Project acronym: UNISASH
Project reference: LIFE07 ENV/SLO/000710
Year of financing: 2007
Priority area: Environment & Resource Efficiency
Project title (SL): Univerzalno, energetsko učinkovito okensko krilo
Coordinating beneficiary: KOVINAPLASTIKA LOŽ, Industrija kovinskih in plasticnih izdelkov d.d

Environmental impacts associated with the manufacturing of window frames include consumption of raw materials (wood, PVC, aluminium), energy consumption and generation of waste. Sustainable production techniques require manufacturing approaches that use appropriate technologies and methods. These should apply designs that reduce energy and resource consumption as much as possible, and minimise waste during the window manufacturing process. The window frames themselves should have maximised thermal insulation capacity. Better window frames can greatly contribute to building energy efficiency and thus reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from energy generated from fossil fuels.

The project set out to design a new, environmentally-friendly manufacturing process for window frames, and to develop a prototype for a universal window sash (or panel). The prototype was designed to be suitable for production using PVC, wood or aluminium.

The beneficiary planned to reduce consumption of raw materials by 20-35% for each window unit. This should equate to a reduction in energy consumption of 20-40% per unit. These environmental benefits were also expected to reduce manufacturing costs.

The new type of sash window was expected to improve thermal insulation potential by 7-12% on average, and to increase light and heat input through the increased window surface by 15-20% on average. The windows were also designed to be more secure and to offer 5-8 % better sound insulation.

The project planned to produce between 1 000 and 2 000 prototype window sash samples, and to distribute them throughout Central Europe to raise awareness about the innovation.

The project successfully met its environmental objectives. The innovative UNISASH windows – the PVC, aluminium and wood versions – improved thermal insulation by 7% to 12% on average (depending of type of glass). Raw material use was reduced by 20% to 35%, and the energy consumed in the production of the windows was cut by 20% to 40%, with an approximate CO2 emissions reduction of 20%. The windows let in 5% to 9% less noise. Tests for water permeability, air permeability and wind load resistance resulted in “good” or “excellent” rankings. The windows only fell short in terms of anti-burglar resistance, though they came close to the targeted rating. Production costs were reduced by an estimated 5% to 15%, though this would have to be assessed at larger production volumes.

The project produced 879 sample windows, covering 1 122.7 square metres, compared to the target of 1 000 to 2 000 sample windows. The economic crisis, which had a severe impact on the construction sector in Slovenia, was blamed for the shortfall. Of the sample windows, 551 were incorporated in windows; others were circulated to exhibitions and trade fairs.

The innovation value of the UNISASH product is high: the universal sole-glass casements which could be combined with all the three basic materials for window frames (PVC, aluminium and wood) is a revolutionary innovation in the market. Furthermore, the extremely slim profile enables a larger glazed surface, which allows entering of up to 25% more light into the room.

Overall, the project has produced a process and innovation that could result in a major change in the sector.This was also proven by the fact that UNISASH received numerous awards, such as the international Red Dot Award and national “Green Mission Award”

Coordinator: Kovinoplastika Lož d.d.
Duration: 1.4.2009-30.6.2011
Total budget: 1,989,860.00 €
EU contribution: 987,430.00 €