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The demand for triple glazing has soared due to recent changes in Part L building regulations, meaning tougher energy efficiency targets on building projects. The high level of insulation achieved with triple glazing means the project can still include large expanses of glass, without a compromise on either thermal efficiency or design. Neil Ginger, CEO at Origin, discusses his thoughts on the triple glazing debate.

 

Over the last five years, Origin has seen a steady rise in the demand for triple glazing as building regulations become more stringent and the industry becomes increasingly conscious of the thermal efficiency of homes. But while the thermal and acoustic benefits are widely reported, triple glazing is not without issues.

Thermal Efficiency

In some cases, the efficiency of high performance double glazed doors is almost as good, if not better than, a triple glazed bi-folding door. Simply asking for triple glazing is not the answer; U Values vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Origin’s double glazed bi-folding doors can achieve 1.67 W/(m2K) using 24mm units which is superior to some manufacturers’ triple glazed products.  Origin’s aluminium triple-glazed bi-folding doors have a certified U Value of 1.3W/(m2K), surpassing the British Building Regulations by an industry leading 27 per cent.

Strength and Weight

Consideration must be given to the weight implications of triple glazed units as the extra glass will mean the sets will be significantly heavier.  Fewer units can therefore be delivered at any one time, due to the maximum weight loads for vans or lorries. This will affect the number of journeys an installer makes to site with the units. A glass lifter may also be required which may increase the cost of installation.

The majority of homeowners install bi-folding doors into their property to create a view of the garden and let in the maximum amount of daylight. However, due to the additional weight of triple glazing, the maximum panel size available for a bi-folding door is smaller than a double glazed alternative. This is because larger triple glazed doors would be too heavy to operate and would not be fit for the end user. By reducing the maximum panel size, an additional door is also required, which increases the amount of door frame interrupting the view.

For buildings that include a large expanse of triple glazed glass, a strong material is required for the frames to support the additional weight. Aluminium frames are extremely strong, yet weigh 67 per cent less than steel. This allows bi-fold doors to be manufactured with incomparably narrow frames to let in maximum amounts of light.

Aluminium is also versatile and strong enough to easily make complex layouts within a building design, such as moving corner posts and bay setups, without being too heavy.

 

Cost

Triple glazed bi-folding doors and windows can cost up to twice the amount of a double glazed alternative. Triple glazing is recommended to achieve Passiv Haus standard, however for homes that do not require such a high level of insulation, the house builder will have to assess whether the value added to the property will outweigh the high initial cost of triple glazed units. After all, it will be the homeowners who benefits from the energy savings in the future.

Despite the issues currently in debate regarding triple glazing, each project is different and it is clear that triple glazed units can be beneficial to the thermal efficiency of homes.  By weighing up the pros and cons of triple glazing, it is apparent that more consideration must be given to the issues if the construction industry is to consider this as a viable alternative to double glazing.

Neil Ginger is the CEO of Origin Frames, a British manufacturer of bespoke aluminium bi-folding doors and tailor made electric blinds.

 

Origin is an award-winning British manufacturer of high quality, bespoke aluminium folding sliding doors and made-to-measure electric roller blinds, individually tailored to any bi-folding door installation.

Every bespoke bi-fold door is designed and manufactured at Origin’s impressive state-of-the-art UK factory in High Wycombe, and each door set comes with a 20 year guarantee, so you can be sure your design will continue to look good well into the future.

Origin realises that not all extensions run according to plan. With this in mind, they have developed a unique service it calls ‘Your lead time, not ours’ available on its most popular colours, which means homeowners can time the installation of their bi-fold doors around their build schedule.