Are we in the glass business or the energy saving business?
Things have come a long way since the invention of the float glass process. The main purpose of glass in buildings is to let light in and that was achieved very early on in glass making history.
Even in the 1800s the benefits of two panes of glass rather than one were known, but the ability to do this technically and to retain the aesthetics of glass were not achieved until modern sealant materials and the high quality of glass produced on the Pilkington float process were introduced.
More recently coated glass that improves energy efficiency has become established in the market, due to the demand resulting from the implementation of energy saving legislation. Products such as Pilkington Kappafloat™ (an early soft coat glass) lead the way, but during the past 21 years Pilkington K Glass™ has become a recognised household name. More recently we’ve introduced Pilkington K Glass™ S and Pilkington Spacia™ (vacuum technology insulating units) to our thermal efficiency range.
If you want to achieve a Window Energy Rating of ‘A’ then it is possible for a window to be made from any of the common framing materials when glazed with our latest product Pilkington K Glass™ S. Energy saving legislation now means that a low emissivity inner pane of glass is a requirement when installing new windows, and is not optional.
All of our domestic glazing units are gas filled as standard to help achieve additional thermal insulation performance. Utilising warm edge spacer bar technology can help further increase performance. Our domestic range of insulating glass units (IGUs) known as the Pilkington energiKare™ range, includes a non-coated glass as the outer pane of the IGU that contains extra clear Pilkington Optiwhite™ E (a low iron glass) which maximises the free energy delivered by the sun.
For windows, every component of the sealed unit is designed to capture and retain energy inside the home; consequently triple glazing is growing in popularity. Triple glazing is seen as the next logical step to make homes even more energy-efficient. A triple glazed IGU enables us to offer additional coatings, therefore offering a greater variety of performances.
What else can we do?
In addition to the performance of the installed product, it’s important to take into account the effort taken to manufacture the product in the first place. As a business it is our intention is to reduce the energy required to produce our products.
Investment in our new coating plant in St Helens is an example of our commitment to reducing the energy input into our manufacturing processes. Manufacturing products here in the UK rather than transporting products from our plants in Europe or America, considerably reduces transport costs and the advanced coating technology we can now offer in the UK ensures the highest performing products manufactured economically using the latest energy-efficient processes.
We know that glass has a very quick payback in both carbon emission and energy saving terms so by concentrating on efficiently performing products made with the least energy input technology I think it is fair to say we are in the energy saving business.