Published On: Thu, Sep 14th, 2023

New levels of performance in a PVC-U slider

FHS may be on everyone’s minds, but it is important not to lose focus elsewhere. We talk to aluplast’s Director of Sales Ian Cocken to find out more.

The Future Homes Standard (FHS) will likely take effect in around 18 months’ time – under two years. Some companies will have been hoping for a reprieve, a helpful delay to allow for more time to develop products that will achieve the low U-values required. But that is looking increasingly unlikely.

FHS is part of the government’s strategy to meet its goal of Net Zero by 2050. Part of this requires newbuild developers to demonstrate a 31% reduction in their carbon emissions from 2024. As a result, from 2025 it is expected that windows and doors in newbuild properties will have to achieve U-values of 0.8W/m2K or lower.

“While the standard will only affect newbuild homes, it is likely that the standard will have repercussions throughout the rest of the industry,” aluplast’s Director of Sales Ian Cocken says. “The cost of energy is still very high, and we know that many homeowners see their windows as a straightforward and effective way of improving the thermal efficiency of their homes. If they know they can get lower than 1.4W/m2K, then they will want to.

“This will make sub-1.0W/m2K windows the norm, and it will put pressure on window companies to offer that across their whole range.” 

Cocken argues that thermal efficiency is only one part of a bigger system of competing forces, which includes design choice, weather performance and security.

“It’s not unusual to see how developments in one area can have a negative impact on another,” Cocken says. “We avoid this trap at aluplast, creating products that create opportunities in all areas, not just one.

“A case in point is our new Smart-Slide neo sliding door. With Passive House levels of performance, making it FHS ready, this door immediately offers a route-in for companies involved in newbuild, refurbishments and extensions.

“But we are also allowing PVC-U companies to compete alongside aluminium in terms of design reach and aesthetics.”

Smart-Slide neo has a contemporary minimalist design with slim sightline lines, and can achieve widths up to 6m and a height of 2.5mm with just two panels, helping designers create desirable openings with limited visible profile.

Smart-Slide neo can be finished in Smooth Anthracite Grey, an aludec foil that is designed to accurately replicate the look and feel aluminium. This finish is one of 40-plus colour options, which help to meet the current significant demand for colour from homeowners looking create a contemporary look to their home.

“Smart-Slide neo can achieve this without missing a beat on weather performance or security,” Cocken says. “Thanks to hardware from either Roto or MACO, rollers can accommodate individual sash weights of up to 200kg, while allowing the user to open and close the doors effortlessly.

“In the ‘fully locked’ position, a locking mechanism pulls the sash onto the frame and locks it on the meeting stile. This provides excellent performance for both air/water permeability, meeting BS6375 for weather tightness, while achieving PAS24 for security.”

Security, Cocken implores, is absolutely key. Energy efficiency, he says, maybe high on the agenda in the lead up to the implementation of the FHS, but security is an unmoveable concern, and suppliers lose out if this cannot be demonstrated.

“A PVC-U slider, achieving up to 6m-wide openings, while boasting industry leading security, thermal and weather performance, is practically unheard of,” he says.

“The colour options also help the Smart-Slide suite perfectly with our Ideal 70 and Ideal 4000 window systems. And with our flush casement and flush outward-opening door, homeowners and developers can achieve a suited appearance across a whole project with clean modern lines or heritage detailing, without having to turn to aluminium.

“Design wise, that’s a big win, but you are also ticking boxes for energy efficiency, price and sustainability thanks to our ecotech profile, which utilises the recycled PVC-U without compromising performance or aesthetic.

“Smart-Slide basically removes any concerns you may have regarding FHS, while allowing you to compete with aluminium at the high end,” Cocken concludes. “It is definitely a timely product.”