The lightness of being
Facade and fenestration are bringing in international standards to India, while introducing new materials and designs
BY JAYASHREE KINI MENDES
Ever since one can remember, mankind has been enamoured with wood. Out of all the dispositions of timber, one of the most visible and notable is fenestration (doors and windows). So wanton we have been in churning out wooden doors and windows that this necessity is now on the brink of becoming scarce. Nevertheless, the quintessence of windows and doors in a building remains intact.
Over the last few decades, fenestration has undergone a drastic revamp all over the world, and the trends are fast catching up in India as well. Apart from wood, doors and windows are now available in alternate technological configurations such as uPVC, aluminium, and in some cases, a blend of these technologies. However, the attributes of every material, be it wood, uPVC, or aluminium, are unique and each one of them is useful in its own way.
The last decade has witnessed a lot of technological advancements that have happened in the uPVC international market, especially under the European industry programme called ‘Vinyl 2010’. One of the major developments of this programme was to abolish the usage of Low Density Additives (LDA) which are safe neither for human beings nor the environment and instead adopted the High Density Additives (HDA). Rajesh Chawla, director, Veka India, says, “This has resulted in many major uPVC system companies to switch to Calcium Zinc (Ca-Zn) stabilisers, an HDA required to produce Lead free profiles. This is a big change that will result in a greener environment. Simultaneously, another great development that took place is the ‘Co-Extrusion’ technology. This advancement allows uPVC manufacturers to use a bulk of recycled material in the product with only
a layer of fresh or virgin uPVC on the outer surface of the uPVC profiles without affecting the function of the product.
Adoption of this technology is a step towards sustainable growth in the plastics industry.”
One of the main USPs of VEKA uPVC material or windows are the welded corners, the high insulating properties and excellent weather-ability. These characteristics coupled with the possibility of installing glass with thickness of up to 40mm can reduce external noise by 42 to 47 decibels (dB) and can almost completely eliminate the ingress of dust or even water.
Anjan Putatunda, GM, India, Kawneer (a division of Alcoa), says that people are adopting new technologies faster and so are they. There are many new things introduced in the facade industry, which include Nano technology coated aluminium extrusions, cast in anchor channels, glazing tapes, high pressure laminates, self-cleaning aluminium composite panels, thermal break solutions, aluminium façade systems, etc. Innovation centres have been doing a great job and “we are trying to work on implementation of most of the technologies used in facade material and design”.
Fundermax has noticed that apart from HPL, they are seeing the emergence of new materials in the facade cladding market such as UHPC (Ultra High Performing Concrete), carbon fibre, corten steel, ETFE membranes and solid surfaces to name a few. Dr Prashanth Reddy, MD, Fundermax India, says, “Façade materials and systems are expected to carry out a number of functions and perform in a variety of ways, such as structural integrity, durability, weather-tightness, acoustic and thermal insulation, as safety and security barriers and more. A thorough assessment of the durability of new materials proposed needs to be done to ensure that the materials used do not compromise the performance requirements of the building.”
FunderMax has made considerable investments in R&D for producing sustainable products. With 65% of panels made from natural fibres, where the wood is the by-product of sawmills, Max Exterior Panels from FunderMax are totally sustainable. The exhaust air generated during the drying process used in the preparation of the panels is treated through regenerative thermal oxidation for which FunderMax was given the Klima:aktiv award for best practices by the Austrian Energy Agency and Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment.
The finishes offered too are all weatherproof, optimally lightfast, highly durable and can be combined with almost every kind of FunderMax décor. The silk-matte look comes with a feel of fine hammer embossed finish. The glossy finish offers a high class touch that accentuates any décor. The specially printed hexagon pattern surface is slip free and ideal for special emphasis.
Another major player, Schüco, is a pioneer when it comes to building envelope systems. This comes as a result of years of R&D in all areas concerning the fenestration and façade products. The Schüco Technology Centre is one of the world’s leading test centres for the building envelope. The centre is accredited as an independent manufacturing laboratory by the national accreditation body for the Federal Republic of Germany (DAkkS). The electromagnetic compatibility of various components is tested, and the bullet resistance of highly secure components is also calculated. The quality of Schüco products in line with standards is improved with the help of a wide variety of tests for acoustics, weather-tightness, security and durability.