Q&A With Internorm

July 11, 2023

With our impact on the environment being at the forefront of our minds, we are thrilled to be working with some fantastic companies who care about sustainability and climate change as much as we do. In this feature, we chat to Andy Sykes from the commercial team at Internorm. Internorm provide high performance, design-led window and door systems in all our Acorn properties, here we talk innovation, thermal efficiency and Passivhaus glazing technologies.

Can you tell us about what Internorm and Acorn relationship and how long you’ve worked with us?

Internorm have been working with Acorn for around five years, and we now have nine projects together, either complete or ongoing, across the Bristol, Exeter, Cornwall and London regions.  Our first project with Acorn was Cubis Bruton in 2018, and we were brought onboard to help deliver Acorn’s ‘Fabric First’ approach to building higher-performing new homes.  This novel approach means that Acorn’s homebuyers can be confident that their new home will perform at the very best it can, in terms of thermal comfort, both now and in the future, with the associated benefits of a reduction in overall running costs. Internorm and Acorn make a really strong partnership, as our brand values are very well aligned.  Both companies are always striving to be better, and always trying to differentiate ourselves from the competition, whilst also being extremely mindful to tread lightly on the planet, and keep sustainability at the forefront of everything we do.  It’s extremely important to me personally, and to Internorm that we work with like-minded customers.

What are the benefits to using Internorm windows in a home?

As the world-leader in Passivhaus glazing technologies, Internorm ensure that each and every window, door and sliding door within its range has the very best performance on the market in terms of being a thermal barrier.  This means, that in colder climates (like ours in Northern Europe), the cold is kept where it should be – outside the building, and therefore the heating demand to keep the occupants at a comfortable temperature year-round is reduced, meaning lower bills.  The same is true for our clients in warmer climes, albeit the other way round, keeping the hot air out of the building, and reducing both the cost-impact and environmental impact of running active cooling, for example, an air-conditioning system.  As we use triple glazing as standard in all our products to achieve this thermal performance, we also provide the additional benefits this gives, such as better acoustic performance, which as more and more people transition to a flexible way of working from their homes, can be a huge side benefit.

What’s the average U-value of Internorm double and triple glazed windows vs the minimum standard?

As much the rest of the glazing industry is still manufacturing double glazed windows, Internorm likes to do things a bit differently.  In fact, Internorm has been making triple glazed windows since 1979 and 99% of the 1 million+ windows and doors that leave our high-tech Austrian factories every year are now supplied with our standard 48mm thick triple glazed sealed unit. We have seen an enormous shift towards higher performing glazing over the last ten years, and so the reality is that we now don’t really offer a double glazed option in the vast majority of our products.  Our triple glazed products have a U-value (remember lower is better) of between 0.7 and 0.85 W/(m²K), whereas the UK regulations (only updated in June 2022) still state that a U-value of 1.4 W/(m²K) is sufficient.  With glass areas becoming ever larger on our homes, largely to improve the quality of life that bringing additional light can deliver, and with the windows normally being the least well performing element of the building’s structure, we believe that both the UK government and the UK housing market needs to make a shift even further on minimum U-values, to below 1.0 W/(m²K).

 

How much can Internorm windows save in energy in an average year, over and above minimum standard?

This is very subjective, and depends on an awful lot of different factors.  When using Internorm windows as part of a Fabric First or even Passivhaus approach to construction, the figures can be quite incredible.  We have been lucky enough to work on some projects in the UK, for example, where the heating demand of the property is Zero.  Nothing at all.  Tested and verified across the course of a number of years.  But, as a rule of thumb, on a new build property and in combination with some good building principles and practices, versus a standard double glazed window, we would expect over 50% energy saving by using Internorm’s Passivhaus-suitable glazing.  And of course, with all these things, every little helps, and small changes in the ways in which we approach building can add up to much larger cumulative benefits.

 

Do your windows have any additional features?

Internorm windows come with many features, but features aren’t much use on their own, so we concentrate very much on benefits for the homeowner instead.  Just as an example, take our options for integrated shading –  a blind system integrated within the window.

 

The features of this system are:

1) It has a blind within the window panes

2) It has a small solar panel included with our I-tec Shading option, which means it can gather its own energy from the sun

3) It has an openable glass pane which allows access to the blind

 

The benefits of these features are:

1) You get shading from the sun, and full privacy, without having to compromise on having fresh air.  As the blind is within the window panes, it won’t rattle in the breeze and is protected from rain, dust and dirt.

2) Without the need for any wiring (I-tec Shading option), you can have a blind which is controlled from your smartphone or tablet, which can close or open depending on time of day or weather conditions, and which doesn’t cost anything to run

3) You are able to clean the blind, or change the colour or type of blind in future without having to change the entire glazing unit

 

Some of the other innovations we’ve brought to market in the last few years include our ECLAZ® glass coating, which is standard on all Internorm windows and doors and gives the optimum combination of light transmission and solar gain.  The most secure locking mechanism in the world, the patented ‘I-tec Secure’ (which is specified on windows at Rolle Gardens and St Leonard’s Quarter).  Integrated glass Juliet Balustrades (as specified on The Old Printworks), and now automatic sliding doors which open and close at the push of a button!

 

Internorm is passionate about innovation, meaning that when it comes to exciting new features, with real quality of life benefits for the homeowner, Internorm is always a step ahead.

 

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