Benefits Of Energy-Efficient Windows and Double Glazing
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We’re all trying to find ways to reduce our household bills, reduce our carbon footprint or make our home more comfortable, are we not?
So what are the benefits of energy efficient windows? Some of the key benefits include:
- They reduce those scary household bills - the airtight construction creates thermal insulation reducing the flow of incoming and outgoing heat. Less energy is used to heat up or cool the space resulting in lower energy bills.
- They reduce your carbon footprint.
- They increase comfort within the home due to the fact they don’t let the heat escape.
- No headaches! They reduce external noise by creating an effective barrier between the home and the environment outside.
- They reduce condensation. Usually moisture on a warm surface creates droplets that can freeze into frost, which soon makes the room feel colder. The construction of energy efficient windows use two panels of glass and the airtight finish prevents condensation for building up by blocking moisture in cold weather.
- Safety is improved as double glazing is a lot harder to break than your common single window pane; they’re also sealed a lot tighter.
Not only do energy efficient windows offer these benefits, but they also last for 20 years; furthermore there should be little to no maintenance needed for 20 years
The best energy efficient glass to invest in is low emissivity (Low-E) glass. This type of glass has an invisible coat of metal oxide located on the internal panes- this metal oxide layer lets in light and heat but reduces the amount of heat that escapes. Double glazed windows use gases such as argon, xenon and krypton in the area between the sheets of glass - as these are dehydrated gases. Argon is the most commonly used as it has 34% lower thermal conductivity than air.
People get confused, thinking it's just the glass itself that is the energy efficient side to the window, however even though it’s a major part, there are other factors, like the pane spacers and the frame materials.
Pane spacers are set around the inside edges to keep the two panes of glass separate. Pane spacers that contain little to no metal, are usually the best for maximum efficiency for you and your household.
PVCu frames have a very long lifespan and don’t require a lot of maintenance- they can also be recycled. PVCu frames are not only environmentally friendly, but they also serve their time very well.
Wooden frames tend to have a lower environmental impact, but require a lot of maintenance. They are usually used where the original windows were timber frames.
Composite frames have an inner timber frame covered with aluminium or plastic; this kind of frame doesn’t need much maintenance and has weather proof properties.
So, it's all very well knowing all this information about energy efficient windows, but how can you tell if it's actually proving energy efficient?
Energy from windows is measured on an energy measuring scale that runs from A to G and the window is further assessed on its efficiency when it comes to retaining heat. After it has been assessed the window is then issued with a u-value. A u-value is a measure of how easily heat can pass through the material. The higher the u-value, the more heat they let escape.
In some cases windows that have higher energy performance ratings may not have a higher u-value than windows with better energy efficiency. Yes, this may seem the wrong way round and admittedly it does look like a contradiction, but believe me it's not. Although u-values indicate better insulation levels, it's not always the u-values that determine how ‘good’ a window is. It’s a lot more overall (like the glass, frame, coating etc.).
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