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VIPVIEWPOINT LOOK


Martin Althorpe, technical director at


Spectus Window Systems and


chairman of the British Plastics Federation


BEYOND THE U-VALUES


This month’s VIPViewpoint comes from Spectus Window Systems’ technical director,Martin Althorpe, who believes that when it comes to sustainability, we need to look well beyond U-values.


“It’s hugely encouraging that aiming for PassivHaus standards is becoming more commonplace for refurbs and new build properties, and that housebuilders and RMI specialists are also aiming for higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes than ever before.”


“What this means for our industry is that, in order to meet the requirements


of these standards, windows must be manufactured with exceptionally low U-values for the entire window, including the frame. For PassivHaus, this must not exceed 0.8W/m2K.”


“Typically, the way to achieve these U-values is by using triple glazed units. In


order to make triple glazing accessible for as many UK fabricators and installers as possible, Spectus has made sure that its triple glazing solution is one of the most cost effective on the market, using argon rather than expensive krypton to deliver 0.8W/m²K whole window U-values.”


‘I’d recommend striving to comply with multiple complementary standards.Manufacturers of windows should ensure that the profile itself has some recycled material content.’


“While I support the quest for achieving ever lower U-values, it’s crucial not to let U-values eclipse other sustainability measures, and to take a more holistic approach to the issue. There’s no point having a window that achieves a U-value of 0.8 W/m2K if it isn’t minimising environmental impact at the raw materials stage, for example, as this only undermines the principle of what PassivHaus and the Code for Sustainable Homes are trying to achieve.”


“One way to minimise a product’s impact at raw material extraction stage, then, is to incorporate recycled material into a product’s composition. This not only reduces the amount of raw material required, and the subsequent energy expenditure needed to refine it, but the amount of waste sent to landfill, too.”


“We’ve had EcoSpec, a product that contains both pre and post-consumer recycled PVC-U, on the market for over 18 months now and it’s proving so successful that we’re constantly adding to the range. The products in the EcoSpec range are as aesthetically pleasing and perform as well as the other products in our portfolio, but has the added bonus of recycled PVC-U to make it that extra bit more sustainable – it’s a no-brainer for environmentally conscientious specifiers and homeowners alike.”


36 « Clearview NMS « September/October 2011 « www.clearview-uk.com


‘There’s no point having a window that achieves a U-value of 0.8 W/m2K if it isn’t minimising environmental impact at the raw materials stage, for example, as this only undermines the principle of what PassivHaus and the Code for Sustainable Homes are trying to achieve.’


“In the absence of an all-encompassing measurement certification that looks at the whole lifecycle of a window – from raw material extraction, through to manufacturing, delivery, and its in-life performance and impact – I’d recommend striving to comply with multiple complementary standards. Manufacturers of windows should ensure that the profile itself has some recycled material content. Those that want to take this a step further should look at minimising product and recyclate miles.”


GENUINELy SUSTAINABLE OPTIONS


“I’d like to see more work in relation to regulations on edge detailing around the window at installation stage, too.”


“When a window is fitted into a building, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best window using the best profile with the best U-Value; if it’s not sealed well, insulated well and weatherproofed, the overall performance will be compromised. This demonstrates just how important it is to look beyond U-values when it comes to windows, so that genuinely sustainable options are being specified for both new and existing homes.”


“Fabricators and installers who are knowledgeable about energy efficiency and sustainability, and who can translate this into how being environmentally responsible can save their customers money in turn, have an excellent opportunity to stand out here.”


“Offering homeowners authoritative advice can help fill the work diary with both refurb and new build jobs. Sustainability really can pay!”


For more information call Spectus Window Systems on 0800 328 5273 or visit http://www.spectussystems.co.uk/environment/


Window Group.


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