Is Aluminium Energy Efficient?

Energy Efficiency & aluminium haven’t always gone hand-in-hand. However, our new range of aluminium bi-fold doors is the exception!

At Emplas, we started to manufacture the AluK F82 Luminia aluminium bi-folding door in May this year. A departure from the core uPVC manufacturing, our choice of system, the F82 Luminia is underpinned by logic and not least by a certain ‘familiarity’.

“The key drivers of the market for uPVC windows and doors are energy efficiency and through-life performance. Security, finish and aesthetics, flush casements and foils, they play their part, but fundamentally people choose uPVC because it will make their home warmer and because uPVC windows are a low-maintenance product.”

Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

Speaking from his experience of serving as managing director of both Emplas and retail business T&K Home Improvements, Leary argues end-users ultimately want the same from aluminium.

“We can agree, I think, that aluminium is, and is going to, remain the dominant material type in bi-fold door manufacture for the foreseeable future.

“And there are reasons for that. The sightlines, the structural flexibility of the material and it’s the ability to span wider openings. It delivers architectural and end-user appeal.

“Where aluminium doesn’t, or at the very least historically hasn’t met consumer expectation, is energy efficiency and through-life performance.

“Slim sightlines may be one thing, but if they’re running with condensation for much of the year because the U-value is so high, they lose a little of their shine.”

Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

Aluminium’s grip on the bi-fold door market is undisputable, accounting for 59% of all sales (according to Palmer Market Research) compared to 27% for uPVC and 14% for timber. Forecast to top 56,000 doorsets across material types per year by 2020 and the case for adding an aluminium bi-fold door to your portfolio as a manufacturer is clear.

But so is the increasing importance end-users place on the energy efficiency of their homes.

Home Energy Performance Certificates have made home energy efficiency transparent. Government research showing that those with the least efficient homes will pay more than three times as much on energy costs as those with the most thermally efficient properties to the tune of almost £6,000 over three years.

Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

This combined with rising energy prices and focus on climate change, according to Leary, is sharpening the end-users, and as a consequence the new build sectors interest in thermal efficiency.

John said: “We know first-hand that you aren’t going to get near new build specifications with most aluminium systems. U-values of 1.6 W/m2K or even 1.7 W/m2K don’t come close.

“That’s why Luminia delivers such a distinct advantage to our customers. You get a fantastic aesthetic but as a completely new system, also the levels of thermal performance that new builds and increasingly, residential markets, are demanding.”

Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

The F82 aluminium bi-folding door was launched by AluK in 2017, delivering providing U-values of 1.4 W/m2K with a double glazed unit and 0.9 W/m2K with triple glazed.

Accommodating larger spans and individual leaf width of up to 1200mm also maximises the glazed area of the door, heavy-duty rollers deliver effortlessly smooth operation and individual sash weights of up to 150kg.

It does this without compromising on aesthetics with slim, symmetrical sightlines on the frame, cill and jamb of only 97mm and 122mm on the door meeting, creating a clean and contemporary picture-frame effect.

This architectural attention to detail is also evidenced in AluK’s patented ‘T’ handle, which sits completely flush within the frame, requiring a simple push out to operate. This means your customers can enjoy uninterrupted sightlines. This is the same with the flush handle, in addition to the minimalist design of hinges.

Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

Luminia is fully tested to PAS24, meeting the demands placed on it by Part Q of the Building Regulations, giving it further reach in the new build sector.

John continued: “the other standout feature for me is the finish. We expect most of our customers to sell Luminia alongside our uPVC offer. That creates a focus on the finish at the point of retail. The process which underpins ALUK’s inhouse powder coating is for me a real plus and fits with the pitch about the longevity and through-life performance of uPVC.”

The product of multi-million-pound investment, this door uses a sophisticated flash anodising pre-treatment to create an unsealed anodised layer of aluminium oxide. This not only forms an enhanced substrate for the powder coating process but prevents filiform corrosion.

Aluminium Bi-Fold Door

The net effect is that powder coated surfaces are more stable but also delivered to a marine-grade finish- as standard. This is supplied by Emplas in white, grey, brown and black as standard, plus any RAL colour on special order. All finishes are guaranteed for 10-years.

John summarised: “The reality is that most homeowners don’t have deep enough pockets to specify a house full of aluminium products and why would they when uPVC delivers a range of finishes and significantly enhanced aesthetics?

“The product where aluminium really does, however, make a difference is in bi-fold manufacture and its through-life performance.

“Sitting with the homeowner, it’s very easy to up-sell the benefits of aluminium but specifically those of Luminia as a highly affordable but nonetheless premium aluminium bi-folding door.

“Design, flexibility, hardware and furniture, finish- but critically thermal performance, make it a distinct offer but one where the small additional spend is very easy to justify over and above comparable systems. It delivers margin.”

For more information on our aluminium bi-fold doors, you can contact us on 01933 674 880 or fill out our online contact form.

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