As the leader in innovative bird-friendly glass solutions, Arnold Glas pioneered the concept of a transparent bird-friendly glass starting in the late 1990’s with the Nature-Inspired idea of utilizing UV reflective patterns.
The development of ORNILUX is rooted in Biomimicry Design Theory. The glass was inspired by spiders. “Biomimicry is learning from and then emulating nature's forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs." - Biomimicry 3.8.
The inspiration for ORNILUX glass originated with the understanding that birds see light in the UV spectrum, and a theory of how spiders might use UV reflective strands of silk in their webs. The idea was that birds, navigating the same environment as spiders, would see the web’s UV reflecting strands. Birds would then avoid a collision with the web, thus preserving the spider’s ability to capture prey.
Given that the human eye does not perceive UV light, the challenge for Arnold Glas became to develop a patterned, UV reflective, 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.
Testing for ORNILUX is conducted during each Spring and Fall migration period in cooperation with American Bird Conservancy at a flight tunnel facility located in Western Pennsylvania. Concurrent tests are conducted in partnership with Ornithologists at a flight tunnel located in Rybachy, Russia. Because of its controlled environment, repeatability, and valid sample size, the flight tunnel test protocol is critical to the development and comparability of bird-friendly glass treatments. This method is the industry standard and the basis for LEED Pilot Credit 55: Bird Collision Deterrence. Importantly, birds are not injured in the test process.
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. Their flight path is measured and recorded. A net keeps them from actually hitting the glass and injury. The Tunnel Score (Avoidance Index) is the percentage of birds tested that avoid the patterned glass and fly towards the clear glass. The LEED Material Threat Factor is the inverse of the Avoidance Index. At least 80 bird flights are tested per unit. Please see the ORNILUX Product Brochure for tested configurations and corresponding scores. To learn more about the flight tunnel test, check out the video on this page or read about it at American Bird Conservancy's website. Link here for a May 2014 New York Times article.
It is the goal of Arnold Glas to provide the highest performing bird-friendly glass, balancing visibility to birds, transparency to the human eye and energy efficiency. Ongoing testing and development of ORNILUX is a high priority and is inclusive of new materials, patterns, configurations and technologies.
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