Mirrors and Coatings
When polished, silver offers nearly perfect reflectivity which makes it ideal for energy-efficient windows. While silvered-mirrors have been around for hundreds of years, an extremely thin, almost transparent coating of silver on window panes not only reflects the hot, summer sun but deflects inward the room’s own internal heat. So-called ‘low E squared’ double pane windows are sweeping the market as they reflect away almost 95 percent of the hot rays of the sun, offering household energy savings. Over 250 million square feet of silver- coated glass is used for domestic windows in the U.S. annually and much more is employed for silver coated polyester sheet for retrofitting windows.
Likewise, one of every seven pairs of prescription eyeglasses sold in the US incorporates silver. Silver halide crystals melted into the glass can change light transmission from 96 percent to 22 percent in less than 60 seconds and block at least 97 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These changeable lenses are very popular as they allow people to move from indoor to outdoor activity and back again without the need to change eyeglasses.
Another increasing use of silver is in paints. Silver ions offer an anti-bacterial shield that keeps the coating germ and fungus free. This is particularly important in health care facilities, jails, schools, food and beverage factories and other places in which bacteria growth can be dangerous to health.
Source: The Silver Institute