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