Glass steps up to the challenge presented by conservatory roofs
2009, june. 10
Conservatories were once just a luxurious add-on, somewhere we could bring the outside in. Now, with greater demands placed on smaller properties, we want to keep the outside out and to be able to use the conservatory all year round. Susan Lambeth, Senior Product Manager at Saint-Gobain Glass explains how glass suppliers are keeping up with the changing trends.
Conservatories were once too cold to use in the winter, and too warm in the summer, but that was fine - we were happy with our little boxes with polycarbonate roofs attached to the back of our homes. Then, as materials improved, we realised that our conservatories could offer so much more, and customers started demanding conservatories that could look as smart as the rest of the property and withstand more of the temperature fluctuations that we experience in this country.
As interest and knowledge about energy efficiency and carbon emissions heightened, so did homeowners' expectations of their humble conservatories; except they weren't quite so humble. As property prices increased, and the ability to move to bigger and more expensive properties was restricted, homeowners started improving their homes. As a result, conservatories were viewed as an extension to the home rather than a luxurious add-on.
Glass in this instance has played a major role on the development of the conservatory as a year-round room. Glass is available that will help to maintain the temperature of the conservatory, avoiding the pitfalls of a winter freezer, or a summer sauna.
Therefore, Saint-Gobain developed
SGG PLANITHERM 4S, a glass that reflects more of the sun's heat-carrying waves, and has improved U-values, thereby keeping the conservatory cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The glass also has a neutral appearance, so that homeowners views aren't affected by the haze associated with on-line coatings. This makes SGG PLANITHERM 4S ideal for conservatory walls, making it stand apart from other products in this field.
However, in the last three to four years in particular, the popularity of glass in conservatory roofs has taken off, which is fantastic for the glass industry, but it does present significant challenges. The three main problems are glare, noise and cleanliness, all of which can hamper the enjoyment of the conservatory.
Saint-Gobain has developed products for all these ailments, which can be used in conjunction with SGG PLANITHERM 4S to provide the best solution for conservatories.
SGG COOL-LITE ST has been designed to reduce the sun's glare, making it particularly useful for conservatory roofs. While light is unaffected by haze,
SGG COOL-LITE ST reduces the sun's glare, and contributes towards reducing the heat build-up in the conservatory. That way, when the sun comes out, you are not reaching for blinds which would block out the very scenery you had paid to look at in the first place. The external blue tint also looks attractive, even on overcast days.
Saint-Gobain has also developed SGG COOL-LITE ST further, so that it also comes with Saint-Gobain's famous self-cleaning coating. Called SGG BIOCLEAN COOL-LITE ST, conservatory owners can relax, knowing that their roofs aren't suffering from an unsightly build-up of grime that the window cleaner is reluctant to access and remove. The SGG BIOCLEAN coating is fully integrated into the surface of the glass, which means that it is durable and will last the lifetime of the roof. It works in two ways. First, the organic matter in the window dirt starts to decompose with help from the sun's rays, which also makes the surface of the glass hydrophilic. This means rainwater will "sheet" down the window (rather than forming droplets), washing the dirt away.