LABM speaks to NorDan UK, manufacturer of aluminium-clad timber windows and doors, about the urgent need for low-carbon building products in social housing and how the company’s products provide the ideal solution.
With the UK now committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the requirement for all social housing to meet EPC level C by 2030, discussions have been raging around how these ambitious targets will be achieved.
Around 230 local authorities have declared a climate emergency, meaning they are taking their own actions to reduce carbon emissions now for the future. Within social housing, there is a growing belief that part of the solution lies in shifting focus to consider not only the operational carbon produced during the life of buildings, but also the embodied carbon of the buildings themselves.
This is where timber, which captures and stores CO₂ over its lifetime, presents a fantastic solution to materials with carbon-intensive production processes, such as plastics and metals. There is already increasing use of structural timber frames for new-builds and in the same vein, the relatively recent innovation of Cross-Laminated Timber is being eyed-up for many projects.
Providing the same low-embodied carbon advantages, timber fenestration manufactured from sustainable sources has also been seeing a serious increase in specification among projects. As well as providing environmental benefits, maintenance is no longer an issue when timber windows and doors are clad with powder-coated aluminium flashing.
For Norwegian window and door manufacturer, NorDan, the drivers mentioned above present the opportunity for their robust, Alu-clad timber windows to shine within the social housing market. From their base in Livingston, NorDan UK has a reputation spanning coastal residential projects to high-profile housing developments in London, Manchester and beyond.
NorDan’s products — such as its highly weather-resistant StormGuard window — make for an ideal choice for social housing specifiers looking to deliver on embodied carbon targets, as well as low overall lifetime cost thanks to the low maintenance requirement of the company’s Alu-clad products. For instance, NorDan StormGuard windows were installed in the Castle Court building in Sheffield in 1990 and have required minimal external maintenance in the 30 years since. The 60+ year life expectancy of NorDan’s windows means these will easily last another 30 years.
This is something that the company’s Senior Manager Strategic Sales, Mike Stevenson, believes makes them stand out from the crowd, offering a perfect solution for development and asset managers seeking a low-maintenance product with embodied carbon credentials to match.
Focus on sustainability
“For myself and the wider organisation at NorDan UK, doing our bit to address the climate emergency continues to be at the core of what we do. Over its near 100-years, the NorDan Group has strived to minimise the environmental impact of its products and align itself with new-build and refurbishment projects that focus on sustainability and high energy efficiency; something reflected in the exceptional U-values of our windows and sustainable timber production at the heart of our business,” says Mike.
The challenge, Mike says, will be to overcome the misinformation and lack of knowledge surrounding timber as a building material: “The timber in so-called engineered wood is grown specifically for its purpose. Trees absorb and ‘lock-up’ CO₂ from the atmosphere during their lifecycle. A frequent sticking point from detractors is the felling of trees resulting from timber production, however the timber in engineered wood is grown specifically for purpose and replaced quicker than it is harvested — NorDan alone plants on average five new trees for every tree felled.
“Social housing providers are coming around to the environmental benefits of using timber, changing their attitude and approaching the material in a different way. This is something that NorDan is already trying to encourage through promoting the shared benefits of its timber-cored windows and doors.”
A modern solution
In combination with a powder-coated aluminium external cladding, NorDan’s timber products deliver the optimal fenestration solution, with embodied carbon credentials 50% lower than PVC-U fenestration and 25% that of aluminium windows when measured in kgCO₂/kg, according to the BSRIA guide (the Inventory of Carbon and Energy). When trying to address the climate emergency and achieve zero-carbon housing projects, there are no sustainable fenestration solutions with lower embodied carbon over 60+ years life expectancy.
With regional offices in Aberdeen, Manchester, Gloucester, Exeter, London and Inverness, and a track record of exceptional end-to-end customer service, NorDan is ideally placed for projects across the entire UK.
As social housing continues to adapt in order to meet the UK’s ambitious net-zero carbon goals, NorDan UK stands poised as a key window and door supplier able to deliver on all fronts when it comes to the whole life cost, sustainability, robustness and thermal efficiency of its products.
Company Fact File:
|Name: NorDan UK
Product area: Manufacture of Alu-clad Timber Windows and Doors
Size: 105 employees
Head office address: 3 Almondview Office Park, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 6SF
Contact number: 01506 433 173
Email address: email@example.com
Header image shows The Pinnacle in Willenhall, where NorDan windows were installed in 2005 and have never required external maintenance.