Creating a warm and safe study environment with secondary glazing

secondary glazing,

Selectaglaze’s purpose-made secondary glazing offers the performance and security to help create ideal spaces for learning and research

From primary schools through to universities, we all learn better in a quiet and comfortable environment. Many schools and colleges occupy traditional buildings in noisy locations, with original single-glazed windows, which can have an adverse impact on the learning environment.

Secondary glazing can help resolve these distractions, simply and effectively. It can also significantly improve a building’s energy efficiency, which improves comfort during winter months and increase window security, as educational buildings are often targets of theft and vandalism.

Secondary glazing offers a high-performance option to educational heritage estates as it is particularly suited to traditional buildings, those in conservation areas or Listed buildings with preserved facades.

Dyson School of Design Engineering

In 2016, Imperial College London acquired the neighbouring disused Royal Mail Post Sorting Office from the Science Museum, sitting on the corner of Exhibition Road and Imperial College Road. Planning was submitted to change this beautiful Edwardian Baroque style sorting office into the new Dyson School of Design Engineering, providing lecture theatres, flexible working spaces, laboratories, design library, café and more.

Architect Pascall+Watson was employed to devise a sensitive yet practical design for the change of use of this four-storey building. As part of the plans, thought had to be given as to how to minimise carbon consumption, as well as reduce energy use and wastage in line with the College’s Environmental Policy.

A significant amount of heat and energy can be lost through poor performing windows and due to the planning restrictions on the new Dyson Building, the numerous original single glazed windows had to be retained. Therefore, Pascall+Watson specified secondary glazing to improve their performance.

Working with Willmott Dixon and the Imperial Estates Team, discreet configurations were designed to treat over 180 windows across the building. Over seven different types of windows were installed to match the varying styles and to increase energy performance further, the units were glazed with 6.8 low-E laminate glass.

One façade overlooking the service area of the Science Museum had obscurity glass specified to prevent distractions for researchers and staff. On the façades overlooking the busy thoroughfares, the secondary glazing was fitted with a sizeable cavity to improve noise insulation, creating quiet, conducive spaces for learning and meetings. In certain areas of the ground floor, Secured by Design units were specified, to protect new equipment in labs and teaching rooms.


When outside ambient noise levels are very high, then often double and sometimes triple glazing is not sufficient to create a quiet interior. This was the case with Stansted Airport College, which opened in 2018, located at the end of the runway. Typically, a Boeing 737 (one nautical mile high) before landing can generate sounds levels in the region of 90-100dB. The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends acceptable classroom noise levels to be 35-40dB, so a significant reduction needed to be made. As it was a new build, high performance primary double glazing was installed, but did not meet the acoustic requirements on its own.

Acoustic tests have shown that Selectaglaze secondary glazing can provide a 45dB reduction if set 200mm from a single glazed primary window with 6mm glass. Based on this, if used in conjunction with high-performance primary windows then the dB rating requirements would be met.

Selectaglaze went on to install 32 units across the site with a cavity of 200mm and tightly sealed. The thunderous roar of planes taking off and landing has been silenced, creating conducive learning spaces for those looking for a career in the aviation industry.

Selectaglaze’s purpose-made systems arrive fully assembled to allow rapid installation with minimum disruption but where work could impact on staff or students it can be programmed to coincide with holiday periods.

Founded in 1966, and Royal Warrant Holder since 2004, Selectaglaze has a wealth of experience working in schools, colleges and universities. Contact Selectaglaze for more details; literature requests, free technical advisory or to book a RIBA approved CPD.

For further information, please contact Selectaglaze on 01727 837271 email: or visit:





Tel: 01727 837271


Please note: this is a commercial profile.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here