I am writing in response to the GGF’s analysis of the Government’s views on Building Regulations in 2010 and 2013. Whilst I broadly agree with much of the sentiment in Nigel’s summary, I am concerned that three of his comments in particular require clarification for the industry.
1) “In a recent EST survey the number of A, B or C rated windows being installed was less than 3%.”
My major concern here is that the information to which Nigel refers appears to be outdated. When you consider the scope and scale of companies currently selling energy rated windows, it doesn’t take long to realise how low this 3% figure is. These companies include Anglian, Safestyle, Camden, Paramount, SWC, Pioneer, Betterview, Senator, Window Outlet, Lister Trade Frames, Tradelink, CWG Choices, Crystal Windows & Doors, Direct Windows, and Masterframe. Information from Edgetech’s customers alone tells us that approximately 500,000 windows are being sold as energy rated currently, with many companies offering C as standard.
2) “Furthermore at present there is neither the investment nor the capability of producing 100% of windows installed as even C band, let alone more demanding specifications.”
Again this information appears dated. Advances in warm edge technology, gas filling and glass mean most fabricators can now achieve a C with minimal changes. I believe as an industry we could literally make the switch overnight. Edgetech customers currently manufacture enough sealed units for over 1 million windows pa. and have the capacity to do more. In addition we’re about to see the take off of EnergiKare from Pilkington, Anglian and Safestyle to name just two who are tooled up to bring window energy ratings to the mass market. For this reason we envisage the swift change-over to C as viable and imminent. Indeed, the market is already starting to dictate this development.
3) “Obviously moves that would greatly increase the cost of Energy Efficient Windows, if perceived as unaffordable by the consumer, would slow down the introduction of this important energy saving product further”
As I have argued for (far too) long, this need not be the case. We have been able to demonstrate with our customers that they can produce energy rated windows competitively. Many of the companies I have named are choosing to sell the product as standard. As we all well know, there is no standard price list for our industry and prices to homeowners already vary significantly for many reasons. Consumers do not always buy the cheapest products, as reflected in the fact that despite being more expensive up front, most of us now buy A and higher rated white goods - not C rated.
It’s important to make the transition to C ratings as easy and as profitable as possible for the industry. I urge Nigel to take advantage of the most up to date market information rather than relying on old reports that are in direct conflict with current market trends.
I look forward to the GGF’s reply.
PS As many of the companies currently selling and installing energy rated windows are GGF members, including Anglian and Safestyle, I would be keen to hear their views on this too.