Lumon has transformed the world of condo balconies with its innovative retractable glass system.
The Finnish company began in 1978 as a family owned window business. Project development manager Henry Nieuwenhuis says the company soon realized the need for a product that would protect condo balconies without creating an unsightly enclosure or adding to a building’s gross floor area. “And so Lumon’s retractable balcony glass system was born.”
He says the unique system features frameless, non-thermal glass panels that can slide along a balcony railing and fold completely open.
With a few decades of research and engineering under its belt and a long list of tests and approvals, Nieuwenhuis says the company has since expanded to more than 20 countries around the world. Canada is one such country, with operations officially launched in North America in 2010.
He says that since that launch, Lumon Canada Inc. has worked with architects, developers, property managers, and homeowners on new condo buildings and retrofit projects. “Lumon is one of the few companies who can add glazing systems onto existing buildings,” he says.
Part of this is due to Lumon’s experience with manufacturing and installation in addition to the design and engineering aspects.
Nieuwenhuis says that another significant reason for Lumon’s success is the unique nature of the product. Instead of a thermal glazing, Lumon’s product is a tempered glass system that can be installed on top of an existing balcony railing (or Lumon’s own railing system) without adding to a condo’s gross floor area or violating zoning requirements.
“A two to three mm gap between the glass panels provides adequate ventilation to eliminate moisture problems, and the gaps also ensure that the balcony remains an outdoor space as intended—something no traditional balcony enclosure can offer developers or property managers,” he said.
Lumon has several condo projects across Canada which Nieuwenhuis says are gaining industry attention. “In British Columbia, the homeowner response to Lumon balconies was so overwhelmingly positive that one developer’s standard units, which had the retractable balcony glass, sold out much faster than the penthouse units, which did not have protected balconies.”
Nieuwenhuis says that as a result, the developer modified the design of the condo’s newer phases to include the balcony system on every condo unit, and has since included Lumon’s balcony glass on every new project.
Lumon is very active in other areas of Canada as well. He says areas like Toronto and Mississauga have seen numerous retrofit projects, and there are several new construction projects in the works as well. “We’re just in design stages on a 20-storey project in Toronto and we have others in Markham in prebuild stages. In Montreal, we’ve actually just completed work on a 15-storey building.”
Even beyond the product’s clean lines and contemporary look, Nieuwenhuis says Lumon’s balcony system appeals to developers, property managers, and homeowners alike for a number of reasons. “The railing system can handle a high wind load, which helps minimize or even negate deflection issues. The retractable glass also protects the balcony from heat loss and concrete deterioration, substantially reducing energy and maintenance costs.”
He says other benefits, like noise reduction of 50 per cent and a more comfortable outdoor space, are selling features for people looking to buy a condo.
Nieuwenhuis conducts regular lunch and learns with local architects and developers. He aims to share these benefits with them and build awareness of the company’s long history of quality, innovation, and environmental responsibility he says.
Lumon has received CCMC approval in Canada as well as ISO certification and the CE marking in Europe. The products also meet LEED standards and contribute towards a project’s LEED points, something he says the environmentally-conscious company is pleased to tell its clients.
Nieuwenhuis says Lumon also has a long history of being service-oriented and working with their customers to fulfill their needs. “We stay close to our customers throughout the project and are available even after the project is complete to make sure that they are satisfied.”
This approach, he says, has certainly contributed to the company’s success. “Our business has grown over time through education, referrals, and repeat business. Of course, there is always room for more growth.”
Lumon started working with DataBid a few years ago to connect with even more people and projects. Nieuwenhuis says the company is looking forward to transforming even more condo balconies in Canada and around the world.