The use of aluminium in the housing and commercial segments of the South African market is growing, reports South African window manufacturer Duro national contracts manager Barry Sacks.
More consumers are increasingly realising the benefits and long-term savings offered by aluminium products.
Sacks explains that aluminium is easier to handle and provides virtually unlimited potential for innovative design features, which are not always achievable with wood and steel, explains Sacks.
Moreover, owing to its aesthetic appeal, it is highly sought after by all sectors of the building industry. The clincher, however, is that aluminium is consistently anodised or powder coated, which enables it to withstand the impact of external elements such as heat, wind, rain and salt spray, making it ideal for coastal conditons and rendering a long-lasting high-quality look and feel.
Sacks also notes that alu- minium boasts notable energy efficient properties that are inherent to aluminium. The products are manufactured in high volumes, which ultimately reduce Duro’s carbon footprint. Further, the use of 4 mm and 5 mm glass, compared with 3 mm and 4 mm, also has some energy efficiency advantages.
The scale of demand in South Africa shows that the energy-saving properties of thermal, double-glazed units are yet to be appreciated as in markets abroad. The domestic housing market has not recognised it either and the use of the material in government buildings, such as airports and hospitals, is limited.
Sacks explains that the changeover to aluminium will be relatively easy as it is within the existing manufacturers’ capabilities. “We have increased the awareness of consumers with regard to the possible use of energy-saving glass. These products are not only more readily available, but also technically far superior to previously made performance glass.”
The durability, design, quality and superior finishes have all contributed to making alu- minium products the material of choise for building. Futher, the low maintenance alu- minium requires and its value for money have also contributed to growth in the use of the metal.
Aluminium and glass products are the number one choice in light commercial development and, over the past three years, the use of these products has grown significantly in the housing market, adds Sacks.
As an industry, a great number of new initiatives in respect of sustainability and energy saving, such as thermal efficiency, are under way. For one, new performance glass is being developed, while, for the first time, a South African aluminium extrusion company is offering a thermal, insulated range.
The drive to improve products to conform to better performance expectations will undoubt- ably have a positive effect on consumers’ future choice of windows, reports Duro chief sales and marketing manager John Lamb.