Apeer’s extraordinary Lumi window and door range has demonstrated that it is possible to step outside the design box and produce glazed products that are good to look at and not just through. And, says Lumi’s driving force Asa McGillian, they work brilliantly, too.
Although Lumi’s G15 award for Best New Product was a couple of years ago now, nothing else has even attempted to redesign the window in a way that Lumi succeeded. In fairness there is only so much that can be done with something that, almost by definition, should not be noticed but rather the views beyond. Through its signature edge-to-edge glazing Lumi invites attention and succeeds in modifying even the most mundane of exteriors much in the way that diamonds will lift a plainly dressed woman at an unremarkable ball.
These days of course all show and no go simply won’t cut it. Regulations, let alone customer expectations, require that windows and doors must perform to minimal levels and, actually, the more expensive and avant-garde the windows and doors may be, the more is expected of them in terms of security, but more so, in thermal performance. Asa McGillian always intended to exceed the aesthetics with the U values for Lumi: “When we designed Lumi, we wanted it to appeal aesthetically, but also deliver the kind of energy efficiency home owners expect from a premium product,” said Apeer’s managing director, Asa McGillian. “Yes, it looks fantastic, but every component has been designed from scratch to offer great performance as well as looks. The appeal of Lumi is certainly more than skin deep and it means that homeowners can enjoy an aspirational, high value product without having to compromise on its performance.”
Lumi really does look like nothing else on the market – a unique style that is made possible by the fact that, unlike a traditional window, the glass is structurally bonded to a core of high strength, pultruded glass reinforced plastic (GRP) profiles. This intelligent engineering has not only resulted in a window and door system that is the epitome of cool, but it has produced a product range that boasts market leading strength, security and energy efficiency as well.
“In the early days of Lumi many of our installations were in higher value properties,” explained Asa, “where the homeowners were thinking very much about the style of their properties first. And whilst for them the cost of energy is not an issue as such, overall performance is. They want the best. But Lumi is increasingly specified for homes in which energy efficiency is important, for the purpose of reducing energy bills of course and also to reduce the impact of a building on the environment. This is especially true with architect-designed homes where a product that doesn’t significantly outperform the requirements dictated by the Building Regulations, quite simply, doesn’t get considered.”
The driver from concept has been the attainment of standards laid down by Passivhaus, says Asa: “Although projects built to Passivhaus remains quite rare with only around 30,000 built world-wide, it presented a goal to achieve with our windows and doors, which we have reached or exceeded. Our windows perform to 0.8 w/m2k with doors, dependent upon style 0.6 w/m2k. “We achieve this through argon filled, 50mm triple glazed units, using low ‘E’ glass and a warm edge spacer bar, all produced in our own factory. The frames are also double rebated and foam insulated.
“We use the warm edge spacer in all the triple glazed units in Lumi, as well as in our Lumi composite doors and matching sidelights,” said Asa. “In fact, we’ve used warm edge in our units for over a decade now because it’s easy to work with and 100% reliable, and we know that it plays a key role in making our windows as energy efficient as possible.
“Lumi doesn’t just offer exceptional ‘U’ values it’s also able to provide unbeatable weather protection,” Asa added. “Behind the flush glazing is a twin seal, double rebated frame, which means it combines a flush finish effect on the outside with a stormproof construction, and that’s something that other flush effect windows have been unable to achieve.
“Part of the reason for our success with Lumi, is that when we designed it, we were able to do so with a clean slate,” concluded Asa. “We started out manufacturing doors, so for our first window we weren’t limited by trying to adapt or evolve an existing system, we could start from scratch with new ideas and just concentrate entirely on making it absolutely the best we could. And that’s exactly what we have done.”