Not that many years ago, many systems companies and fabricators got behind a concerted effort to push triple glazing in a direction that some hoped would see it establish itself a bit more significantly. After all, lots of money had been spent on machinery, research, production and marketing. Money spent had to be returned via sales.
Yet, I am not seeing a big groundswell of momentum of the product on the ground. From conversation I have with others on the installation side of the industry, triple glazing just isn’t taking root.
So why is that the case? Or are there regional differences? Will it always be a product that will remain in the shadow of double glazing?
Is there real demand for it?
A product of any kind, be it windows and doors or anything else in this world, always does well when there is genuine demand for it, or the perception of requirement is made well by those who push and produce the product.
This is where triple glazing has a problem. I don’t see any real genuine demand for the product from home owners. Double glazing replacing single glazing worked decades ago because single glazing was so horrendous. It was seriously bad. So when double glazing took over, there was a tangible benefit to fitting it and hence a genuine demand from home owners.
But since then, the quality of double glazing has become better and better. To the point where U-Values can be lower than the 0.9 Passivhaus standard, and energy ratings into the ridiculousness of A++. So when a window is that good, and heat loss is eradicated, would a home owner really need spend more on uplifting to triple glazing? Even if that uplift is small? Probably not.
Climate has a lot to do with demand when it comes to our industry. Essentially it’s the cold. If our climate is cold enough, people will buy things to make sure they don’t feel cold and are kept comfortable. Double glazed windows with a U-Value of 1 and a WER of A+15 will do that trick nicely. So why bother with triple glazing?
The only place I can see demand for triple glazing being strong is in areas of high noise. Homes next to busy roads, train lines, airports etc will probably see a higher than normal ratio of demand for triple glazing, if only to reduce the impact of noise. This is of course only possible so long as the cavities and thicknesses of the glass unit are different thicknesses. And if the unit is at least the universally recognised 44mm deep.
Are there regional differences?
I can say with some confidence that our local area is very flat when it comes to demand for triple glazing. We demonstrate it in our showroom, we have the product on display. Yet, we see little to no general inquiries from the general public.
We have sold triple glazed installations in the past, and this year, but they have always been installations that have resulted in our promotion of the product, rather than people coming in and asking for it.
That’s not to say this is the picture all over the UK. I know that in Scotland demand for the product is much stronger. I think we can determine that a more advanced building regulations standard and colder climate can explain that. But in most parts of England, I think demand is patchy at best.
Will triple glazing forever be in the background?
Whilst systems companies and fabricators continue to develop and improve double glazing, triple glazing will always be the poorer cousin. It’s only until the industry on mass decides that double glazing is a product of the past and turns to triple glazing as it’s future that the product will root and take off.
But that won’t happen. Because there is no need for it to happen. Demand from home owners is anemic. The UK climate whilst generally garbage isn’t Scandinavian or even Scotland levels of cold. The level of improvement from double to triple glazing versus the cost uplift isn’t worth it either.
Whilst these conditions persist, triple glazing will always remain in the background as a specialist, small percentage product. This will be a problem for the companies in the industry that backed the product a few years ago. Investment has been made and they will hope to see some decent return on that investment. So although sales of the product will most likely remain flat, don’t expect the industry to stop marketing triple glazing any time soon.
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