Effective Energy Efficiency

Neil Ginger, CEO of Origin, talks about energy efficiency and the innovative options available on the market.

I am often asked if the focus of the industry is shifting away from energy efficiency. The honest answer is no – people are just becoming more educated on the subject. This is a great development, and will drive the fenestration industry to improve by fuelling innovation.

At Origin, we have over 600 partners who we speak to on a regular basis. They act as our touch point with the consumer. Through this, we are reliably informed that energy efficiency is not only one of the ‘hot topics’ on the showroom floor, but it is also a critical factor in the final purchasing decision.

We pride ourselves on knowing what the industry is looking for and talking about. In late 2015, we hosted a roundtable discussion with some of the biggest names in Britain’s housing industry, including Barratt Developments, Grosvenor, the Home Builders Federation and Solidspace, as well as futurist Dr Patrick Dixon. During this ‘Homes of the Future’ discussion, energy efficiency was highlighted as having an increasingly important role to play within UK building regulations. It is, however, not recognised by mortgage valuations. Perhaps the way in which we value our homes has become outdated?

Let me give you an example. If you take a homeowner with a thermally efficient home and compare them with a neighbour who lives in an identical home with poor energy efficiency, the first homeowner is going to have lower monthly bills. This, by default, means that that they will have more money for mortgage repayments. Yet mortgage providers don’t take this into account.

If leading minds from the housing industry think that energy efficiency is vital, then maybe we should start to give it a little more credit?
Triple glazing seems like an obvious choice for installers and partners to offer, but the desire and demand for it is actually dropping. It all comes back to the consumer being more educated than ever before. They are weighing up the additional cost against the decreasing difference in U-values between double and triple glazing, and then making an informed decision.

Although manufacturing processes are becoming more and more competent, and energy efficiency levels are improving across the board, there is still a lot more than can be done. At Origin, we focus on designing and manufacturing high quality products. We have a dedicated R&D team that focuses on continually improving our already award-winning systems, from performance and aesthetics to security and thermal efficiency.

With this in mind, we introduced The Origin Window, the only window in the UK that can be upgraded to include the revolutionary Aerogel. Used in spacecraft and space suits, Aerogel has the lowest thermal conductivity of any solid known material. Using just 10mm of it in the thermal break can boost the window’s thermal efficiency by up to 67 %.

Combined with the Origin Window, it delivers an A++ energy rating and has a certified U-value of 0.9W/m2K, exceeding the thermal efficiency of many triple glazed systems.

Energy efficiency is always going to be an important part of the purchasing decision for homeowners. With unease over Brexit, the government is in a constant state of flux, and with budget cuts happening left, right and centre, it is important that we help consumers to be as cost effective as possible, and this includes with their energy bills.