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8 - 10 APRIL 2025

NEC, Birmingham


Fire extinguishers

15 Apr 2024

Thermal Efficiency: Starting from the Top

Profab Access Stand: 4/H55

In today's construction landscape, where sustainability and energy efficiency are paramount, every component of a building must contribute to its overall thermal performance.


Roof access solutions, often considered primarily for safety and emergency egress, can play a crucial role in minimizing heat loss and enhancing energy efficiency.


Here, Bilco UK discusses the vital role roof access hatches play in maintaining thermal integrity while ensuring safety and accessibility.


Thermal efficiency in buildings is crucial for energy conservation, cost savings, and environmental sustainability. It ensures that indoor temperatures remain stable and comfortable while minimizing the need for excessive heating or cooling.


With climate change targets and sustainability putting the thermal efficiency of a building higher on a specifier’s agenda than ever before, it can’t be forgotten that the roof, as a fundamental component of a building, significantly influences thermal efficiency, accounting for between 25% and 30% of all heat lost through the building envelope.


Over the past year, a number of regulations have been brought in with a focus on improving the energy performance and thermal efficiency of buildings, including the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations, enforced since April 1st 2023.


These are broadly designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, both residential and non-residential by mandating that non-domestic buildings must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above to be rentable.


More specifically, in accordance with Part L2 of Building Regulations, specifiers must also consider how the building envelope impacts energy consumption and the requirement to identify locations where there are opportunities for reducing energy consumption.


So, whilst safety is the top priority when planning for roof access, it’s important to also consider the importance of specifying and installing the most appropriate products on the roof to prevent heat loss wherever possible.


Roof access hatches are one of the  products that allow specifiers to make a major difference to their building’s U-Value, by focusing on products which provide superior thermal performance.


These hatches allow for safe access to a flat roof, where the user opens the cover of the hatch to gain access to the roof.


Reputable manufacturers will also design their roof access hatches to minimise heat transfer, further contributing to thermal efficiency and offering an ideal solution to specifiers looking to prioritise energy conservation.


Specifiers should consider whether an access hatch is ‘thermally broken’, and also take into account the insulation of the hatch. All Bilco UK roof access hatches are manufactured with 75mm of PIR insulation as standard.


Bilco UK’s thermally broken aluminium S-50TB Roof Access Hatch minimises heat transfer between interior and exterior metal surfaces. The result is a product that resists harmful condensation and provides superior energy efficiency. The GS-50TB is based on the S-50TB Roof Access Hatch with the added benefits of a skylight.


Bilco UK’s SKY Flatglass includes a polyester upstand that is fully insulated for weathertightness and an inner layer of low-emissivity (Low-E) glass that reflects infrared and ultraviolet light from inside the building, supporting the thermal performance of the product, whilst simultaneously maintaining an attractive design.


The SKY Flatglass is a versatile product that acts as a three in one solution; it is simultaneously a smoke vent, roof access hatch and rooflight, saving space, time and money. This three-in-one element also reduces three roof penetrations into a single one which also helps to improve thermal efficiency.


In today's construction landscape, where sustainability and energy efficiency are paramount, every component of a building must contribute to its overall thermal performance. Roof access hatches not only ensure accessibility but also contribute to the broader goal of sustainable construction, underscoring the significance of holistic thinking in modern building practices.


Overlooking these benefits risks undermining the building's thermal integrity and can lead to increased energy costs and environmental impact.


This is a perfect example of how architects can factor thermal efficiency into their roof safety specifications  as an extra value proposition, without compromising on fundamental safety considerations, while keeping costs down.


Investing in thermally efficient roof access solutions not only aligns with regulatory requirements but also demonstrates a commitment to sustainable building practices, ultimately enhancing occupant comfort and reducing long-term operational expenses.

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The Safety & Security Event Series