Blyweert Beaufort have got WER's for you

The latest revisions to Part L Building Regulations, which are due to come into force in England and Wales in October, will set a new mandatory requirement for window energy performance within the Window Energy Ratings (WERs) Scheme. Russell Yates, Technical Director for Blyweert Beaufort Aluminium, explains how forward-thinking investment in product development and testing over the past few years has put the pioneering aluminium systems company - and its customers - one step ahead of this major update of energy efficiency regulations.

Stricter requirements WERs have been the main way of demonstrating Part L compliance since the last revision to the regulations in 2006, and they have proved popular with consumers who recognise the A to G energy labels from the white goods they buy for their home. The introduction of Part L 2010 will see the requirement for a Window Energy Rating rise from an 'E' rating to a minimum 'C' rating. This, however, is widely expected to increase to a mandatory 'A' rating in 2016 as the construction industry moves ever closer to the end goal of zero carbon buildings.

The new regulations will also remove what we like to think of as the 'get out of jail card' that has made it possible for fabricators to comply to the 2006 regulations by simply supplying a window that has a glass centre pane value of 1.2 W/m2K. Under the new regulations this is likely to be allowed only in exceptional circumstances, for example where the choice of frame is restricted, such as in conservation areas. It should be noted that there are two main routes to compliance for the new Part L legislation, Window Energy Ratings and the 'U' Value, both of which have been revised in these latest regulations.

Cost effective certification These changes certainly mark an important step change for the window industry and it's not surprising that many view them as a challenge. However, while we appreciate there are concerns, we believe this is an ideal opportunity to bring some clarity to window performance and to drive up standards across the board. That's why at Blyweert Beaufort we are doing all we can to help our customers meet these new stringent regulations with practical, cost effective support.

We started designing and testing products with A to C ratings well before the new mandatory requirements were confirmed and now have schemes in place to fast track our customers to compliance if their product and manufacturing methods meet the new standards. Having our own in-house BFRC certified simulators also means that our fabricators can save the time and cost of outsourcing simulations. Indeed, to date we have conducted thousands of simulations with a variety of frame configurations, low-e glazing and warm edge spacer technology to ensure that we are able to provide off the shelf data using glass specifications from leading suppliers.

Competitive advantage

Many of Blyweert Beaufort customers are already reaping the benefits of being BFRC registered and more of our users are joining the scheme all the time. Our pioneering 'A' rated windows from the Beaufort Range already more than exceed Part L 2010 requirements using a double glazed unit. This outstanding performance gives aluminium systems, and our customers, a highly competitive selling advantage in today's difficult trading conditions. And whilst an 'A' rating is easily achievable, the system's flexibility also offers a range of B and C rated windows, providing a cost effective and fully compliant option ahead of the new building regulations.

Driving up standards

Part L 2010 will introduce robust energy performance requirements across all building components and reflects the growing trend towards more sustainable building. Aluminium already scores highly on green credentials, being a fully recyclable material and having a long life cycle, and Blyweert Beaufort has enhanced these benefits with pioneering products that set new standards in thermal efficiency, durability and security. We continue to work in partnership with other leading manufacturers involved in pushing the boundaries of window energy performance through the latest warm edge spacer technology, such as Edgetech, and by groundbreaking low emissivity glazing developments from companies like Pikington and Saint-Gobain. We have always actively supported government initiatives to bring down carbon emissions, such as Act on CO2 and the Energy Savings Trust, and we will continue to drive up sustainability in the products that we design and the way in which they are manufactured.

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