The thermal performances of vacuum glazings employing coatings with emittance between 0.02 and 0.16 were simulated using a three-dimensional finite volume model. Physical samples of vacuum glazings with hard and soft coatings with emittance of 0.04, 0.12 and 0.16 were fabricated and their thermal performance characterised experimentally using a guarded hot box calorimeter. Good agreement was found between experimental and theoretical thermal performances for both a vacuum glazing with a soft coating (emittance 0.04) and those with hard coatings (emittance 0.12 and 0.16). Simulations showed that for a low value of emittance (e.g. 0.02), the use of two low-emittance coatings gives limited improvement in thermal performance of the glazing system. The use of a single high performance low-emittance coating in a vacuum glazing has been shown to provide excellent performance. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.