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GGP August 2017

A L U M I N I U M Does thermal efficiency have to come at a high price? In today’s marketplace you don’t need to pay a high price for thermally efficient aluminium, says Andy Jones, group sales and marketing director at Synseal Group. If you saw us at the FIT Show this year, you’ll know that one of our biggest priorities at Synseal Group is to raise the profile of our thermally efficient aluminium range, WarmCore. We believe that too many people are still compromising on thermal efficiency in aluminium specification when they no longer need to make that vital choice between thermal performance and aesthetic appeal – they can have both. When we first launched the WarmCore folding sliding door, the majority of leading market contenders we benchmarked against tested ‘U’ values between 1.76 and 1.94 W/m²K when using standard double glazing. This meant some systems available weren’t even meeting Part L requirements for replacement doors which specify 1.8 W/m²K. With WarmCore, we entered the market with ‘U’ values of 1.4 W/m²K double glazed and 1.0 W/m²K triple glazed for folding sliding doors, following soon after with a WarmCore window spec as low as 0.8 W/m²K. A number of aluminium systems companies have since followed suit in offering systems with better thermal efficiency, but not enough are challenging themselves to match the rate of innovation seen in PVCU manufacturing where excellent thermal efficiency always comes as a given. An inherent disadvantage? It’s always going to be more difficult to achieve good ‘U’ values with aluminium because the material is more conductive than PVC-U. Lack of innovation in the marketplace has, until very recently, meant that end consumers of aluminium products have simply accepted that this inherent disadvantage in thermal performance as an inevitable tradeoff for aluminium aesthetics. Instead, we as aluminium product suppliers should be seeing this as a huge opportunity to drive innovation and improvements in this growing market and offer homeowners “We’ve been challenging expectations in aluminium for a while now” products which meet all of their needs. This includes being able to offer aluminium solutions which perform on par thermally with PVCU windows and doors. This has been engrained in the specification of our WarmCore products from the start. We wanted to create a beautiful, hardwearing product that shared the thermal efficiency benefits of PVC-U and looked just as good as any of the purely aluminium products available. We used our 20 years’ expertise working with PVC-U to design a revolutionary full-width thermal core which sits beneath the aluminium exterior. This composite structure achieves the dual benefits of being thermally efficient on the inside with a beautiful, architectural exterior finish. It also means our customers have the added bonus of the same lead time for dual colour at the point of manufacture. Another key factor in the development of WarmCore was to bring an aluminium product to market that more homeowners could afford, giving our fabricators and their installers an aluminium alternative to up-sell to the end consumer looking to purchase second and even third generation windows for their homes. With WarmCore placed in the sweet spot, around 20-30% less expensive than the majority of rival aluminium products and only around 25% more costly than standard PVC-U windows, it’s an affordable upgrade that homeowners can justify for the combination of aluminium aesthetics and the same thermal performance expected from PVC-U. With this in mind, the new WarmCore inline patio system we previewed at the FIT Show will offer our customers an alternative sell to a bi-fold at a lower cost than what you’d expect to pay for an aluminium or even a PVC-U bi-fold door. This means that homeowners who typically don’t have the budget for a large scale bi-fold door can still benefit from an aluminium finish and panoramic views with a two, three or four pane WarmCore patio door. We are confident that given the choice between a PVC-U bi-fold door and an aluminium finish patio, many homeowners will opt for the latter. Gaining momentum We’ve recently been recognised by the Made in the Midlands Awards for our innovative approach to manufacturing WarmCore for its thermal qualities. It is platforms like this and the FIT Show which help us to gain momentum in re-educating the marketplace about aluminium. We’ve been challenging expectations in aluminium for a while now, and will continue to introduce WarmCore technology into a variety of products to offer customers the very best aluminium products which meet all of their requirements – and don’t ask them to choose between two crucial criteria like aesthetics and thermal efficiency. We just need more suppliers and decision makers to prioritise thermal efficiency to help improve the reputation of aluminium and its wider specification in the long term. 64 www.ggpmag.com August 2017 Andy Jones


GGP August 2017
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