Thermal performance – it’s still a hot topic!

Colin Torley, sales and marketing director of the VEKA UK Group discusses which ‘deciding factors’ play the most important roles in product design, and how specifiers need to choose their suppliers carefully in such an ever- changing industry.

When it comes to designing innovative, new window and door systems, there’s a lot to take into account. Any supplier worth its salt needs to be able to offer a range of products wide enough to cover energy efficiency requirements, noise reduction, sustainability, security, style and more.

The issue is that the goalposts continue to change, and systems suppliers and fabricators must be extremely agile and proactive to stay ahead of the game.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the fenestration industry and its systems are continuously evolving. It may seem, of late, that energy efficiency is mentioned less in the press. This is not because it has become unimportant – it is because it has become expected. It has entered our everyday dialogue. Consumers have become used to seeing the familiar ‘traffic light’ diagrams on white goods and property particulars, and naturally this translated well when WERs and DSERs were introduced as a route to compliance for building regulations.

Rather than becoming less important, window energy ratings (WER) have become a crucial consideration. And yet, as of 1 September 2014, changes in BFRC rules brought about by updated European standards meant that all existing energy rating calculations covering thermally improved spacer bars immediately became invalid. This affects all sorts of things down the chain, including CE marking.

Making false declarations about U-values (i.e. using out of date WER calculators) can even lead to prosecution for fraud, yet it is still estimated that less than 40 per cent of the industry is fully covered by every aspect of CE marking.

Architects and specifiers need to be sure that the suppliers they choose, and the products provided, can tick all the boxes in order to stay on the right side of the law.

We have become relatively comfortable discussing ther- mal and energy performance in this way, but can your supplier also provide documentary evidence about noise reduction performance?

It is felt that architects and specifiers should be encouraged to consider that they can now request acoustic information about whole frame performance.

As a guide, you could expect a typical WER ‘A’ rated double glazed window to reduce sound by between 26-35dB. This would be rated ‘E’ or ‘F’ through the BM TRADA Q-Mark Noise Reduction Rating Scheme.

For projects near high traffic areas or under flight paths, you might choose to specify a window system with an ‘A’ rating. These windows have been tested to reduce sound by 50dB or more.

Once you have also factored cost, security and style considerations into the specification process – these parameters form a demanding standard for your suppliers to live up to… and that is fantastic!

In such a competitive and somewhat over-saturated marketplace, the client should be able to demand the highest levels of service and performance from their supplier – with each project becoming more impressive than the last.

VEKA domestic com-041, commercial, windows, blue, modern

Colin Torley VEKA Sales and Marketing Director Colin Torley VEKA Sales and Marketing Director