Development & Testing

 

Biology to Design: ORNILUX Case Study; Biomimicry 3.8

As the leader in innovative bird-friendly glass solutions, Arnold Glas has been involved with the concept of bird-friendly glass since about 2000 when the Biomimetically inspired idea of a transparent bird-friendly glass utilizing UV technology was first considered.

 

History

The history of ORNILUX has roots in Biomimicry Design Theory.  Biomimicry is the science and art of emulating Nature’s best biological ideas to solve human problems. (Biomimicry Institute)

 

The Inspiration

The idea for ORNILUX glass came from understanding that birds have the ability to see light in the ultra-violet spectrum, and that some spiders incorporate UV reflective strands of silk in their webs to make them visible to birds. Alerting birds to the presence of a web preserves the spider’s ability to capture prey without a bird crashing into it.

 

orb weaver web

Development

Given that the human eye does not perceive UV light, the challenge for Arnold Glas became to develop a UV reflective, but transparent glass that works on the same principle as a spider’s web. This would offer a unique and innovative solution to the prevention of bird window collisions; balancing visibility to birds and transparency to us.

 

Research & Testing

The initial testing of ORNILUX was conducted in cooperation with ornithologists in Germany. Originally, 17 different UV reflective coated panes were tested with birds in a flight tunnel. In total, 19 different European bird species were tested and 678 bird approaches were analyzed. One coated pane proved to be an effective preventative measure for reducing bird collisions compared to standard double-glazing. In 2006 this became the original version of ORNILUX Bird Protection Glass.

 

The Method

Birds are released inside a dark 30’ flight tunnel with a side-by-side, clear-glass (invisible to birds) control pane and a test pane at the far end.  Birds are attracted to light and try to fly out through one of the pieces of glass; a net keeps them from injury.  The ‘tunnel score’ is the percentage of birds tested that fly towards the clear glass, avoiding the pattern. At least 80 birds are tested per sample.

 

 

Watch a video of Tunnel Testing at American Bird Conservancy’s
Powdermill Flight Tunnel

(starts at 6:45 mark)

 

Continued Development

In 2009 the aesthetically improved, new generation of Bird Protection Glass, ORNILUX Mikado, received certification of effectiveness and was introduced in Europe. Its crisscross patterned coating is nearly invisible to the human eye. ORNILUX Mikado is now available in North America.

 

ORNILUX Mikado is available as a triple laminated glass for outdoor applications such as glass guardrails, walls or enclosures, and a double-glazed insulated glass with either a low-E or solar protective coating. It offers the multi-functionality of energy efficiency and bird protection.

 

Biomimicry Resources

Learning from Nature; Biomimicry Education

American Bird Conservancy

Tested by American Bird Conservancy

Tunnel score range: 61-77