More than a low U-value

Do low U-values really make a product energy efficient? Steve Hardy, joint managing director of Sidey Solutions, talks about how there are many factors that should be taken into consideration.

Energy efficiency is a term that seems to be used incessantly these days, not only in the window industry but across a huge range of markets – electrical appliances, automobiles and building design.

In windows we often describe energy efficiency in WERs, U-values and g-values, but in reality it’s much more than that.

Other factors to consider include how environmentally friendly the product is – all through the manufacturing process. How efficient is the product to install, how efficiently does it combine with other components and products, and is the product produced to the highest possible quality, meaning it won’t need replacing for many years?

Sidey developed the Solartherm  range of windows and doors, so that we could tick all these boxes.

First and foremost, although U-values shouldn’t be the only consideration, they should definitely be a priority, as the thermal efficiency performance of a window or door is obviously of the utmost importance. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be over-priced.

Cost-savings are key to housing associations and local authorities, as well as trade customers who are under a great deal of budget pressure. This means it’s vital they can choose a high-quality product at the right price, and this was the main driver behind the development of the Solartherm range.

Offering some of the lowest U-values in the industry at 0.7W/m²K, the Solartherm  range also offers superior acoustic performance, cost-effective solar shading, RAL colour, BS colour, woodgrain finishes and re-glazing options.

If a company is manufacturing highly energy efficient products in a manner that isn’t environmentally friendly, then it can defeat the object of the exercise.

Sidey put a plan into place to prioritise the environment in 2008, and we have achieved zero landfill from our manufacturing facilities, and between 90% and 100% recyclable recoverable waste.

This commitment to sustainability is backed up by an impressive array of environmental certification, becoming one of the first window manufacturers in the UK to get ISO14001:2015, as well as ISO 9001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007, and recently being shortlisted for a Vibes award.

Product quality is vital. Consumers want to be sure they are buying windows and doors that are not only going to be superb after installation, but that last for a very long time.

Sidey has a comprehensive list of accreditations, providing evidence to and peace of mind to customers that we have the utmost commitment to manufacturing outstanding products.

Another important factor to consider when designing a product is how efficiently will it interact with the rest of the range.

Sidey’s KitFix system was designed for offsite manufacturing, enabling fully glazed, fully finished windows and doors to be installed into timber frame and Sips panels in the factory, saving significant time onsite.

It works in conjunction with the Solartherm range, along with a Solartherm Clip on Cill that is simply clipped into place after fitting.

The impressive qualities of Solartherm helped Sidey to underline our credentials for social housing, continuing our place on the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) for all categories of windows and doors, offering pre-checks for quality and price, and calculating a score for the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’  (Meat).

Sidey finished as the first placed company for Meat in all five geographical areas of Scotland. Only a select few companies make it onto the list, so being top overall shows excellent performance for our products, service and installation. The Code for Sustainable Homes, Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH), Retrofit for the Future, Fabric First, and Passivhaus are easily met by Sidey’s products.

If a product – whether it’s a window, door, fridge freezer or a Toyota Prius – meets all of the relevant requirements, then it can truly be classed as energy efficient. Consumers can be reassured that they are buying quality that will last, while also making their own contribution to helping the planet.