at a cost of $325,000 to $410,000. The Photon Project’s initial target market will be luxury spas and hotels, but it hopes to expand into the residential market.

The Photon Project is using CrowdCube to raise about $615,000 to build and market the first commercial Photon Space. As of Monday, the company has raised about $80,000.

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