What is laminated glass, and what exactly does it do that sets it apart from other glass?
The term is not the same as what you have come to associate the word laminate with. This is not a coating on the outer layer of the glass, but an interlayer of what is known as Polyvinyl Butyral, otherwise known as PVB. This layer is stuck in-between two layers of glass to increase its structural stability. Laminated glass does not shatter like a normal pane of glass would; rather it breaks in a web pattern, while still remaining intact. This is similar to windshield glass.
Putting this kind of glass into a window makes sense, especially here in Florida with the eminent danger of hurricanes. However, its usefulness applies to more than flying debris, but also provides safety in the case of an attempted break-in. It is very difficult to actually break through laminated glass. In tests it has taken extreme measurements to successfully open a hole in the glass, as many as 30 strikes with a baseball bat to accomplish the feat!
Aside from the protection it provides, laminated glass also cuts down on UV rays from the sun. This protects from fading on carpets, furniture, drapes, and even paintings. Not only are UV rays cut down, but also noise from outside. The difference between sounds through laminated glass and a normal window is dramatic. This laminate in tandem with high performance glass and also result in some serious savings on energy costs.