Aberdeen start-up spots window of opportunity to boost energy efficiency with magnetic glazing technology

20/05/2024
Luci and Campbell Carey

A HUSBAND-wife duo have launched a new business to help owners of older homes and buildings keep out draughts and prevent heat loss from single-glazed windows, following a funding boost from the British Business Bank.

Aberdeen-based Inglaze was set up by Campbell and Luci Carey alongside their respective day jobs as a hotel maintenance manager and a lecturer in commercial law. The pioneering patent-pending technology the pair have developed enables a transparent acrylic panel to be attached to windows magnetically, using a specially designed seal to create a strong barrier and ensure airtightness even on irregular window frames. 

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The secondary glazing technique has been designed with listed buildings and traditional granite properties in mind, where double glazing is often prohibited or expensive to install. Initial estimates suggest that the product could reduce heat loss by around 60% and cut energy costs by 20%.

A 2023 report from the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and British Glass found 24% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the residential sector. Inglaze, in seeking to reduce this, will play a role in helping Scottish buildings contribute to Net Zero goals.

Founders Campbell and Luci recently secured a total of £35,000 to bring the new glazing product to market, through two loans from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme and DSL Business Finance They hope to start fitting the acrylic in customers’ homes imminently.

The idea for the business has been a year in the making and was inspired by the couple’s experience while living in Singapore, where the historic building they lived in had one room with no windowpanes. They installed Perspex – to prevent cool air from escaping, in this case – and on return to Scotland saw an opportunity to replicate a more reliable solution for homeowners wanting to keep the warmth in.

Campbell has prior engineering experience and, using CNC machinery and new laser-cutting equipment purchased using the loan, the acrylic panel can be cut and fitted on-site, minimising any margin for error. The decision to use magnetic fixings means the panel retains the flexibility to expand and contract with temperature changes, while the sealant part is manufactured from recycled household plastics such as milk cartons.

Luci Carey said: “Scotland has a plethora of old buildings that need updating to improve their energy efficiency, including in parts of Aberdeen. However, for many properties, the process of changing windows to modern double or triple glazing can be expensive, messy and complicated in terms of planning permission. Heating our homes and commercial buildings accounts for more than one-third of the UK’s emissions, so to achieve net zero we need to make some changes.

“With our new glazing technology, we are aiming to boost the energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings that have traditional-style windows in a damage-free, relatively low-cost way. In around two years, the energy savings customers can expect to see will equal the initial outlay. Over the next few months, we’ll be gathering real data that will show future customers exactly how much energy can be saved by using the acrylic panel.”

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has supported 470 entrepreneurs and delivered more than £5 million in loans to new business owners in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire since it began in 2012.

Barry McCulloch, Senior Manager, UK Network, Scotland at the British Business Bank, said: “Smaller businesses have a valuable role to play in the transition to net zero and Inglaze is a great example of an innovative idea that could have a big impact on energy consumption for homes and commercial properties. We look forward to seeing the results and helping the founders to deliver sustainable improvements to buildings all over the country. The Start Up Loans programme is committed to supporting founders with green ambitions and recognises the important role of entrepreneurship in developing sustainable technology that can benefit all.”

Rekha Welsh, loan officer at DSL Business Finance, added: “I was very impressed by Luci and Campbell’s expertise in this field and the thorough research they’ve conducted. Their magnetic glazing technology not only improves energy efficiency but also demonstrates how entrepreneurship can lead to sustainable solutions. DSL is pleased to support their business and wishes them every success in the future.”

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