Eco-friendly glazing – windows to happiness

Who’d have thought that windows could bring happiness? This blog is about how glazing with good environmental credentials can lead to wellbeing improvements.

By way of background, I recently helped a window manufacturer to collate the environmental information about their products in readiness for a BREEAM assessment. There was quite a lot of work involved so I thought it would be interesting to remind everyone about why eco-friendly construction materials are good for happiness and wellbeing .

Before going into the detail, I am pleased to mention my client Scandinavian Timber. They produce high quality windows and curtain walling. Their USP is that they can design, build and install large volumes of bespoke size glazing. This is especially useful for architects and developers who want a unique feel to their projects. They manufacture the frames from FSC certified wood and protect with a thin layer of aluminium extrusion. The glazing is very high specification which provides good thermal insulation (up to PassivHaus level) as well as keeping out excessive summer heat.

Thermal insulation

For this project the U-value was 1.2 W/m2/K, but they can go as good as 0.5 W/m2/K. This means that the glazing will contribute to the energy efficiency and low carbon emissions of the final building. Lower carbon emissions will help prevent the worst effects of climate change. In the UK this will mean, amongst many other things, reduced flood risk to our homes, increased water security and increased food security.  We all need these things to improve our wellbeing.

FSC wood

As well as protecting the world’s timber resources, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is intended to improve the lives of forest workers. The true test of whether schemes such as this are effective, is to research the outcomes. The FSC have done this many times and found that it really is an effective scheme for boosting wellbeing. For example, the chart below takes data from one research project which examined a set of forests in Africa. It shows that, amongst many other issues, FSC certified forests lead to improved potable water provision and physical safety.

graph

Responsibly sourced glass

The glazing used by Scandinavian Timber was certified to BES6001 which is a framework standard for responsible sourcing. It is intended to improve the social and environmental impacts of construction products. Included in the standard is a requirement to ensure that “at least 90% of the constituent material(s) in the assessed product shall be traceable to supply chain organisation(s) with a certificated health and safety management system.” Also the supply chain organisations must protect the environment which is good for our wellbeing in ways such as ensuring air and water quality.

Research to demonstrate the impact of the BES6001 standard has yet to be carried out. However, given the impact of the FSC scheme, it is fair to assume that the standard has a positive impact.

Business sense

Let’s not forget that if businesses are financially secure then employees have a chance of financial security too. This means being able to provide for improved wellbeing for themselves and family. BREEAM construction projects are booming (in London at least) so having eco-friendly products should mean a boost to sales.

Conclusion

In many ways, eco-friendly windows (and other construction products) can boost both local and distant happiness and wellbeing. Also, eco-friendly products can contribute to sales of products.

Please contact me if you would like to know how environmental credentials can boost your business. Contact

Or if you just want to be happy, try this: HappyNow Project

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