MANAGING SOLAR GAINS

 

It would be reasonable to assume that an increase in glazing in new dwellings and buildings would improve the amount of natural light entering the space.  The challenge arises when solar gains in the summer are factored in.

 

Combating Solar Gains

The current Part L1A (Conservation of Fuel and Power in New Dwellings) addresses limiting the effects of solar gains in summer.  ‘Solar gains are beneficial in winter to offset demand for heating, but can contribute to overheating in summer.  The effects of solar gain in summer can be limited by an appropriate combination of window size and orientation, solar protection through shading and other solar control measures, ventilation (day and night) and high thermal capacity.’

Part L1A

Part L1A also recognises, when seeking to limit solar gains, ‘…consideration should be given to provision of adequate levels of daylight.’  Yet, Building Regulations in England do not specify a minimum daylight requirement.  Instead, the BS 8206-2 Code of Practice for Daylighting recognises that good lighting goes beyond achieving minimum illumination for task performance

 

It’s fair to say, it’s a balancing act.

 

Balancing Performance & Light

Reducing the window area of a new dwelling is one of the suggestions for limiting solar gains in summer yet it has ‘…conflicting impacts on the predicted CO2 emissions: reduced solar gain but increased use of electric lighting.  As a general guide, if the area of glazing is much less than 20 per cent of the total floor area, some parts of the dwelling may experience poor levels of daylight, resulting in increased use of electric lighting.’

 

With Part L focussed on lighting methods and delivering efficiencies through design, it would be easy to think that new build homes across the UK are in a no-win situation – having to compromise on the number and size of windows (glazed areas) in order to limit solar gain while still providing a happy, healthy living space.

 

Letting in around twice as much light than vertical glazing, and up to three times as much as dormer windows, rooflights are a popular solution.

 

Let there be Light

The National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM) states that ‘…the glazing is pointing directly at the light source with very little diffused or reflected light.  Consequently, rooflights and roof windows can supply a great deal more daylight into the heart of the home thereby illuminating areas that might otherwise be quite dark.’

 

Making a room feel bright and airy, rooflights can help cut the cost of energy bills by reducing the demand for electric lighting.  And of course, the greater the rooflight area, the greater the potential savings.

 

NARM reports that ‘ the amount of energy needed to light a building artificially is often much greater than the amount of energy used to heat it, and is often the greatest single energy use in operating the building.’  The impact is both financial and environmental with ‘…electricity used for lighting being more expensive in terms of CO2 than gas used for heating.

 

Rooflights are particularly beneficial when designing a new build extension where the vertical windows have been removed.  Rooflights allow daylight to penetrate further into the building, illuminating areas that would otherwise be gloomy.

 

When addressing solar gains, the location and orientation of the dwelling must be considered during the planning stage, to assess the shading benefits of neighbouring buildings and trees.  This will also help determine the best position for the rooflight.

 

Glazing Options

Many rooflight manufacturers combat the issue of solar gains through high performance glazing, with suppliers offering a wide variety of glass options including coated and uncoated.  Solar control glass, for example, can help retain heat in cooler months, with a leading glass manufacturer achieving a thermal insulation U-value of 1.0 Wm2K.

 

While coatings can sometimes change the colour inside the building, there are options which are neutral in appearance and have low internal reflection.  Both of these factors help to give a clearer view to the outside.

 

Self-cleaning glass is now widely specified and is a popular choice for vertical and roof windows, conservatories and rooflights.  A unique coating breaks down the organic matter and even works on cloudy days and at night.  Some glass manufacturers also combine self-cleaning properties with solar control performance.

 

Benefit from Experienced Rooflight Manufacturers

All too often, rooflights are ordered within a few clicks but the UK rooflight industry has so much more to offer than a quick-buy on the internet.  With several rooflight companies starting as early as the mid-sixties and seventies, there’s a lot be gained from working with an established rooflight expert, not least the experience and knowledge to help realise the benefits of natural light in the built environment.

 

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HOWELLS DUO AWARDED CHARTERED MANAGEMENT STATUS

Members of the Howells Patent Glazing management team have successfully completed a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) development training programme, achieving the highest professional status within management.

 

Business development manager, Tracey Jackson and HR and finance manager, Deborah Willetts have been awarded Fellowship of Chartered Management status.

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Ventilating Your Home

During the summer months it’s easy to throw the windows open and let fresh air flood into your home. But once the outdoor temperatures start to drop, how do you weigh up the importance of ventilation versus heating costs?

 

Firstly, why is ventilation important? According to Allergy UK, there are around 9,000 deaths a year in the UK attributed to indoor air pollution which can be 2-10 times higher than outdoor air. Dust mites, cleaning products, building and furniture materials in the home can aggravate certain conditions so it is important to minimise the risks posed by poor indoor air quality.

 

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HOWELLS LAUNCHES NEW GLASS RAFTER ROOFLIGHT

Howells Patent Glazing is pleased to announce the launch of its new glass rafter roof light, Ultraline.

Designed to maximise daylight, Ultraline offers architects and specifiers the freedom to use larger expanses of glass.  Each joint is supported by a glass rafter, or fin, which reinforces the structure without breaking the sightline.

 

The low-pitch aluminium roof light is non-intrusive and typically measures 2.4 metres long and 1.2 metres wide.  However, as each roof light is designed and made to order, specifiers can increase the width and depth to suit the application.  Loadings are calculated by an independent glass consultant.

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HOWELLS LAUNCHES NEW GLASS RAFTER ROOFLIGHT

Howells Patent Glazing is pleased to announce the launch of its new glass rafter rooflight, Ultraline which was unveiled at FIT Show 2019.  Designed to maximise daylight, Ultraline allows for larger expanses of glass.  Each joint is supported by a glass rafter, or fin, which reinforces the structure without breaking the sightline.

 

The low-pitch aluminium rooflight is non-intrusive and typically measures 2.4 metres long and 1.2 metres wide, ideal for the average house extension, at around three to four metres.  However, as each rooflight is designed and made to order, customers can increase the width and depth to suit the application.  Loadings are calculated by an independent glass consultant.

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Good service: Is it always the staff to blame?

What makes good service? The key to good customer service is building good relationships with your customers. Thanking the customer and promoting a positive, helpful and friendly environment will ensure they leave with a great impression. A happy customer will return often and is likely to spend more.

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SORRY, THE COFFEE MACHINE IS BROKEN… AGAIN

The café was the place to be, beautiful and homely. The staff whisked dirty plates and cups off tables with smiles that were contagious. The queue was small and always shrinking and the man at the counter was happily laughing with each customer, maintaining eye contact yet never seeming intrusive. The café was the place to be.

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Do they really value us?

Spending money is easier than earning it and Customer service plays a huge part when splashing your hard earned money. We all want to be treated with kindness and made to feel like a valued customer when we buy products from businesses , after all money doesn’t grow on trees and we spend precious time and our energy on earning it. Find out if your custom is appreciated or not…

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Does this sound like good service to you?

Service should not be discriminative, we should all be treated like royalty when we spend our hard earned cash. We’ve reviewed these two services and here’s what we found about company standards in Britain.

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The Light House Project….. buying a new house

 

I am in the process of buying a new house, or ‘the light house project’ as I like to call it. It should be an exciting time I know, but the process is more likely to make you bald than happy. What is it that makes us fall in love with a house and want to go through those miserable months of endless paperwork, clearouts and chasing?

 

25 is probably about the number of houses I viewed before deciding on ‘the one’. There were about a dozen factors taken into consideration from location to loos but one relevant to our business was daylight.

 

I discounted numerous potential homes because of the lack of daylight. Think of the phrases we use like ‘a light, bright airy home’ for example. It’s not just simply the amount of light let in, but a feeling that affects our mood and behaviour. We think of a bright room as cleaner, happier and more welcoming.

 

Studies have even shown the positive effects of natural daylight on hospital patients, decreasing their recovery time. Also education settings – children score better in tests when they have been taught in schools with higher levels of daylight. Even shopping malls can be more profitable with more natural daylight, lifting the mood of its many shoppers.

 

For those of you about to sell a dark house with a north facing garden……I wish you luck. Maybe stick in a rooflight or 2 to boost your chances of selling!

 

References

 

Hathaway et all 1992 A Study into the Effects of Light on Children of Elementary School-Age–A Case of Daylight Robbery

Man Young Park et al 2018 The Effects of Natural Daylight on Length of Hospital Stay

Choi et al, 2012 Impacts of indoor daylight environments on patient average length of stay (ALOS) in a healthcare facility.

Heschong et al, 2013 Daylighting Impacts on Retail Sales Performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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