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Buying a conservatory? – Roof glazing choices

Buying a conservatory? – Roof glazing choices

It would be true to say that the early models, temperatures could fluctuate wildly. The biggest culprit, when it comes to letting heat in and out, was the glass or roof glazing. Our first conservatories were built with 16mm twin wall polycarbonate, a very poor insulator.  The good news was that it allowed in lots of lovely light; the bad news was that it not only draws in heat during the summer, turning the conservatory into a sauna, but it also let heat out in winter, turning it into a freezer.

All too aware of this, the glass industry has spent the past three decades trying to solve the heat-light dilemma. You can now buy glass panes filled with the dense but invisible gas argon, making it more difficult for either warm or cold air to pass through. As well as this low e coatings play an important role in insulation. What exactly is low-e glass? To answer this question the “e” in low-e glass needs explaining. The “e” stands for emissivity; this is the ability of the glass to radiate heat. To reduce this, the coatings have been developed to lower the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through the glass without significantly altering the amount of visible light. Solar control options can also control the glare, there are many types including bronze, green and blue. The final option on the roof glazing is “self-cleaning glass” a good product but personally I think the tag “self-cleaning” can mislead people slightly. You will still need to clean your conservatory!

To summarize glazing today, it is much better than when we started in business. The better insulated glass reduces “the green-house effect” on conservatories considerably making easier to heat in the winter and cooler in the summer. It is worth saying at this stage that a conservatory that sits in the height of the summer sun all day without being ventilated would still get warm!

New products to the roofing market include the new Ultraframe LivinROOF. This roof replacement system was the first on the market to combine solid and glazed roofing seamlessly. The great feature of LivinROOF is that it can incorporate one, or a number of glazed panels that allows daylight to penetrate deep into your room, making the space instantly brighter, the remaining roof sections are manufactured from highly insulated aluminium panels. The internal space is stunning; it can deliver a plastered vaulted ceiling or the option of a suspended ceiling to match the ceiling height from the adjoining room in some cases. The U value is a measure of how well a material serves to minimise heat loss, with a lower number indicating a better performing product. Typical polycarbonate conservatories range from 2.4w m/2k to 1.5w m/2k in U value, depending on the thickness of the material. A value of 1.0w m/2k is seen as desirable for keeping the room cool in summer and warm in winter, this can just about be achieved with modern double glazed units. The LivinROOF has a U value of just 0.18w m/2k, making it an incredibly efficient choice when it comes to minimising the energy requirements of your home.

More information can be found on our Conservatory page(s)

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