Lumi Managing Director Asa McGillian says that Lumi’s highly distinctive aesthetics still need to be backed by top performance
With energy bills getting out of hand and the latest windows and doors meeting ever tougher performance numbers to comply with the revised Building Regulations, we have never been better placed as an industry to provide significant and worthwhile improvements in energy efficiency for homeowners. I expect sales to continue booming.
Energy efficiency has not always been the strongest suit of replacement windows of course but fortunately, people just love replacing them, for good looks, easy maintenance, comfort, convenience…so now we have the added selling point of making a genuine dent in soaring energy bills.
The Lumi window system has in fact always had energy efficiency as a core focus: The edge-to-edge glazing that so strongly characterises Lumi, was supported by my insistence that we offered passiv- performance levels from launch: 0.8 W/m2K as standard, back in 2015! That original specification Lumi continues to this day and is specified in remarkably high numbers, with enquiries increasing in recent weeks.
It was and continues to be massively over-engineered, with frames manufactured in pultruded GRP to provide the linear rigidity coupled with superb insulation, triple glazing and massive seals throughout. It was designed without compromise to provide the very highest performance and of course, it commands a commensurate premium. It also provided us with invaluable experience of how to eke out the very best energy efficiency performance generally, experience that has been put to great effect in the development of Lumi 2 and now, Lumi Aluminium.
Whilst I accept that aluminium may have to work harder, U values below even the new numbers are comfortably achievable, refuting the self-serving claims in the window and door press, that aluminium windows will struggle to achieve the new U Values. Lumi already comfortably improved upon the revisions included in the new Part L of the Building Regulations.
But then the Building Regulations were never the benchmark for the energy efficiency of Lumi, in any of its versions. Rather, we were driven by the desire to produce the highest thermal performance within the context of the market sectors and price points that we were targeting. We glanced over our shoulders at the Regulations simply to ensure that we were compliant in all senses. But otherwise, we see the U Values defined as being the lowest regulated minimum, not a target for the performance of our products. Undeniably, however, that remains the case for many manufacturers.
With the incentive of energy bills climbing by substantial amounts by any standards, even those in higher income households will feel compelled to examine ways to reduce the energy consumption of their homes. And armed with the Internet of course, homeowners will thoroughly research the market with even the tiniest percentage point differences, being used to filter products. This offers all of us in the window and door industry with tremendous opportunities to provide homeowners with even more compelling reasons to justify changing their windows and doors.
With Lumi we are in a slightly unusual position from other window and door makers: the edge-to-edge glazing makes our products highly distinctive and as such, the choice is usually made by homeowners based upon aesthetics. But if the thermal and other performance characteristics are not up to scratch, the sale is nonetheless threatened.
That is why, more than ever in the current market, Lumi Aluminium windows and doors can never be just a pretty face.