What are the key drivers shaping product innovation in the window and door industry and where will it take it? Keith White, Managing Director, aluplast UK, discusses.
That are two drivers here. One is consumer demand for new better performing products, the other is government policy. They aren’t necessarily pursuing the same path but both bring us to the same place – energy efficiency is a key driver for the UK window industry and will remain so.
Taking government policy or more accurately the influences upon it first, the energy efficiency of UK homes, remains at the forefront of the political agenda.
The UK faces huge commitments to cut carbon emissions. It’s currently ‘kicking a can along the road’ towards meeting them. These are currently set at an 80% reduction on 1990 levels by 2050.
So far, UK emissions have fallen by an average of 4.5% per year in the last three years and are 38% below 1990 levels.But pressure is mounting.
The pressure group Plan B, wrote to the Government warning that it needed to do much, much more, if it was to meet obligations under the Paris Climate Deal and if it failed to respond to scientific evidence proving the point, it would begin a legal challenge.
And what’s clear is that the scientific community is agreed that it isn’t doing enough, Prof Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientific advisor, wading into the debate last month [Sept], lending his support to Plan B’s legal case to force ministers to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement, isn’t going to go away. And it’s clear that the Government must do better. While it’s tinkering around the edges, it’s failing to get to grips with one of the biggest causes of UK carbon emissions – it’s energy leaking housing stock.
The carbon saved through the 2040 ban on cars powered by fossil fuels pails into insignificance compared to the potential saving more energy efficient housing can deliver, which accounts for more than a quarter of annual UK carbon emissions.
Progress on making the UK housing stock more efficient effectively stalled with the scraping of the Green Deal and the Zero Carbon Homes Plan in 2015. But while the Government has been slow to replace it it’s not gone away entirely.
MEESor the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force from April with the aim of driving improvements in the energy efficiency of rented housing. The Government has also announced its Clean Growth Plan, which makes funding available for energy efficient home improvements.
What none of this does is go far enough to meet what are increasingly pressing targets, which makes this autumn’s statement on carbon reduction and energy efficiency key and something which can be reasonably expected to include a major announcement on housing.
This is important in that it not only puts energy efficiency at the top of the political agenda but with new funding streams for energy efficient home improvements coming online, it also puts it at the top of consumer consciousness.
And at aluplast we’re geared to support our customers in accessing that latent demand and something which informed our development of the Ideal 4000 SquareLine casement system.
Tested to Part Q, PAS24:2012 and Secured by Design compliant, with five thermally efficient chambers, in common with aluplast’s Ideal 70 fully sculptured PVC-U system, the 70mm Ideal 4000, also easily achieves a WER A+.
This in itself may not be so unusual for a PVC-U system but it is for an ‘aluminium’ one. This is because Ideal 4000 can also be transformed into an altogether different proposition through aluskin.
This simple ‘click-and-fix’ external fascia system, allows PVC-U fabricators to manufacture a crossover aluminium-clad PVC-U casement window and door system, without investing in specialist machinery. But it also allows fabricators of aluminium systems to supply a thermally efficient PVC-U/aluminium cross-over product into projects from which they would otherwise be excluded.
Yes, absolutely consumers are influenced by other drivers. That’s why we have launched aluksin and significantly invested in our foil range and the flexibility of service that we offer. But energy efficiency remains a key infrastructure priority for the UK while the rising energy prices that will accompany any failure to meet its targets on carbon emissions, guarantee it will remain at the forefront of homeowner consciousness.