Matt Lamb, from Thermawood Otago, with an example of the
retrofit double-glazing system. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A Dunedin-designed double-glazing system, which started
as a concept drawn on a paper pie packet, is now being sold in
Thermawood, a patented retrofit double-glazing system for
existing timber joinery, was the brainchild of Graeme Clarke,
whose background was both as a joiner and a glazier.
The system was developed around drainage. Double glazing did
not like water, which was something many people did not
realise. If water got in, frames rotted, the double-glazing
broke down and it was a ''waste of time'', Mr Clarke said.
After drawing an initial concept on a pie packet, he took it
to an architect, Craig McAuliffe, who drew up the idea that
Mr Clarke had in his head.
From there, it was taken to the business development unit at
Otago Polytechnic, where it was printed in 3-D, and then to
Jtech Plastics, in Mosgiel, where the model was finished.
A drainage adapter under the double glazing to prevent any
water sitting around the double glazing was made in Mosgiel
from recycled milk bottles.
It was a three-month process to get the model completed and
that was five years ago. The system was designed for glaziers
to install and it was supplied to a network of installers
The system was patented worldwide and, from that process, Mr
Clarke said he found that no-one else was doing anything
It was a licensed system in New Zealand and a franchise
system in Australia, where it was launched earlier this year.
Launching in Australia was a ''massive step'' and Mr Clarke
believed the potential for the system was huge.
While patented in other countries, he did not want to grow
the business to a point where it could not be controlled.
Instead, it was important the system was installed correctly,
He was looking for a master franchiser in Australia as he was
looking after Australian operations and a business partner in
Auckland was looking after New Zealand.
Matt and Esther Lamb opened Thermawood Otago in March last
year and the business was ''going ahead in leaps and
bounds'', Mr Lamb said.
Most of their work was in Dunedin, but they also serviced
other parts of the region. Mr Lamb and four other staff were
full-time in the business, which also did all other aspects
of the glazing trade.