Volare is a barely visible bird friendly glass solution offered by Pulp Studio.The subtlety of the visual markers is an appealing proposition as a bird safe glass. Markers on surface #1 that are visible to birds but hardly visible to human eyes.

This transparent product can be used in insulated units and can be combined with a low-e glass on position 3.

Bird collisions with building glass facades occur all across North America and is the major cause of bird mortality, claiming the lives of millions of birds each year. While bird mortality caused by wind turbine strikes, vehicle road-kills and domestic cats are important, collisions with buildings tops the list.

The level of awareness and the magnitude of the problem is such that the need to make buildings much more bird friendly has become an important design consideration.

An increasing number of states, counties, provinces and municipalities in Canada and United States have adopted voluntary or mandatory bird friendly glazing guidelines. Ultimately, the need to use bird friendly glazing materials is based on risk factors specific to the building and its location.

More specifically, the factors to consider are:

  • Volume of glass on and around building façades
  • Light sources from building interiors or from exterior fixtures
  • Extent and composition of local bird populations
  • Type, location and extent of landscaping and nearby habitat
  • Typical local weather conditions
  • Bird migration patterns through the area

Risk factors directly associated with glass are:

  • Level of the glass surface reflection
  • Level of transparency through the glass
  • Conditions creating the appearance of a safe passage for birds, typically referred to as the “black hole” or “passage” effect
  • Bird casualties are documented at panes of all sizes in single and multilevel residential and commercial buildings, throughout the day and seasons of the year, and during all types of weather conditions.
  • In designing the best glazing system while reducing the risk of bird collisions, architects must consider both functional and performance properties.

Bird Friendly Properties

Birds have many more sensors and color filters than humans but even with their astounding abilities, countless research and experiments indicate they are not capable of seeing clear and reflective glass but rather what is reflected by the glass pane.

Studies further indicate that the bird’s midbrain is not as sensitive to signals or visual markers while in motion but it is quite sensitive to contrast.

With that in mind and based on experiments conducted by the American Bird Conservancy and Professor Daniel Klem as well as real life applications, bird friendly properties must be able to respond to the following:

  • Markers on the outside surface are more visible from all angles and best overcome reflections on the glass
  • Linear or non-linear markers should not be spaced more than two inches horizontallyand four inches vertically (referred to as the 2x4 rule)
  • Bird friendly glass must have been demonstrated in controlled experiments to deter 70% or more of bird collisions (referred to as a threat factor of 30 or less)
  • Functional and Solar Properties

The ultimate bird friendly solution should deter collisions without having to compromise significantly on other properties that are otherwise very critical. They include:

  • Markers are not obtrusive and offer optimal view through the glass
  • Markers are aesthetically pleasing
  • Light flow is not reduced or restricted
  • Markers have excellent durability when exposed to outside conditions
  • Solar heat gain coefficient and U-Values are optimal and meet building code targets