More than 600 people gathered in Coventry recently to debate the case for triple glazing at Edgetech’s Triple Glazing Question forum, and, although it was a brilliantly executed event, opinions remained mixed at the end of the day, as to whether triple glazing really is the right way forward for the UK industry.
It was established that when it comes to performance, as well as the practicalities of manufacturing and installing triple glazing, three is not necessarily better than two, with 54% of the audience claiming they would prefer to stick with energy efficient ‘clever’ double glazing over triple. Factors such as noise reduction were found to be of smaller significance than you might think, with ‘standard’ triple glazing offering a reduction of just one decibel compared to double glazing; a reduction that amounts to nothing when it was revealed that the human ear can only detect a sound reduction of three decibels.
Despite these reservations, with interactive polls running throughout the forum, 77% of the audience still thought that consumer demand for triple glazing would rise in the next 12 months and 53% of the audience expected to offer it as an option within the next 12 months, with many taking the view that triple glazing is an inevitable next step for the UK, whether we like it or not.
After a welcome from Edgetech UK’s Andy Jones, the implications for glass, windows, and hardware were discussed by Steve Scrivens from Guardian Glass UK, Mark Barsby of VEKA UK, and Grant Stratford of Assa Abloy OEM Group respectively.
This was followed by a contribution from the GGF’s Nigel Rees with regard to standards, ratings and environmental issues, while the impact of triple glazing on the manufacturing process was explained by Steve Goble of Hegla UK, Promac’s Joe Hague and Malcolm Searle of Clear Thinking Software, where several ‘issues’ with the practicalities of manufacturing triple glazing were pointed out, including the potential lack of space to hold 50% more glass in stock.
Ecoglass’ Gaby Mendham concluded the morning session with the revelation that 90% more raw material is actually needed to produce a triple glazed unit (when compared to double glazed), which was followed by lunch and a chance to further discuss the issues raised in the specially designated ‘Expert Arena’.
The afternoon session began with the fabricator’s viewpoint, voiced by Mark Warren of Lister Trade Frames and Mike Crewdson of Emplas, who pointed out that with triple glazing, three-man installation teams were likely to become ‘the norm’.
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited speech of the day came from Chris Carter, of Everest, who discussed the sales opportunities that triple glazing can present, but, to the disappointment of some, he failed to mention ‘that advert’ (in which Everest reveals its offer of a free upgrade to triple glazing); a sales pitch that has certainly ruffled feathers in the wider industry.
The Triple Glazing Question will continue at the FIT Show 2014, June 10-12.