Andrew Jenner, product manager of warm edge spacer manufacturer, Technoform Glass Insulation, discusses the ‘bigger picture’ of energy efficiency
The thermal performance of a window, door or conservatory is determined by a wide variety of factors. These include the frame material, the number of chambers within the frame, the glass type, the number of glass panes, whether the unit is filled with air or gas, the type of gas, the seals, the quality of installation and much, much more.
Warm edge spacers
Another key factor is the spacer. Broadly speaking you have two types of spacer – aluminium and warm edge. Aluminium spacers are very practical, durable and easy to process, but they are not very energy efficient. Aluminium is a conductor, allowing the cold from outside to be transferred through the spacer and in turn cool the warm air inside a property.
By contrast, warm edge spacers are incredibly energy efficient. They cancel out this ‘thermal bridge’, keeping the inner and outer panes of glass at different temperature and stopping any undesirable loss or gain of heat. This difference in temperature ensures that the pane of glass in contact with the warm air stays warm, and so almost eliminates the likelihood of condensation forming.
The bigger picture
Whilst warm edge spacers do influence the energy efficiency of a window, door or conservatory, it is important not to get too obsessed over such a small component. Bigger components such as the frame and glass have a greater impact on overall performance, rendering the small thermal differences between many of the leading spacers systems insignificant.
In Germany, where 7, 8 or 9 chambered window systems are commonplace, manufacturers do not choose warm edge spacers purely for their thermal performance, they choose the spacer that will be easiest to manufacture, will offer greater longevity and use the supplier that can offer the best overall service. As long as they are using a good quality warm edge spacer, German window companies know that their 7, 8 or 9 chambered system will enable them to meet the most stringent standards in energy efficiency.
A great ‘all-rounder’
The TGI®-Spacer is a great ‘all-round’ spacer supplied by a company that always puts the customer at the heart of its operations. The TGI®-Spacer offers low Psi-values for the glass edge, significantly improving a windows U-Value, and can be processed on all standard bending machines. It can also be cut and corner keyed, should the manufacturer prefer this method.
The TGI®-Spacer is used by many of the leading German and French IGU manufacturers, thanks to its easy, cost-effective processing, and has proved a big hit here in the UK too, with many big-name British companies switching to Technoform Glass Insulation in recent years.
Technoform Glass Insulationcannot claim to offer the most energy efficient spacer on the market today, but we recognise that a warm edge spacer needs to offer more than just energy efficiency. The ability to save the manufacturer time and money is equally important.
We also recognise that a warm edge supplier should ‘go the extra mile’ for its customers. This is why you can only buy direct from Technoform Glass Insulation, not through distributors, meaning we can offer better service, hands on technical support and a one day turnaround if need be.
For more information please call 0121 506 9740 or visit www.glassinsulation.co.uk