Glazing Industry Trends for 2022

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There have been some very significant impacts on the glazing industry over the past year, and as we look forward to the year ahead, John McComb, Technical Director at Reynaers Aluminium UK discusses the five key trends which he believes will affect the industry.  During these undoubtedly uncertain times it is difficult to make accurate predictions, however with recent updates to the Building Regulations coming into force from June 2022, it is apparent that environmental impact and maintaining a higher standard of living will be at the forefront.

 

Balancing Aesthetics with Performance

With occupants looking to invite more natural light into properties, increased interest in aluminium profiles will continue. This has sparked a change in design, with slimmer sightlines and more room for glazing, the whole construction approach is evolving to provide properties that are not only aesthetically better but thermally improved too. The renewed focus on thermal performance is apparent across both residential and commercial settings due to the updates to Part L of the Building regulations which relates to the conservation of fuel and power, in particular thermal insulation and energy efficiency. As part of the journey to Net Zero 2050, the Future Homes Legislation and Building regulations will lead to a reduction in U-values in 2022 and further major reductions in both 2025 and 2050. The lower the U-value the easier it is to keep heat flow through building structures to a minimum, in order to achieve this, architects, installers and fabricators must ensure that new buildings do not exceed a maximum CO2 emission rate. This will ensure that new dwellings are properly insulated and produce fewer carbon emissions.

The ongoing trend for properties to let the light in requires more glass and less metal, however, its essential this balance is struck with thermal efficiency in mind. Products such as Reynaers’ CF 68 bi-fold doors has a big market as it allows residents to better connect with the outdoor world, whilst commercial users will continue to rely on curtain walling solutions to create spaces that are productive and pleasant places to work in. Residentially, there has also been a definite move towards sliding doors, as these use a lot more glass and subsequently allow more daylighting to enter.   

 

Uncertainty for the Residential Market

As many people were unable to travel during lockdown, trends have shown that many households have spent income on home improvements instead, which has led to a surplus revenue. However, with the current uncertainty of the pandemic and supply of materials, it remains to be seen if the growth in residential developments will continue over the next 12 months. We can be certain that the supply chain and the on-going effects of the pandemic will be the defining factors for the direction in which the market takes.

 

Regulations and Sustainability

Sustainability continues to be high on the agenda of all building product manufacturers and this will only be accelerated following the recent COP 26 conference. Reynaers is very aware that with the focus on thermal insulation in Part L and the Future Homes legislation, the whole industry will have to review the products it manufactures, fabricates and installs. 

With the entire industry now committed to working towards a Zero Carbon approach for 2050, being able to demonstrate green credentials as a manufacturer and supplier will become increasingly important. Whilst in some places it has already begun, in future, tenders will require the ability to demonstrate green credentials and certifications. This is because developers and contractors use this as part of their value proposition to clients, they want to show that they have a transparent and green supply chain. 

Reynaers is on a journey to sustainability with its products and has begun using green methods to produce some of its aluminium with fewer carbon emissions. Many of our products have the Cradle-to-Cradle Certification which supports the circular economy, EPD’S, and ISO 14001 and 50001 accreditations.

 

Supply Chain

Supply chain issues experienced in 2021 are expected to continue, however Reynaers has mitigated against these risks by employing additional workers, implementing intensive training, and partnering with new suppliers.

Whilst there has been a spike in people investing in home improvements, it is the supply chain which will drive the market depending on availability of materials and given that there is currently a capacity issue on materials and labour, customers may have to wait longer for work to be completed.

Fortunately, the residential market should begin to stabilise and there is plenty of market share, but ultimately it is the supply chain that will affect the way in which the market goes. From that perspective, in the near future traditional builds on site will change, with modular construction coming more to the forefront, saving time and speeding up production to meet the demand.

 

Ventilation

Ventilations, thermals  and acoustics have been driving the glazing industry for a decade from a design point of view. Part F of the Building Regulations actions a change regarding ventilation with the intention of protecting the health of building occupants. In inner-cities, large apartment blocks are overheating because they are too thermally efficient in a bid to comply with certain regulations. Traditional methods of ventilation such as natural ventilation (opening a window) and trickle ventilation (vents) are often considered ineffective because they are either drafty or allow in the intrusive city noise.

As society is getting louder, residential settings are starting to pose a challenge for noise control. Reynaers has identified this need for balancing ventilation with acoustic performance. Our innovative ‘SoftTone’ solution deals with acoustics, urbanisation and ventilation. A sustainable architectural solution for natural ventilation in urban environments, its components allow maximal ventilation, cooling, and filter out outdoor noise.

Mechanical Ventilation could be the way forward, even in domestic settings; however, this poses a balancing act between ventilation and energy. In order to achieve targets and aspirations there needs to be a real change in regulations.

The glazing industry needs to adapt to the rapid changes taking place in society by providing innovative and sustainable systems to residential and commercial buildings. Reynaers has demonstrated that they are forward-thinking in providing solutions that meet demand and protect the environment for future generations.

 

For information on how Reynaers can assist your business in delivering sustainable and stylish glazing systems, visit www.reynaers.co.uk

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