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Architects and designers of atria or roof glazing systems - ‘Climate Control For Conservatories"

** An article all about making your conservatory more comfortable and useable all year round – sponsored by: Insupolycarbonate™ Roofing **

Designers of atria or roof glazing systemsAttention Architects and designers of conservatories, atria or roof glazing systems: Are you looking for information on products that can improve the environment and make the areas below the glazing us-able in comfort?

Question One: I am considering the use of Polycarbonate roofing for a project because of its lower cost, ease of use and the need for a less robust structure to support the glazing in comparison with a glass alternative. I am concerned about controlling high levels of solar heat gain, and glare over a glazed area of 200 Sq Metres. Is there a polycarbonate roofing available in a solar control grade, if so would you recommend any particular type, and what is it’s level of solar performance.


Solar control grades of polycarbonate, incorporating high performance solar heat reflectors similar to those employed in glass are readily available. The highest performance is achieved by a patented design sold under the registered trademark ‘Insupolycarbonate®’ were the heat reflectors exclude the sun’s heat before it enters the polycarbonate roofing.

This material excludes 80% of the solar heat, cuts glare,and has a shading co-efficient of 0.22.

Question Two: Recently we have been approached by a client who has major solar heat gain, Glare, and winter insulation problems in a building with a pitched Polycarbonate atria. We have been asked for recommendations on upgrading the roof to solve these problems. Is there any way that the roof can be upgraded in situ or will it be necessary to totally replace the roof glazing with the attendant cost implications?


The roof can be upgraded in situ. This is simply done by incorporating transparent heat reflectors into the flutes of the polycarbonate. The work is undertaken as follows. The roof pitch is scaffolded to enable channel shaped, self-supporting heat reflectors, to be inserted down the panels from the roof pitch. This method is simple and straightforward and avoids the need for expensive scaffolding on the lower part of the roof.

Question Three: We are currently planning the refurbishment of a large swimming pool that has severe problems in summer of solar heat gain, and glare. The roof is glazed in clear glass. We have been considering replacing the glazing with modern solar control glass but the cost implications are horrendous. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the existing glazing, can it be upgraded in some way?


External solar control laminates can be incorporated into the glazing in-situ to upgrade this glass to the same specification as Solar Glazing at considerably lower cost.

External grades are recommended as they: can be applied more conveniently, after scaffolding of the outside of the glazing, have higher performance than internally applied materials, and are not subject to the chlorine environment inside the swimming pool. The weatherable outer surface, which comprises Polyvinylfluoride, has excellent durability for long life.

Question Four: We are currently designing a large heavily glazed restaurant conservatory and would like advise on suitable glazing, and the need for, and size of, air-conditioning equipment for reducing summer temperatures. What are the important considerations and how do we go about obtaining the necessary technical information and advice.


The first consideration is the aspect and shading of the area, and the design of the roof. From this information the magnitude of the solar problem can be assessed.

Once this fundamental data is available it will be possible to determine the methods that can be employed to reducing the solar heat gain through the installation of the correct solar control glass, and ventilation.

It is only after these fundamentals have been determined that the need for, and size of any air-conditioning should be investigated.

There are a number of companies who have the computer simulation programmes for modelling your design. You can obtain names and addresses on these companies by contacting the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.

Question Five: We are currently working for a company who have asked us to design a glazed roof to cover a small courtyard to enable them to expand their floor space by creating open plan offices below. Can you offer us any advice on the most suitable glazing, and controlling the environment within this area.


The weight of the glazing, and its cost will be important considerations.

Polycarbonate roofing is much lighter than glass and is certainly worth considering. There are solar control grades of this material that will exclude 80% of the solar heat gain, and cut glare in an area that may well have many computer screens that will require shading to eliminate bright reflections. Modern polycarbonate roofing has winter insulation performance at least as good as the best glass solutions and its lightweight, and therefore the need for a less costly roof support structure, will have considerable cost benefits over glass.

Everyone (trade and general public) is welcome to request the very informative “Guide to Controlling the Conservatory Environment”

This Editorial provided by and sponsored by: Insupolycarbonate™ Roofing

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