Why Double Glazing? 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record!
Using double glazing to help cool your home is becoming more valuable by the year.
2016 is now officially the world’s hottest year on record. Just ask NASA and NOAA. It beat the previous record, which was set in 2015. Which beat the previous record, set in 2014. See a pattern here?
It’s a sobering thought, but anyone under the age of forty has never lived in a year that was not above the average temperature experienced over the whole of the 20th. Century.
As our summer temperatures get progressively hotter, it has a direct effect on our homes.
Hotter temperatures make us more uncomfortable.
Hotter temperatures mean that we use our air conditioning more, driving up our electricity bills- at a time when our tariffs are at a record high level, too.
The extra hours that your aircon runs, and extra on/off cycling, cuts down the life of your system, and increases the need for maintenance/servicing.
Fitting double glazed windows and doors to your home helps cut down the amount of heat entering in summer. If you also specify uPVC frames, you’ll get the very best combination of high thermal insulation, high acoustic insulation, and a long, maintenance-free lifetime.
Available across Europe in America for the past 60 years, uPVC window profiles are the most popular choice to deliver superior and proven performance.
Worldwide, more than half of all new and replacement residential windows are uPVC. That’s almost 290 million window units a year, chosen for their durability, low-maintenance, high energy efficiency, performance and style. The US and Europe have long focused on energy efficient windows.
However, in Australia, we’ve traditionally used either timber frames which are good insulators but high maintenance, or aluminium window frames which need less maintenance than timber, but have poor insulation. Thermal performance is one of the most important characteristics of a window.
Watch the video, or read the text!
They Have High Energy Efficiency
Double glazed PVC windows can be as much as four and-a-half times more energy efficient than a standard single glazed aluminium one.
The energy efficiency of a window system is commonly defined by two measures.
First, the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is a measure of the solar radiation going through the glazing into a building, and secondly by the u-value- the rate of heat flow through a window system.
For both measures the lower the number, the higher the performance.
They’re Cooler In Summer, Warmer In Winter.
A common misconception in Australia, is that double glazing is only for cold climates, to keep the cold outside, but double glazing is also just as effective in keeping the heat of an Australian summer out.
In fact, standard glazed windows contribute up to eighty-seven percent of the summer heat gain in a typical Australian insulated home. Choosing double glazed units with low solar heat gain and low u-values, reduces or eliminates the need for expensive artificial cooling.
By replacing your windows with high-efficiency uPVC ones, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from household heating and cooling by more than one tonne a year.
They’re Durable & Low Maintenance
uPVC windows are considered durable, with expected life spans of 35 years, and leading brands have been tested specifically for resistance to Australia’s high UV. These windows will look good for years, without the need for sanding or repainting, and being resistant to salt, are ideal for coastal locations.
uPVC window profiles have been carefully engineered to incorporate multi-locking systems, providing a high level of security. They can be used in a wide range of styles for older, new, heritage or contemporary homes. And they come in a variety of colors.
Choose with confidence from a range of quality suppliers in Australia. The uPVC Window Alliance is supported by globally leading brands committed to delivering uPVC windows you can rely on in Australia.
uPVC windows- the wise choice for windows in Australia.
It’s a question often asked by my friend, Karen Porter, of Solace Creations, Canberra’s leading double glazing supplier. It’s a worthy ambition, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon in Australia’s Capital City (or where you live).
While Canberra is close to the most renewables/environmentally-aware jurisdiction in Australia, solar (residential, commercial and utility) and wind power get the most publicity, and support. For all that, double glazing COULD be made mandatory in Canberra. How do we know?
Well, on January 1st., 2016, it became mandatory to have double glazed windows in the famous Swiss city of Geneva.
Geneva is the headquarters of many of Europe’s United Nations Agencies, the Red Cross, and a global hub for diplomacy and banking. It’s famous for being the place where the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of wartime combatants and prisoners of war were signed. It’s also a city very aware of it’s energy consumption, and a determination to reduce it.
According to an article in the newspaper GHI, all homeowners in Geneva that still have single glazing in their homes at the end of January 2016 will be fined. Double glazing incorporating non-insulated aluminium frames will also attract fines.
Housing consumes half of Geneva’s energy and generates two thirds of its carbon emission. The canton estimates that a canton-wide window upgrade will deliver energy savings of 15%.
Many have criticised the tight deadline. Christophe Ogi, an architect and member of Pic-Vert Assprop.ge, an organisation that defends the interests of property owners says “there could easily be more than 20,000 properties, showing the scale of the task. I think the main objective though, is to get started”. According to Mr Ogi, most of the work relates to around 15,000 villas (individual houses) with old windows. Many of these are owned by old people who cannot afford the CHF 10,000 to CHF 15,000 required to cover a window upgrade. He thinks some will choose to pay fines instead.
Some have also pointed out that the canton itself has many buildings that must replace their windows.
Serge Hiltpold, president of the Federation of building trades says “the date imposed by the canton is unrealistic. We cannot do all the work required because the capacity to produce new windows cannot be increased infinitely. It would make sense to extend the deadline so that we can spread the work. We are not going to replace windows during the winter.”
The Canton is not budging Despite the complaints, Olivier Epelly, the director general of the cantonal energy office is showing no signs of budging. He says that “if they don’t respect the deadline, in the absence of an extension, they are exposing themselves to fines.”
So there we have it- a major European city can mandate the fitting, even retrofitting, of double glazed windows. They can even exclude poor-performing aluminium frames without a athermal break. Further, they’ll even issue fines for non-compliance. That’s a model we could follow, particularly in our colder cities/Regions/States.
What struck me was that, even though she was talking about working to a budget, she believed that double glazing was the best choice. In the article, Rebecca advises…
Don’t dismiss double glazing as an option Most of the cold and heat enters through windows so double glazing has been installed in these aluminium-framed windows. They look smart, contemporary and the double glazing does not compromise the frame structure which is lighter than a timber frame. Double glazing should be considered for all projects; you may be shocked by how economical it can be and it provides a very comfortable environment.
In the article, she went on to discuss her preference in framing material…
Consider long-term maintenance costs uPVC windows are relatively new in Australia, however they are incredibly durable, low maintenance and can resist wind, rain, corrosion, peeling and chipping. Something to consider for ongoing costs of your renovation.
More and more architects are recommending double glazing to their clients, with many good reasons!
The frustrating thing for me is that good adjustable external shading can fix a lot of the overheating problems.
Roller Shutters Can Be One Shading Answer
Before last summer, I installed those European external roller shutters (made in South Australia, and reasonably priced with solar powered motors) on my most exposed windows, along with a reflective roof coating. Despite a pretty hot summer in Melbourne, my living room never went over 25C with no cooling. In the past it would get to high 20s-30.
Shade Cloth Is Another Excellent Form Of Adjustable Window Shading
I also helped design a lightweight holiday home on the Victorian south coast neary 20 years ago. It had quite a lot of low-e double glazing, which made it fantastic in cooler weather. In summer we would hoist large areas of shade cloth and (with the help of the coastal climate) it was always comfortable without active cooling. My impression is that this was because the shading kept the direct sun off the windows, and the low-e coating reflected the re-radiated heat from the ground and decks. I was there one hot day when I didn’t bother to put up the shading: it was 35C in the living room by 10am!
Unfortunately, The Building Regulations Need Updating On Shading.
A concern to me is that, as far as I understand, the building regulations don’t allow you to rate a home with high performance internal or external adjustable shading. And the basic model assumes the home has fairly light coloured Holland blinds that are pulled down if significant sun falls on the window. This means consideration of effective shading is undermined by the present regulations… Someone needs to do more work on this.