Most of a Conservatory is Glass! Here is what you need to know.

Your new conservatory or orangery will incorporate large areas of glass and your choice of glazing type is very important – the following will guide you through the different options and explain how the various choices will affect the way in which you use the new space you have created.

Solar Controlled
The direction in which your conservatory faces will dictate what type of glass would be most appropriate. A north-facing conservatory will have a different glass requirement to a southwest-facing one simply because it is exposed to less direct sunlight.

High performance glass can prove very expensive – choosing solar control glass to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer can cost as much as £3,000 more than you would pay for standard double-glazing. However, this investment can prove very worthwhile.

Scientific tests completed at the height of summer show that standard double glazed conservatories could reach temperatures of 149°C, rendering the building inhabitable. Solar glass will reduce the room temperature by 64°C, leaving the interior only 10°C greater than the temperature outside. By adding comfort cooling, or air conditioning, you can reduce the temperate even further to create the ultimate climate-controlled environment.

Insulating
The thermal efficiency of glass is measured in U values – the lower this value the greater the ability of the glass to keep you warm. Therefore, select glass with a sufficiently low U value and to ensure your conservatory or orangery is warm and comfortable in winter. Some vendors also add an Argon gas to the inner gap between the two glazing layers to further enhance the heat retaining performance, if required.

Government guidelines recommend Pilkington K glass, but that glass and specification is no longer acceptable according to experts. A standard glass that achieves a U value of 1.1 is recommended– this means a heat loss reduction of about 55% compared to the Government’s recommended standard Pilkington K glass.

Self-Cleaning
There is no such thing as totally self-clean glass. There is, however, the option of easy clean-glass. This specialist glass allows rainwater to wash away a considerable amount of the dirt and grime. Whilst it won’t mean you can do away with your window cleaner, it will reduce the work required by around 80%.

Security & Safety
This is a crucial concern to be taken very seriously – your peace of mind is of paramount importance. Expert vendors incorporate a special glass that is virtually unbreakable and even supply bulletproof glass!

Locking systems are constantly evolving but professional burglars keep up to date with all the latest developments. Many now attempt to break in by cutting through the door hinges. Specialists counter this threat by adding additional features to your doors, which make the task considerably more difficult for potential intruders.

Living In Your New Space
You obviously want to make full use of your conservatory or orangery the whole year round. This means designing adequate heating, cooling and ventilating systems, after due consideration of the orientation of the structure and how much direct sunlight it will receive.

In winter, a conservatory or orangery can become too cold for comfort and extending your existing central heating system may be the most practical solution. Electric convector heaters can also provide instant heating options, while underfloor heating is a space saving and efficient alternative. Climate-controlled air conditioning can prove a worthwhile investment for the summer. Roof blinds reduce heat and glare from direct sunlight and may be essential if your conservatory or orangery is south facing.

All of these considerations are matters where an expert’s knowledge and extensive experience will prove invaluable.