Case Study

See how ORNILUX put a new spin on an industry-wide problem.

It all started with an itsy bitsy spider.

To ORNILUX, the problem was clear: hundreds of millions of birds were being killed each year in the U.S. due to collisions with glass. The danger stems from the reflective and transparent characteristics of glass, causing birds to fly to the sky and trees they reflect – often with fatal results.

Adding to the problem, many architects are incorporating larger and larger expanses of glass that let in natural light to save energy and enhance the visual appeal. Knowing that, ORNILUX worked to create a clear glass solution that allows the aesthetics we enjoy with the protection birds require.

The development of ORNILUX Bird Protection Glass is rooted in biomimicry, which seeks sustainable solutions that emulate nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.

Untangling nature’s secrets.

The inspiration for the use of UV-reflective patterns came from certain species of spiders that incorporate UV-reflective silk strands into their webs. These strands are used to both attract insects and distract or warn away larger animals, including birds.

The conspicuous white, silken adornments known as stabilimenta appear to be protective devices that warn birds of the presence of webs in their flight path. Webs endowed with stabilimenta tend to survive the early morning period when birds are actively on the wing, while unmarked webs show a high incidence of destruction.

Testing the theory.

Independent field testing by Dr. Hans-Willy Ley from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology showed that 76% of the birds tested avoided the ORNILUX panel and flew toward the conventional glass panel. The results indicate that ORNILUX can help reduce the number of birds killed by collisions with glass surfaces in buildings and private homes.

ORNILUX: The transparent solution.

The company’s goal is 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.