Last week we witnessed a frankly bizarre conversation on Good Morning Britain which focussed around the proposed banning of building new conservatories. This was played while I was at the gym so I missed the original broadcast, but I was quickly and kindly pointed to it by followers on social media.

There’s a fair bit to unpack, and a lot of it is typical, uninformed BS.

Ban conservatories, whilst sitting in one

Before we move on to what I suppose we could call the subject matter, the absolute glaring irony of this particular interview was that the person advocating for the banning of building new conservatories was that she was sat in one! In her own home! What’s that saying about stones and glass houses?

She was proposing that no more new conservatories be built as they become huge sources of trapped heat, especially in the summer, which causes the rest of the house to overheat and is bad for the environment. For those who work in the fenestration sector, we are all aware of the seasonal problems older conservatories have. That was a distinction that failed to be made during the interview. There was no mention of the advancement in technology and products in the conservatory market. But we’ll come on to that in a moment.

Going back to the irony for a moment. It was pointed out to the campaigner, Angela Terry, that she was, in fact, making the case whilst sitting in her own conservatory at home, and that people watching may not take this point so seriously when they watch this interview. Of course, that is correct. I suspect Angela may have been trying to make some kind of point, but misjudged it quite badly. If we really want to go down this rabbit hole, which I don’t but will do for the sake of the article, any legislation shouldn’t just be outlawing new conservatories being built but should also propose that existing ones be modified or taken down.

Sitting there, in the comfort and warmth of the conservatory that was there when Angela said the house was bought, I suspect that she wouldn’t be so keen to see a major room of her home taken away.

This is the irony and stupidity of the argument. As we well know because we work in this industry, there are already millions of pre-existing conservatories in the UK. Around three million, maybe a bit more than that. We also know that the peak installation period is nearly two decades behind us. The number of new conservatories being built is minimal compared to what it used to be. So the issue here isn’t the building of new ones, it’s the millions of pre-existing ones!

Good Morning Britain has since deleted the near-two-minute clip from their Twitter feed. I originally referenced that clip in a tweet of my own at the time. However, one or two media outlets have managed to snag a shorter version of the interview:

Badly researched story

This particular interview, setting aside the blatant irony and poorly argued points, is a very good example of how badly this story was researched and how clear it is that the public really is not familiar with what we now do as a sector.

We all know that fenestration as a sector isn’t known by household brand names. One or two have kind of broken through, but on the whole, our industry is still comparatively in the shadows compared to other sectors of the economy. We still have a lot of work to do if we want to be a more recognised sector in the years to come.

What would have made a powerful argument during that debate would have been to talk about the huge advancements in conservatory and glazed extension technology. So much so that the term “conservatory” is no longer appropriate to describe the modern, highly energy-efficient structures installation companies are now building for homeowners.

There is a huge range of solid roof systems out there with incredibly low u-values that provide far better climate control than old conservatory roofs do. The window and door frames that go into them are again vastly more efficient than their 30-year-old predecessors. You then have systems where columns or wall panels are pre-fabricated and built so well they hardly lose any heat at all. Our industry has transformed in this regard and it would have been nice to perhaps have seen someone from the fenestration sector included in the debate to argue the point for those who make and install the products in question.

Sadly, because of a lack of informed knowledge on the subject matter, apart from the irony of someone saying conservatories should be banned whilst sitting in one, there will also be a continued negative perception of what we do.

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