The energy efficiency and sustainability evolution

Selecta Systems’ sales director Andy Green looks into the sustainability and evolution of energy efficient windows and doors and where he sees the development of energy efficient products going in the future.

The technical performance and specification of window and door systems has evolved dramatically over the last few years as window and door solutions have developed on the back of media pressure in regards to climate change.

The introduction of industry statutory and regulatory requirements, and consumer demand in relation to the ever-increasing costs of energy supply, have been defining factors in driving window and door system innovation and design over the last few years. With further calls for action on sustainability, pressure remains on further product innovation, but how far can we go before new concerns are created?

Innovation, and especially the thermal performance of products, has progressed considerably over the last few years, so what’s next without ‘over engineering’ a window or door solution just for the sake of achieving a higher rating? There must be a cut-off point where the efficiency reaches a level where it could be detrimental to the building fabric and the whole cost against benefit of replacing windows or doors is no longer pertinent, while the practicality and purpose of energy efficient windows and doors could also be compromised.

This may be the case for the replacement window and door market with buildings of a certain age, materials and fabrics, all of which need to be taken into consideration. Whereas with new builds, the whole fabric of the building will have been designed to complement each other, and so this becomes less of an issue.

High relative humidity levels and a lack of air movement are two contributing factors to condensation, and so having energy efficient replacement windows and doors can create further issues in stabilising the temperature within a property, thus further outlay on temperature control methods or, heaven forbid, opening windows and doors to allow the movement of air.

Consumer demand within the replacement window and door market will not only be for energy efficient products, but for more cost-effective solutions in being able to deliver those savings with a reasonable return on their investment. When you consider that replacing windows and doors within a home is one of the largest investment renovations that a consumer will undertake on their property, energy efficiency will be close to the top of their requirements, along with security and aesthetics.

Sales and marketing drives point to fabricators and consumers requiring A++ ratings with triple glazed windows and doors to improve the thermal efficiency of properties and reduce energy bills. However, this may not be the most cost-effective solution where the cost to upgrade may far outweigh the savings and, as already mentioned, possibly have an effect on the performance of the building as a whole. Current requirements only dictate that a C rating or above being required, and the jump to an A rated window does not provide a large leap in potential energy savings.

I can, however, see the current C rated requirement being upgraded to a mandatory A rated obligation for all replacement windows and doors within the next few years. This would be the sensible approach as I believe that a large percentage of fabricators and installers are already installing A rated windows and doors.

For new build, will we reach the requisite of Passivhaus requirements in the near future? Will we be able to improve the sustainability of PVCU windows beyond the 10 times recycling ability of which we already have?

Selecta will preserve the company ethos to provide fabricators and consumers with the most innovative, proficient and cost effective, energy efficient and sustainable window and door solutions, while keeping a very close eye on future product demands and investing in research and development of materials and product design.