“We never stop streamlining and removing barriers,” says OMEGA® Windows + Doors Business Development Manager, Alex Holly. When Teulo last caught up with Alex in July 2023, he and the team at OMEGA® were working hard on their 800 Series of fully assembled, thermally broken aluminium window and door joinery units. In the months since, they have continued to refine and simplify this flagship series. “The 800 Series suite has now been rolled out to all of our fabricators; their feedback is that it’s really easy to put together and it’s certainly doing the job in terms of thermal performance. We’re proud to be offering a simple, cost-effective suite that is resilient and can match or outperform the alternatives.”
OMEGA® is now in the process of developing an addition to the 800 Series suite, Alex says. “We have a 400 Series and an 800 Series, with the 400 Series being a high-spanning, architectural suite. The 800 can currently span up to 2.4 metres but we’re looking to develop some heavier sections as an add-on to bring the 800 Series up to that architectural level. This will give us two systems in one: the residential mass-market, cost-effective product, and an attractive architectural suite suitable for high spans and wind zones. That’s being developed right now, with a view to releasing it in mid-2024.”
Another growing segment of OMEGA®’s product range is their thermally broken skylights, Alex says. “These are fully customisable and H1-compliant, even at larger spans. Other skylights that come in from overseas don’t always meet New Zealand requirements; as one of the only producers of thermally broken skylights in the country, we see ourselves as well-placed to service this part of the market.”
“We never stop streamlining and removing barriers"
The OMEGA® team has also been hard at work creating a range of virtual tools to simplify the specification and installation of their products, Alex says. “We’ve currently got parametric BIM models built in Revit and a suite of dwg details suitable for those who are working in Archicad; we’re looking at doing some BIM design in Archicad to add metadata into their pre-built models as well. We’re expecting to see that go live early next year along with a new website that will host all of these tools. Industry professionals will be able to easily access what they need there without a login and find product support by series, with demarcations between thermally broken and non-thermally broken joinery, rather than having to wade through lots of products.
“In the last three months, we have had a vast number of intersections and junctions modelled for our 800 Series. Now, when our fabricators draw their chosen low E-glazing unit into V6, they immediately get a calculation back for the full house lot. If an architect wants to do a full calculation method, it’s all done on V6 and BRANZ-verified, so it’s really easy for us to match specifications and provide advice. Our focus is always to make it as easy as possible for the industry to get the information, product detail and advice that they need.”
As others in the industry have worked to meet the new H1 regulations, OMEGA® has enjoyed a head start, Alex says, and the team is now looking at how to exceed them even further. “The regulations require you to achieve an R-value of .46 in most regions of New Zealand, with .50 in the two coldest regions. With the performance focus of our 800 Series, we know that on an average house lot, we’re looking at about .54. We’re significantly exceeding the H1 requirement for the four main regions and still comfortably ahead on those colder regions as well. This means that we’re offering enough thermal resilience to give our customers a bit of wiggle room if they’d like to consider larger windows.
“We’re also developing some bespoke solutions that will allow us to preserve a standard window installation detail, while also thermally protecting the thermal break from the cavity,” Alex says. “Currently, if you have a thermally broken frame installed as per the weather-tightness building code, the window has to protrude or cantilever off the edge of the building, leaving the thermal break exposed to the outside air and causing it to lose heat. Many in the industry have traditionally gotten around this by recessing the joinery into the wall cavity, but we’re exploring a more left-field solution that will allow us to achieve a simple, standard installation, while also improving thermal performance.”
Sustainability remains a core focus for OMEGA®, Alex says, through their firm commitment to decarbonisation rather than offsetting. “The whole ethos of our parent company, McKechnie Aluminium Solutions, is sustainability. Our carbon emissions by kilogram are assessed and updated every year, and we are regularly making adjustments to improve our performance. Over the last year, we’ve decommissioned several old air compressors, reducing one of the biggest power draws on our site. We’re also working on some new solutions to replace our gas-fired furnaces and ageing ovens. All of these initiatives require significant time and investment, but we are committed to continual improvements to ensure our operations are as efficient as possible, rather than simply mitigating their impacts.”
OMEGA® is looking to develop a thermally broken commercial suite, Alex says, as they work towards larger and more complex builds. “We’ve looked at a number of projects recently that had a requirement for a thermally broken commercial suite - which doesn’t really exist yet in New Zealand - and we have been able to adapt our 400 Series to meet those requirements in some limited circumstances. While we are working through what that new Suite might look like, our message to architects is that if you require commercial joinery and you’re struggling to find a compliant solution, reach out. We will work with you to see if our 400 Series can work for your project.”
To learn more about OMEGA® Windows + Doors, visit https://www.omegawindows.co.nz/ or connect with a fabricator near you.