Tried and trusted

Fletcher Alu­minium and the prod­ucts and brands it pro­duces have been house­hold names in New Zealand for over 50 years.

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When you con­sider the term ‘ranch slider’ was coined by Lou Fisher of the Fisher brand from Fletcher Alu­minium, you get a sense of the longevity and ex­pe­ri­ence of the com­pany.

It’s a pioneer in the field – from stylish res­i­den­tial join­ery to the gi­ant dou­ble-skinned fa­cades seen on to­day’s com­mer­cial build­ings.

“Peo­ple like a ther­mally com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment, day­light, fresh air and ven­til­i­a­tion. Peo­ple who run the build­ing like not to be pay­ing a for­tune for en­ergy.”

So says Ruth Wil­liams, a façade en­gi­neer at Fletcher, although her com­ments ap­ply to both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial sit­u­a­tions.

Wil­liams says the com­pany takes a holis­tic ap­proach to com­mer­cial build­ing, with ‘liv­ing, breath­ing’ façades act­ing as the ‘skin’ of the build­ing. “An ef­fec­tive façade can pro­vide a ‘green en­ve­lope’ to a com­mer­cial build­ing, with huge im­pacts on the en­ergy re­quired to run it.”

Wil­liams cites ex­am­ples she has worked on where the en­ergy costs of heat­ing and cool­ing build­ings were re­duced by a third through the in­cor­po­ra­tion of an ef­fec­tive façade. In New Zealand around half of the en­ergy costs of run­ning a com­mer­cial build­ing are for heat­ing and cool­ing. With glass façades a com­mon fea­ture, the ef­fect of out­door tem­per­a­ture and so­lar gain from di­rect sun­shine onto the glass is crit­i­cal, which is why fu­ture-proof de­sign for out­door cli­mate and en­ergy pric­ing is care­fully con­sid­ered.

Wil­liams is a Green Star Prac­ti­tioner trained by the New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil, the or­gan­i­sa­tion which awards rat­ings to build­ings around New Zealand ac­cord­ing to their sus­tain­abil­ity. She brings this re­source to Oak­ley In­sid­e­out, the holis­tic, so­lu­tion-based façade de­sign ser­vice at Fletcher Alu­minium. Their build­ing per­for­mance ex­pe­ri­ence and com­pu­ta­tional sim­u­la­tion tech­niques help to ad­vise on the best so­lu­tions for each build­ing and each façade.

On the res­i­den­tial front, much work is be­ing done to make win­dows and doors even more ef­fec­tive at reg­u­lat­ing tem­per­a­ture and air­flow, through the in­tro­duc­tion of a num­ber of in­no­va­tions.

David Burggraaf, head of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, win­dows and doors, says when it comes to stop­ping the heat from ei­ther en­ter­ing your home (sum­mer) or leav­ing (win­ter), dou­ble glaz­ing is the most ef­fec­tive op­tion, par­tic­u­larly if the glass type is specif­i­cally cho­sen and in­cludes a low emis­siv­ity coat­ing (low-e) and the space be­tween the panes is filled with Ar­gon – an in­ert gas. These care­ful se­lec­tions con­trib­ute to min­imis­ing the trans­fer of heat or cold through the win­dows and doors. “Fletcher Alu­minium has also de­vel­oped the Pa­cific Ther­mal Suite which has a ther­mally bro­ken alu­minium frame, where a polyamide bar­rier re­duces the amount of ther­mal trans­fer through the win­dow frame. This tech­nol­ogy, along with bet­ter glass se­lec­tions, can see a win­dow per­form up to 59% bet­ter than stan­dard dou­ble glazed win­dows,” says Burggraaf.

“Cou­ple this with smart pas­sive ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems which pro­vide full se­cu­rity, and doors and win­dows can play their part in the main­te­nance of a healthy home.”

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