Challenges and opportunities

Robert Thiroff, Liniar’s international sales director, considers the direction that energy efficient products will take over the next five years.

Rising fuel costs and a vital need to control the impact we have on the environment both mean that energy efficiency has never been more important than it is right now.

An ageing population will be looking to lower energy living costs as they plan for retirement, while an ever-increasing rental market is also likely to continue driving up costs.

With the long process of divorcing from Europe now underway, we have to ensure that the products we produce in the UK meet the energy efficient requirements of any potential trading partners in the near future.

A Passivhaus consumes about 90% less heating energy than existing buildings, and 75% less heating energy than an average new construction.

Interest in the Passivhaus standard is becoming increasingly popular globally in view of the consumption of resources in industrialised countries and the need to contain global warming; big strides are being made in north America, with exponential growth happening in places like New Zealand, Antarctica, Sweden and Spain.

Passivhaus standards are meeting the needs for ‘nearly zero energy’ buildings, which applies to new public buildings in the European Union by 2018, and by 2020 for all new constructions.

Not only is different glazing necessary for different climate regions, but air pollution is an increasing challenge in some industrialised nations, such as China and India.

China in particular is actively embracing the Passivhaus concept for the future, and I think we are going to see many other countries following suit.
I genuinely believe that Passivhaus is going to become progressively popular, and that innovation and new technology will push industry to evolve – not just ours.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and ingenious designs in such fields as humidity control, heating systems and energy recycling, for example, can only help to minimise the impact we have on the environment.

In view of climate protection objectives, cities and municipalities are faced with the challenge of building affordable energy efficient buildings either for new construction or the refurbishment of existing buildings.

The Liniar range has always been designed with energy efficiency a key factor.

When launched in 2008, a Liniar double glazed window was capable of achieving an impressive A+ WER, or U-values of 1.2W/m²K, with 0.8 W/m²K for a triple glazed unit.

Liniar followed this by designing the six-chambered EnergyPlus range, which reached a WER of A++ with ease.

ModLok technology was then introduced, resulting in Liniar bifolding doors being capable of U-values of 1.3 W/m²K with a DGU and 1.0 W/m²K with a TGU, helping to earn a Queen’s Award in Enterprise for Innovation earlier this year.

Liniar then launched EnergyPlus90 at this year’s FIT Show – a 90mm window and door system that complies with Passivhaus thermal efficiency – achieving U-values as low as 0.7W/m²K with triple glazing, 0.5 W/m²K when quadruple glazed, and a WER as high as A+40.

This progress demonstrates a pattern of Liniar continuously investing in the products of tomorrow.

I personally believe public demand for higher thermal efficiency will push the market to continue expanding in this direction over the next five years.

This will lead to two things: that the new build sector will further engage in energy efficient products to future proof projects, turning increasingly to superior windows such as Liniar’s EnergyPlus90; and there will be great opportunity for global expansion for brands like Liniar that are equipped to cater to Passivhaus standards.
All in all, I have no doubts that the next five years are going to be a busy and exciting time.