Look good with Granada’s energy saving secondary glazing

Granada Secondary Glazing showcases Murrays' Mills project

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With rising energy costs a huge driver – some 30 per cent of a property’s heat can be lost through single-glazed windows, the Sheffield-based designer and maker hit its £9.5million turnover target this year. Come 2025 the aim is for that to be £15million while its team of 68 will grow to 85. Currently, it is also in the process of doubling its squad of regional sales managers.

Prices start from £300 per window and clients for Granada’s durable and ultra-thin aluminium and timber frame panes, that also boost security, fall into three groups.

Homeowners are catered for via an installer network, then there is the trade sector, where firms can order directly online, while the company also manages the whole process for architects and specifiers who include secondary glazing in their projects.  

“Our glazing is a complex business needing products that fit, look good and function in all kinds of buildings, some of which have twisted over the centuries. Unlike others, we do not adapt primary windows – which can lead to some severe compromises,” explains managing director Craig Robertson.

“We address two social needs. We’re a cost-effective alternative to those who want energy efficiency or live in conservation areas, plus we’re a quality solution allowing the upgrade of historical buildings to current acoustic and thermal standards so they can be used in everyday life. 

“Our work with the Museum of London is a fine example of this. The sightlines of our products set us apart, they aren’t heavy duty, but aesthetically pleasing and smaller.

“The turning point was in 2021 with our new product range. Trade sales increased 33 per cent last year.”

Granada has been able to store a year’s worth of inventory on its site, enabling it to maintain its high customer service levels, despite supply chain volatility, and offer guaranteed availability and prices. 

“Our short product lead times give us a competitive edge too,” observes Robertson.

Formerly a maker of uPVC window products, since engineer Malcolm White bought Granada a decade ago it has developed into a state-of-the-art manufacturer operating from a 40,000sq ft factory.

Now its the business’s innovative technology and manufacturing processes with design patents pending that underpin its success.

Having invested some £10 million over nine years into equipment and technology, the company commits £500,000 annually to R&D.

“We have made huge investment in design and tooling to create a product which is purpose-made for each variation of a customer’s needs,” says Robertson.

“Each window has to be bespoke designed and built. But making in large quantities this way poses big challenges. Our solution has been to develop our own WinGen software. Its critical advantage is that it is easy to use for everyone. It simplifies tasks and minimises the opportunity for mistakes, increasing productivity.”

Present in all Granada’s operations it’s the fundamental powering the firm’s automated machines and key operations from designing and calculating quotes to forecasting and ordering materials.

Along the way it also works out the size and type of glass needed, which supplier to use and the cost, then despatches to the supplier directly, creating and allocating instructions so they go to the right machines and the operators. Now it also a hub for quality assurance and operational reporting.

“But equally we ensure customers have a number they can call and a person to help them,” Robertson points out.

Struggles getting the quality needed from suppliers prompted Granada to source from China while in-house manufacturing has solved other issues.

But while production, backed by contingency supply chain plans, is on course the firm would like to see wider support for its glazing option. 

To this end it has been lobbying government to have secondary glazing officially achieve ‘energy-saving product’ status which would mean it qualified for either a VAT reduction or complete exemption. 

“We find it rather bizarre that products like draught stripping and ground-source heating pumps qualify for an exemption while secondary glazing – which has been proven to reduce heat loss by up to 70 per cent– is not included. We had our local MP Alexander Stafford on site recently and he has kindly agreed to support our campaign within government,” remarks Robertson.

Granada has also approached the Government seeking clarification on the SME Loan Scheme that has been launched in Scotland and whether or not a similar scheme is in the works for the rest of the UK. 

“The scheme allows SMEs to borrow up to £100,000 for energy-saving products, with a further opportunity to receive a cashback grant of up to £30,000,” adds Robertson.

“Crucially, secondary glazing qualifies as part of this scheme. It seems the Scottish government is somewhat ahead of the curve in offering companies financial incentives to insulate their premises and, in turn, reduce energy bills.”

And while he and the team wait to hear if the appeals “to bring us in from the cold” have worked, the company takes heart from a compliment it received from an advanced manufacturer, who looking round the plant, commented: “This is the factory of a car manufacturer, not a window fabricator.” 


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