MAY 8 | BUILDING PRODUCTS
Consideration of these factors will determine
the type of louvre required, such as continuous,
barrier, adjustable, acoustic, turret, sand or a
bespoke shaped louvre.
Balancing the aesthetics
While aesthetics must be considered,
performance should never be compromised.
Louvres are often hidden behind more
aesthetically pleasing features, such as a
perforated panel, but this can restrict airflow. By
acknowledging louvres early in the specification
process, they can be designed into the building
envelope for optimum performance and work
with the fabric of the building. Contractors and
installers can also appreciate the advantages of
a well-specified louvre system. Bird and insect
deterrents can be factory fitted for example,
saving time on-site.
Architects are also beginning to appreciate
the natural aesthetics of the louvre – with
their symmetry and bold lines. Dummy
louvres are becoming increasingly popular,
balancing architectural designs while demand
for continuous louvres has risen as architects
It’s time for the
louvre to step out
of the shadows
look for practical ways to obscure and hide
Screening louvres, for example, offer an
ideal solution for disguising rooftop plant e.g.
air-conditioning units, where water penetration
won’t cause too many problems and cost is
a consideration. They typically provide good
airflow but have limited defence against rain.
Barrier louvres prove the functional and
aesthetic versatility of the louvre system.
Designed to cover areas where fall from height
is an issue, they are practical yet attractive.
Advantages of aluminium
Lightweight and with inherent strength,
extruded aluminium is the ideal material
choice for louvres. Manufactured using
either prime or recycled aluminium billets,
aluminium louvres are an enduring option for
exposed and elevated locations.
Aluminium is one of the most durable and
sustainable building materials available. There
are many reasons for specifying aluminium,
not least the environmental benefits. The
Council for Aluminium Building (CAB)
states that the recycling rates for architectural
aluminium is 92 – 98%, with only 5% of
the original energy taken to recycle it and
most impressive, is that 75% of aluminium
produced since 1880s is still in use!
In Q4 2017, 79% of CAB members expected
sales growth in 2018, compared with 56% in
Q3. With such a buoyant UK industry, those
specifying architectural aluminium products,
such as louvres, can benefit from capital
investment and product R&D.
Colours of the rainbow
Boosting the aesthetic appeal of the louvre is
the availability of colours and finishes. Through
leading powder-coating suppliers, architects and
specifiers can choose from hundreds of RAL and
BS colours. With Pantone colours becoming
an increasingly frequent request, there appears
to be no limit to the cascade of colour options
available. And for those wanting to make the
ultimate statement, metallic and stone-effect
finishes are enjoying a rise in use.
The two most popular aluminium finishes in
architectural applications are powder-coating
and anodising. Architects must consider the
differences in terms of durability, colour and
repair when choosing the best coating option for
a specific project. In a recent statement, Russell
Deane, global architectural manager at AkzoNobel
Powder Coatings, said: “Understanding the
differences and relative advantages of powder
coating and anodising is extremely useful. A
weak specification, or a wrong choice of coating,
can have a disastrous effect on the colour of the
building in the long-term. And colour is just one
of the key considerations.”
Valued façade feature
It’s time for the louvre to step out of the
shadows and be embraced earlier in the design
process. The UK offers an extensive range of
proven and practical louvre systems. Couple this
with design developments, advancements in
manufacturing and an ever-expanding range of
colours and finishes and the louvre system is a
valuable architectural addition to any façade.