It can’t be said that triple glazing is the new kid on the block in the window industry anymore. It’s been around for a few years now. Heck, the industry even had a big meeting about it all a few years ago. I remember back then that there was a general feeling that triple glazing was bound to take off soon. Guest speakers were making valid points about what we need to do as an industry to prepare ourselves for things like production of 44mm triple glazed units, transportation, installation and so on.
Yet, years down the line from that, from what I can see, we are nowhere near triple glazing taking off in any meaningful way. And when I mean triple glazing, I mean the stuff with units that make a tangible difference i.e. TGUs that are 44mm or wider. Anything less and there’s no point.
A quick search on Google Trends on Monday night showed me the continued disparity between searches for double glazing and triple glazing. The gap could hardly have been any wider.
Bumping along the bottom
I did a simple term search in the Google Trends engine, comparing “double glazing” and “triple glazing”. Basic I know. But those search terms would pick up all search traffic relating to those products, including news coverage and searches by the general public. I based it over the last 12 months and this was the chart that was produced:
Key: Blue – Double Glazing | Red – Triple Glazing
The results of that search term query are fairly conclusive. Search traffic for “Double Glazing” continues to far outstrip that of it’s triple glazed counterpart. There isn’t even a slight rise in that red line throughout the last 12 months. Most new products in our industry that I have done previous Google Trends searches on have shown at least some slight improvement since their introduction. Aluminium windows, timber doors, composite door, bi-folding doors have all shown good upward growth on Google Trends charts when I have featured them in previous posts. Triple glazing must be the worst performing one by far.
Although a search like this encompasses more than just home owner searches online, charts like these do carry some weight. They take into account all searches of that term. They might be home owner searches, industry related searches, general mentions of it in the press and news. But the general rule of thumb is that the more something is searched and mentioned, the better performing the product. You only need to look at that blue line to see how reliable the search traffic continues to be for double glazing. This for me is a telling sign that the future doesn’t look bright for triple glazing right now.
Time to be honest with ourselves
I keep an eye on topics being discussed in our industry, and throughout this year triple glazing really hasn’t been one of them. There has been plenty of discussion of all sorts of other things though. The advancement of mechanical joints and timber-look welds. Colour diversification. The continued rise of aluminium. All products areas that are growing strongly and are therefore getting the column inches they deserve. This hasn’t been the case for triple glazing this year at all.
For me, this is an indicator as to the future for triple glazing. If the industry is stopping talking about it, then that for me is a sign that it perhaps no longer holds much significance with the industry as an area of growth. If this is the case, then I think it’s time we had an honest word with ourselves and admitted that right now, triple glazing is dead in the water.
Lets face facts, other than one or two companies really pushing hard on it in certain parts of the UK, our weather and climate dictates that we really don’t need it. We have wet, generally mild winters. We rarely get any true deep freezes which cause us to think about our homes perform. We’re not Scandinavia or central Europe.
Add to that the continued rapid development on the energy efficiency front of double glazing. Every year U-Values come down, improving heat loss levels. All this is serving to do is to pull the rug from underneath triple glazing. It was once touted as a far more energy efficient measure than double glazing, until it was established that this is only true once units become 44mm or wider – which many are not. It was also touted as being more sound efficient than double glazing. When shown that this was a bit thin and existing products already on the market could do a better job, it lost that USP too.
Triple glazing remains more expensive that double, and always will. But when the USPs it had can be bypassed by existing products already available and that continue to get better themselves, you take away what little reason there is left for home owners to genuinely consider buying it. In the long run, I don’t see any major positives moves for triple glazing. Unless it becomes socially fashionable to have it in homes or the energy efficiency, sound efficiency and economics improves. I suspect companies that invested heavily into triple glazing manufacture might be waiting a while to see their ROIs.
To get weekly updates from DGB sent to your inbox, enter your email address in the space below to subscribe: