Sustainable energy efficiency

Sales manager at Jack Aluminium, Ash Pearson, talks about contributing to whole building energy efficiency levels with value engineered aluminium glazing systems.

I recently went to the annual Council for Aluminium Building (CAB) Conference, Future Facade [Re]Manufacture at Warwick University. As CAB members, we try to attend as many events as we can to keep ahead of what’s going on in the industry and hear about the latest trends from expert speakers.

The big focus this year was sustainability; will buildings that we are constructing now be fit for purpose in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time? It got me thinking about the way the glazing industry operates and how we influence energy performance in construction.

Although the UK government doesn’t have the best reputation for following through on energy efficiency and zero carbon plans for existing UK housing stock, the right steps are being taken to deliver new buildings with higher levels of thermal efficiency. At the 2016 Institute of Civil Engineers BIM Conference, the Digital Built Britain programme was launched – an initiative to reduce whole-life costs of public sector buildings and reduce carbon emissions by using BIM, sensing technology, secure data, and information infrastructure.

Developers and their clients are the real drivers for higher levels of thermal efficiency so that they can future-proof buildings. That means for architects and specifiers, the pressure is on to design buildings with better energy efficiency and choose products that will perform.

With commercial glazing, there is a lot to consider. In the past, we have seen commercial doorsets that have been designed with one product benefit in mind. That may have been energy efficiency, or security, or a durable design for the most high-traffic areas. The result was that these doors only had one of these benefits, instead of being multi-functional and solving lots of problems.

Products simply can’t be energy efficient at a cost to other performance areas, and we think it takes a fundamental approach from system designs to make a more direct difference on the performance of our buildings.

When we designed the TD68 Jack Door, we looked at the whole picture to design a door that ticked all of the boxes: thermal performance, security benefits, and robust enough for high traffic areas, with other options like automatic opening, anti-panic and mag lock mechanisms. Plus, we made it easy to manufacture.

We reverse-engineered aluminium windows and doors. That meant looking in more detail at every component, every manufacturing process and asking: what is this for?; what does it do?; how does it help? That’s how to develop great window and door systems that are completely fit-for-purpose and offer sustainable performance levels while adding real value to buildings.

Fabricators are often the ones who are faced with meeting the high-spec requirements from everyone in the supply chain. By listening to them, and what they need, is how we can design value-engineered systems that not only meet energy efficiency requirements, but also deliver practical usage and performance benefits.

Be that emergency exits that are secure from the outside, windows with PAS 24 security testing, or remote access entrances. When we designed the TruEnergy window, we talked to fabricators to find out exactly what they needed and designed a window to suit them. It’s a slimline design with low U-values and PAS 24 security, as well as compatibility with PVCU hardware. All the benefits fabricators wanted.

By investing in R&D during the early design stages, collaborating with other groups in the supply chain, and developing glazing systems that work for everyone, the whole industry can offer fit-for-purpose products that will stand the test of time and help the wider construction industry to be more successful in creating more sustainable buildings.

Jack Aluminium Systems Ltd
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