Neil Ginger talks through the considerations to make when specifying windows or advising homeowners on fenestration options

The three most common materials for a window system are uPVC, timber and aluminium. uPVC is the cheapest option, but has thicker sightlines than aluminium, simply due to the material not being as innately strong. This means that there will be less glass and subsequently, less light.

Timber is a popular choice, offering a warm look, but like uPVC, it tends to have wide sightlines. It also requires regular maintenance to keep it looking good, especially when in direct sunlight.

Aluminium offers a great combination of strength and weight, allowing for narrow, more aesthetically pleasing frames and better sightlines. It is extremely low maintenance and is resilient to flexing, expanding and contracting.

Protect during the building stage
Windows tend to be ordered after the aperture has been cut to get the exact opening measurements. The standard industry lead time is six to eight weeks, which can mean the customer will have an opening in their wall for up to two months. This is far from ideal from a safety and security perspective and can often cause damp issues. There are solutions out there. We introduced an industry-first one-week lead time for the Origin Window on the 11 most popular colours. This means that projects are able to stay on schedule, limiting time delays and any additional costs in the process.

Thermal efficiency
Thermal efficiency is important to homeowners as it will influence their monthly energy bills for years to come. Windows need to be effective at helping to keep the home warm in the winter, yet cool during the summer months. This is no mean feat, and something that a lot of window manufacturers claim to be able to do. However, this is not always the case.

When looking at the thermal efficiency of a window, look at its U-Values. These show the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per square metre of material, so the lower the number, the better the thermal efficiency. For windows, U-Values must be 1.6 W/(m2K) for replacements and up to 2.0 W/(m2K) for new builds and extensions to pass UK building regulations. This will help identify which windows are most suited for a project, and which manufacturers aren’t offering what they claim in their sales collateral.

On top of U-Values, be aware of a window’s energy rating. This is detailed through a ranking system, based on a scale of G to A++.

Technologies are available to enhance a window’s performance and increase its energy efficiency. In 2016, we introduced a material called Aerogel into our window offering, which means that our windows can achieve a U-Value of 0.9 and energy rating of A++. Aerogel has the lowest thermal conductivity of any known solid material, and is not affected by moisture or age. Just a single 10mm thickness of it increases the insulation factor by up to 67 per cent. Whilst this revolutionary hydrophobic insulator is not available through other manufacturers, there are some promising methods for ensuring windows are thermally efficient.

Keeping secure
According to the latest Origin research, 40 per cent of people believe security, including the quality of the locks, is the most important factor when buying new doors and windows. The price and look of systems was less important, as these were selected by 27 per cent and 14 per cent of homeowners respectively as being important.

Ensure windows conform to the PAS 24 security standards. The Origin Window is installed with Yale’s highly renowned and dependable Encloser Lock, which features bi-directional locking technology. Hinge guards are installed as standard, protecting the hinges, as well as blocking intruders from jemmying the window open. Other security features include impenetrable crimped frames and locking handles, plus restrictors which prevent the window from being opened fully by children.

Final thoughts
Ordering through traditional methods is a thing of the past. In 2016, we launched Origin Sale Safe (OSS), a revolutionary online quoting and ordering system. It was designed, developed and built in-house to help partners quote and order products with accuracy and efficiency. By simplifying the overall process associated with ordering, partners can save time on admin, turning around orders in record time – getting a full project cost in less than five minutes.

All Origin products are rigorously tested to not only meet, but exceed industry standards. Whether performance in security, durability or thermal efficiency, Origin continues to look at how our already award-winning systems can be improved – a job that’s easier said than done! Rather than focus on gimmicks, our focus is on championing the true function of the product. This has allowed Origin to offer a 20-year guarantee – twice the industry standard – and to have superior performance across the board with all systems in the Origin Home range.

Neil Ginger is CEO of Origin. Origin is the UK’s leading manufacturer of aluminium bi-fold doors, residential doors and windows

For more information, please see www.origin-global.com