The thermal efficiency of aluminium framework
Energy efficiency is an essential consideration for all construction projects, now more than ever with the effort to reduce climate change and carbon footprint. When it comes to buildings whether they are residential or commercial, doors, windows, and frameworks are key contributors to heat loss and high energy costs, so choosing the right material is extremely important. In this article, we will be exploring the impressive thermal efficiency of an aluminium framework and why aluminium fabrication is so important in maintaining thermal efficiency.
Why does thermal efficiency matter?
Thermal efficiency and the performance of framework is important in two ways: high thermal efficiency will help to save money on energy bills thanks to less heat escaping and, as mentioned above it reduces carbon footprint by keeping a building warmer, so the heating doesn’t need to be on as much. Equally, the thermal performance of aluminium windows and doors can be beneficial in the summer too by preventing heat from getting in, so the property can be kept at a reasonable temperature no matter the season.
Explaining R and U values
You might have already heard of R and U values as they play a key role in measuring the energy efficiency of both windows and doors. If you can’t decide which materials to use on a project the R and U values could be the influencing factor as the better the measurements, the more energy efficient the finished product will be. All parts of a product can be given these values so you can fairly compare aluminium with other materials like uPVC or timber.
The difference between a U-value and an R-value is a U-value measures how good the product is at stopping heat from escaping. So, the lower the U-value is the less heat that has been lost and the better the efficiency is. By contrast the R-value comes from things like the type and thickness of the material and ultimately measures to what degree the material can prevent heat loss. Therefore, in the case of R-values, the higher the number the better.
U-value is the most important measurement with the legal requirement being 1.6 W/(m2K) or below when new windows are being installed onto an existing building. High quality aluminium frames will almost always have a U-value that is less than this.
How important is the framework for saving energy?
The type of glass you use can make a significant difference to how thermally efficient your finished product is. Even though it might not seem like it because it is a smaller area than the glass and its main function is providing structural integrity, the frame is just as important in aluminium fabrication door designs and windows for maintaining heat.
Aluminium frames on windows and doors are fairly new to the market and haven’t always had the best reputation for thermal efficiency, especially in comparison to materials that have always been widely used like wood. However, time and advancements in technology have led to aluminium being fabricated in a way that achieves and even exceeds the standard for energy efficiency and is a much more cost-effective option than its timber counterparts.
This is thanks to a process called thermal breaking which utilises a resin filled channel and placing a reinforced polyamide bar in between the aluminium profiles to form an insulated wall in the framework. As a result, temperature and sound will escape at a much slower rate than with normal aluminium.
Other benefits of aluminium
As well as modern aluminium fabrication leading to high levels of thermal efficiency, the metal has many other properties and benefits that make it ideal for use in windows and doors. The most valued examples include its reduced cost (particularly when compared to market alternatives), its sustainability and easy recyclability that benefits the environment, and its overall strength and durability which is useful not only against various weather conditions and corrosion but also helps with security and making it more difficult for a building to be broken into.
You can find out more about the benefits of aluminium, particularly in relation to windows and doors, in one of our other guides. Click here to learn more.
Aluminium is one of the best materials on the market for thermal efficiency thanks to the fabrication work that goes into it to make it that way. If you’re looking for the highest quality aluminium fabrication services for your next project, our team at FEM can help. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and learn more about what we can do for you with our bespoke fabrication processes.