The Development of High Thermal Efficiency Panels for Glazed Facades

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The Development of High Thermal Efficiency Panels for Glazed Facades

Authors: Mr Peter Smith – Tuff X Processed Glass Limited

Mr Phil Deighton – Nanopore Insulation Limited

Peter Smith has been working in the glazing and facade market for over 25 years.

Phil Deighton is sales manager for Nanopore Insulation Limited, the only UK manufacturer of vacuum insulation panels.

Keywords: Spandrel Panels, Glazed Units, High U-value


With changes in UK building regulations demanding higher insulation values for structures, traditional insulation methods for spandrel panels may not be able to produce the required results. Tuff X Processed Ltd has been working in conjunction with Nanopore Insulation Ltd to develop a totally new spandrel panel with integrated insulation.

The design that has been developed consists of a vacuum insulation panel held between two opaque glass sheets that together form a double glazed unit. Considerable development work has been undertaken to ensure that the external appearance of the complete unit is of a suitable standard.

Part L of the UK building regulations is changing from a required U-value of 0.35 W/m2K to a value of 0.2 W/m2K. The traditional method of insulating spandrel panels is to use a polyurethane foam panel glued to the surface of an opaque double glazed unit. However, with the reduction in design U-values this insulation has become prohibitively thick. Its use also means that the inner surface has to be “made good” after the panel is installed.

The eco-i panel from Tuff X Processed glass is a self contained insulating unit which meets the proposed Part L requirements. This type of spandrel panel does not require any external insulation to obtain a U-value better than 0.20 W/m2K. This means that the unit can be installed in a facade the same way as a vision panel and there is no requirement to make special provision for internal surfaces.

As the insulation material is totally encapsulated within the panel, there is very little likelihood of mechanical damage being done to it either during installation or during the lifetime of the building.

The glass panels are screen printed on internal surfaces 2 and 3, using a special process developed by Tuff X ensuring that they are available in all standard RAL colours. This gives greater freedom to architects and designers and the process does not suffer from the ‘pin-hole’ effect often experienced in the finish of standard ceramic insulation panels. In addition, the use of inorganic pigments in the coating ensures total protection against degradation by ultra-violet light.
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