Rising energy costs and a growing awareness of sustainability have contributed to greater attention being paid to a building’s energy performance. Energy performance standards, established and often made stricter by regulation, are indirectly an important driving force behind the increase in the comfort levels of buildings. Michel Van Put, product manager at Reynaers Aluminium, agrees that comfort often develops from technological innovations which focus on efficient energy use. ‘In thermal insulation we have reached a limit for U-values at Passive house level, well under 1.0 W/m²k. The high insulation value of our systems is indeed a very important aspect, but it is also important to pay attention to ventilation, solar control and airtight building connections. The combination of these aspects makes it possible to maintain a comfortable climate directly behind a large glass façade, regardless of it being freezing or too hot outside.’
It is still possible to achieve gains in terms of improving the air-tightness and water-tightness of windows, sliding windows, and doors. Comfort is associated on the one hand with a feeling of well-being and on the other hand with convenience. These two are combined in the innovations and improvements to the Reynaers system sills and thresholds, which meet the highest standards of air- and water-tightness, even when the thresholds are very low. Van Put says, ‘Schools, hospitals, and public buildings in particular must meet high standards for easy accessibility. Reynaers makes sills and thresholds for various systems which meet the relevant European norms, which permit a maximum height of 18 millimetres. In specific systems we have even achieved the stricter British norm, which dictates a maximum height of 15 millimetres. These low threshold solutions give us the opportunity to meet the requirements for easy accessibility in almost all circumstances and particularly in renovations where it is not always possible to adjust the substructure of the floor’.