Driving Excellence During Shifting Energy Rating Landscapes in Fenestration

June 26, 2024

Our Product Engineer, Kirsten Moore, joined VEKA’s Technical Department in 2019 and shortly afterwards became a registered BFRC simulator. Her dedication and expertise have significantly contributed to cost saving for our customers, surpassing £100,000 collectively.

BFRC Simulation Challenges

Kirsten acknowledges the challenges of being one of approximately 40 BFRC simulators in the industry. Despite the demanding nature of the role, she takes pride in the extra service she provides. Each report, depending on the information received, can take up to four hours to complete. Kirsten can receive requests ranging from one or two simulations to as many as 50, showcasing her commitment to supporting our customers.

Continuous Learning and Industry Collaboration

In the ever-evolving fenestration industry, Kirsten emphasises the importance of continuous growth and learning.

“I’ve been lucky and extremely grateful to receive some of my coaching from well-known industry names in Dr Gary Morgan and Paul Kennington, and always keep them in reach for help and guidance using their wealth and knowledge and experience. It’s been great to collaborate to tackle the many hurdles faced with energy ratings in recent months.”

Calculation Method Challenges

Kirsten highlights recent issues stemming from changes in the calculation methods affecting Energy Ratings. 

“The calculation method for low emissivity coatings on glazing, which came into effect in 2020, saw the allowable tolerance in the coating moved from 2% to 1%. This may not seem like a lot, and was a change initially supported by the glazing companies. However, this resulted in the glazing g-value changing by 1 to 2 points, negatively affecting the energy rating index.” 

“Energy ratings work across bandings, the index dropping by just one point can result in a drop in banding – something we have seen regularly with recent simulations. A lot of our customers ratings are in the bottom 2 – 3 index points of each band: knocking 2 points off dur to a change in g-value could drop the overall rating from an A+ to A to a B, and in some cases from a B to a C.”

BFRC Guidelines and Spacer/Sealant Challenges

Another significant challenge in the industry is related to BFRC guidelines, particularly regarding the use of spacers and sealants. Kirsten explains:

“The reviewed guidelines have deemed to no longer accept the use of butyl as the secondary seal unless there is evidence from the manufacturer, and it is confirmed by a UKAS accredited house. When calculating energy ratings, we obtain the spacer bar values from the bundesverband-flachglas website which is recognised and used across the industry. All the values listed are calculated using polysulphide as the secondary sealant, as per the guidance from IFT Rosenheim. However, the guidance also states that alternatives may be calculated using the methods described in EN 10077, this includes butyl, but the BFRC will not accept this and require manufacturer evidence.”

“Further conversations with other accredited scheme providers confirm they will still accept the switch to butyl as it is commonly used in the glazing industry and brings benefits to the ratings. This will mean that the same product will calculate with a different energy rating depending on the scheme provider used.”

“Following a recent push for licence renewals reaching their five-year expiration, customers are now feeling the effects of the above changes on their ratings. We want to confirm that our products and profile ratings have not changes, but this is the everchanging landscape of calculation methods, regulations and various councils and governing bodies. We are here to support our customers in every way we can and will continue to monitor the schemes available to ensure our customers remain market leaders with VEKA UK profiles.” 

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