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Geneva Double Glazing Law

Geneva, Switzerland introduces double glazing requirement.

Double Glazing Required In All Geneva Buildings From January, 2016

Canberra double glazing specialist, Karen PorterHow can we make double glazing compulsory in Canberra?

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.

Link to the Official Document (in French)

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Will uPVC windows fade?

 

Will uPVC windows fade or discolour in the Australian sun?

Photo courtesy Magnus uPVC

Will uPVC Windows and Doors Fade In The Sun?

Some years ago, my wife and I replaced many of the old aluminium windows in our house with double-glazed doors. They’ve worked a treat, but there has been one problem. The frames were made of wood, and the wood obviously doesn’t enjoy our harsh Australian conditions. Within four years the first of the doors were drying and losing their colour. They work well and they look good, but there’s going to be a lifetime of maintenance keeping them looking good. I can do without that, and I’m sure you can, too.

So what would we do if we had our time over again? When we get around to replacing the remaining single-glazed windows with double glazing, our choice will almost certainly be uPVC framing. UPVC replacement windows already enjoy a majority of the market in the US, Europe and the UK. Why? Because uPVC is durable, it’s a great thermal insulator, it’s economical, and it’s low maintenance.

So, back to the question we started with, “will uPVC windows and doors fade in the sun?” Search the internet, and you may find customers who DID experience the problem. Ask suppliers of competing frame materials, and you may be given to understand that it’s a common problem with uPVC. The truth?

If you buy poor quality products they won’t perform as well as good quality ones! If the windows are brought in from overseas without being designed to meet our climatic extremes, without meeting Australian Standards, and not Certified under our Windows Energy Rating Scheme, then you could have a problem. Even windows made locally from inferior framing material could have the problem.

Ethical businesses have avoided the problem by only using top-quality uPVC profiles made from material tested to meet harsh Australian conditions. As a minimum, they would meet Australian Standard for Windows, AS2047 , and be Certified under WERS- the Australian Window Energy Rating Scheme .

Now, the whole uPVC industry is taking a huge step forward to ensure that the uPVC windows and doors you buy do NOT fade or discolour.

The uPVC Window Alliance, a program of the Australian Vinyl Council, has published an Australian Industry Code of Practice and Accreditation Scheme for uPVC windows and doors, aimed squarely at ensuring that uPVC windows and doors don’t fade or discolour. Read a full article here…

Measures like this, that raise the standards in our industry, are to be welcomed, encouraged and supported. Customers deserve no less.

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