A-Rated Windows, Who Do They Really Benefit?
I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me they know what’s best for me, I instinctively reach down and check that my wallet is still in my pocket. When it’s a double glazing salesman, I check that I still have a pocket.
I was reading a post by The Double Glazing Blogger about the effect that the introduction of BFRC A-Rated Windows has had on the window industry.
He argues that prior to the introduction of the BFRC Windows Energy Rating scheme (WERs), fabricators and installers were forced to differentiate themselves and their products by such mundane things as quality, aesthetics, security, customer service and, of course, price.
He welcomes the introduction of WERs because it has allowed a “stagnant” industry to increase profit margins.
There is a good deal of confusion within the industry surrounding the scheme. It is not an absolute measure of performance, but a relative comparison. It is proposed to be the only measure which will be used in the revised Part L Building Regulations due to come into force in October 2010.
For a light-hearted take on WERs there is a quiz on Renegade Conservatory Guy’s Blog. Another guest post by Kevin Ahern shows the lengths he has gone to to try and understand the rating scheme. He concludes with this statement:
“Ask yourself a question. Low iron glass, why ? Is this marvelous UV transparent product such a benefit to our society that we have long neglected it at our cost? Or is it just another gimmick to scrape a few more theoretical numbers on to our colourful pieces of paper?
Are we as an industry doing our bit to help James Strawbridge save the planet? Are we as an industry helping the government with the building regs 2010 Part L implementation?
Or, as some may argue, is the window industry taking the Mick out of Mr Strawbridge, the building regs, you and me, and worst of all, the consumer?”
Is there really a payback for the homeowner from improving the thermal performance of their home? Studies carried out in New Zealand suggest that there isn’t. Energy use in previously cold homes which had been retro-fitted with insulation was shown to be higher than in a group of uninsulated homes. Apparently, the homeowners enjoyed having a warmer home, and wanted to keep it that way.
So, with the double glazing industry selling A-Rated windows at a higher margin, the claimed payback from energy savings, and reduced carbon emmissions not likely to be realised, the question remains. Who do they really benefit?