One of the biggest debates to be had this year is triple glazing, and whether it really is going to break through into the mainstream or not. A lot of you may have now seen something called The Triple Glazing Question. This is a brand new event that is being held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on April 10th, and aims to answer some of the key questions around triple glazing.
The event was launched by Edgetech UK at the start of this year, and the GGF and Pilkington have now joined as key stakeholders. There are 500 free tickets and it’s first come first serve so if you are thinking of going then it would be wise to register now. So, here’s the cynical bit. I’ve not really seen such a product specific debate like this before, and I think it is happening because the industry is worried about the slow uptake of triple glazing.
It was launched with great fanfare a few years ago and was hailed as the next big thing to happen to the industry. Some even thought it was going to be so good it would lead our industry out of the doldrums and into the land of profit and happiness. I on the other hand said the launch of triple glazing couldn’t have come at a worse time. People’s spending was seriously limited, so the idea of spending MORE on triple glazing over standard double glazing wasn’t going to fly. The economy was on it’s knees and unemployment was rising rather fast. A high end product intended for the general public was never going to perform well in those conditions.
Since then, triple glazing has continually threatened to break into the mainstream, but has reliably flopped each time. The reason I think is due to the public not yet truly seeing a need for triple glazing. Let me give you an example. Look at how solid roofs for conservatories have taken off. Yes there are many pitfalls to that industry, most notably safety and certain legal aspects. But look at the reason why it has taken off. There are literally millions of old conservatories with polycarbonate roofs that are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer for people to use. A new solid roof not only changes the climate inside the conservatory but also gives it a massive facelift. There was an actual need for this product as it solved a problem millions of people had.
Double glazing on the other hand has advanced a lot in recent years, to the point where triple glazing is only marginally better. For most consumers, the extra money they would have to spend on upgrading to triple glazing wouldn’t bring them value for money benefits. Therefore not really solving any major problem.
Yes, in some cases such as high noise areas like motorways, flight paths and train routes, triple glazing might be helpful from a noise reduction perspective. But in general, there just isn’t a screaming need for it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of triple glazing. I believe it has a very important place in new construction and specialist building like Passivhaus. It plays an important role in helping to improve the overall fabric of new buildings. But in the replacement market, it still hasn’t found it’s place.
Some companies are reporting rising sales of triple glazing. But as an industry in general the uptake remains painfully slow, too slow for many manufacturers, hence this triple glazing conference.
I think one of the aims of the meeting is to ascertain how the industry can help improve the popularity of triple glazing and help shift some more sales of it in 2014. I don’t blame the companies who set this up for doing it. They have ploughed a lot of money into R&D departments to bring this to market and they want to see a return on that. But I’m afraid that triple glazing is going to be a slow burner for a few more years to come. If it’s to really grab the imagination of the general public like the solid roof market has then the industry is going to have to reach a point where triple glazing can be sold (and I mean genuinely sold with a decent profit margin) at the same price as double glazing on mass. How we can get to a situation like that is beyond me, but I’ll leave that to the smarter folk in our industry to work that out.
As for the event itself, I probably will attend, to see what the generally accepted commentary is surrounding triple glazing and see where it is headed in the next few years.
There’s really not much point in events like this, other than helping to massage the egos of the self-proclaimed “stakeholders” in triple glazing for the PVC market .ie. the only ones who really get to gain significantly from the myth of triple glazing for the UK PVC masses – spacer bar and glass manufacturers. Help them feel like they are leading progress. Anyone with half a brain can see through the hyperbole and arm themselves with the actual stats for day to day use already. Triple glazing has been around for decades. There’s really nothing new here. Same old trot.… Read more »
Dear Ginty, You make a good point about whether installers will make decent profit margins in the future market from triple glazing. Triple Glazing may have been around for decades but with companies now offering free triple glazing for the same price as double glazing, we need to ask, is it the right time to discuss the implications of triple glazing for the whole industry? The construction industry has a history of selling better performing products without increasing prices. We hear that in countries where triple glazing has grown significantly in the past few years, the product cost has reduced… Read more »
Andy, My middle para points are just as good too, if not better! As the host, maybe you could help make a difference. How about really bursting open the sound reduction ‘debate’ of triple glazing. That’s always been the biggest issue to discuss with the public regarding triple in my experience. Let’s not just infer sound reduction as default, as nearly everyone selling triple does (google it for pages of fun looking for an actual fact), but have a presentation of the real deal when it comes to sound reduction, and on the level – 4mm, 4/4mm, 4/4/4mm in db… Read more »
I agree Ginty. Acoustic performance is one of the questions that will be answered at the Triple Glazing Question. We look forward to discussing it further on 10 April at the Ricoh Arena. I hope to see you there.
Time will tell if that question will be answered in any significant way. You won’t see me there, but I’ll be the first to praise to the rafters if this constant trot of significant sound reduction claims make way for actual proven data and what they really equate to in real perceptible terms to the end-user on the most sold 4/4/4 spec. It’s ludicrous that an industry that hangs on every decimal point of a U-value, or +1 of WER figures to demonstrate energy savings of 3G manages to get away without backing up claims for significant 3G sound reductions… Read more »
Oh come on now Ginty , you infer that the industry is making 3G sound reduction claims without backing evidence , and use the WERs as a validation of energy savings as if they actually had evidence to support their claims !!
Kevin, it wasn’t anything specifically to do with WERs (note I mention U-value in the same sentence), but an observation of how the trade quantifies and promotes every decimal to the Nth degree when it comes to energy saving claims, but is completely and almost universally lacking in any attempt to demonstrate all the exuberant sound reduction claims across the board as default when it comes to 3G. You don’t think that’s kind of odd, and with probably good reason?