If you are considering building a new home or renovating an existing one, then one of the most important parts of your envelope that you should pay attention to are the windows. Investing in double or triple glazed windows is a very prudent idea, especially given the huge and ever-increasing costs of our Australian home heating and cooling bills.
Of course, double and triple glazed windows are more costly to purchase initially than their single paned equivalents; while you are spending the money to install/replace why not do it right, because the service to install won’t be much different. Good quality windows can bring immense benefits in comfort and energy savings that you will get back via heating and cooling your home. Apart from ending up with a beautiful and energy efficient home, double and triple glazed windows can also boost the overall value of your home.
So, what do you want in glazing?
- Energy Efficiency
- Sound Proofing
To a certain degree, these features can conflict.
The wider the gap, the better the soundproofing performance
But widening the gap past 20mm can also negatively affect the U-Value performance of the glass, due to convection.
Double glazed windows are made using two glass panes within a single window frame. Between the glass panes is a gap that can range from 6mm to 20mm wide. The gap can be filled with air, but can also be filled with argon gas. The double glaze is usually fitted on various window types such as casement, awning, double hung or picture. The frame that houses the double glazing can be made of aluminium or timber but uPVC is considered a great choice because of its zero maintenance, unlike wooden frames that may require consistent maintenance and the thermal characteristics that reduce heating and cooling loss through the frame as compared to your Aluminium windows.
Types of double glazed windows
When shopping around for double glazed windows it pays to know what to look for, because there are a lot of windows out there that are piggybacking on the double glazing buzzword. If you don’t choose wisely, some double glazing doesn’t perform much better than single glazing.
Window type: Tilt and Turn, see below for more information
Glass thickness and gaps for double glazing: (Outside) 6mm-10 to 20mm gap-4mm (inside), any larger or small can impact the performance of the glass.
6mm glass outside for birds and home security
Having a gap of 12mm instead of 6mm gives you a double pane glass that performs over 10% better, while also having significantly better acoustic performance. The width of the glass does NOT help with building performance.
The spacer used between panes is also super important: Make sure you get a plastic/rubber/foam spacer, some manufacturers still use aluminium or steel spacers. These materials are highly conductive, and not desirable for building performance.
Even though many may argue, that the type of window should be defined on the outward appearance of your home, actually the number one priority of your window should be “building performance” and “maintenance”, and then secondly how desirable they look from the outside.
Good quality/good performing windows reduce energy bills, last longer, are less maintenance and stop sound entering your home from outside.
Benefits of investing in windows with double and triple glazing
1. Energy saving
Double and triple glazed windows come with immense cost reduction benefits, chief among them being reduced air leakage and better heat retention. This is very handy during cold winter months when less air escapes through the windows, and with this reducing heat loss. During warm summer months, the double glazed glass allows less solar heat in, keeping the home cooler while allowing natural light in.
2. Sound Proofing
Thanks to the gap, these windows make rooms sound different. They provide better insulation against sound when compared to single pane windows, thus reducing the amount of noise that comes into your home from busy roads or noisy neighbours.
3. Reduced condensation
Double glazed windows with Low-E (Low Emittance) coatings tend to lower condensation build up. During winter, moisture tends to condense on cold surfaces, forming water droplets and this moisture builds up on your window frames. Mould eventually starts growing on these surfaces, steel frame and wooden frame windows start to degrade quite quickly when this is constantly occurring in colder climates like the southern parts of Australia.
4. Increased lighting
Double glazed windows allow plenty of daylight into the home while reducing solar heat gain. Thanks to these windows, you will not be forced to make a choice between energy efficiency and light the way you would when investing in tinted windows. This can further help you cut on energy consumption by relying on natural lighting through the day without having to turn the lights on.
5. Reduced furniture fading
Ultraviolet rays from the sun tend to bleach items like fabric, leather artwork and even paper over time. However, a double glazed window can reduce UV transmission into your home by well over 75 percent, ensuring that your furniture, artwork and tapestries are less exposed to UV’s fading power.
6. Reduced load on HVAC
By investing in these windows, you can effectively reduce the peak heating and cooling loads on your HVAC units. This reduces the operating costs while increasing the lifespan of your units. In a home with energy efficient windows, smaller HVAC units can function just as effective as a larger home with a larger unit and non-energy efficient windows.
7. Upgrading your window glass to the current Australian standards
In most older homes, it is likely that a greater percentage of window and door glasses do not meet the current glazing codes. It may be possible that the glass panes in your home are made of thinner glasses than what is mandatory. In addition, in critical home safety areas like the windows, doors and bathrooms, the existing glass may not meet the required standard. By investing in double glazed window panes, you will bring your home to the current standards while improving its security as well. This is because these glasses are thicker and hard to break.
8. Improve your home’s resale value
These type of windows are becoming more and more desirable, you will enjoy great comfort, security and safety while having the peace of mind that double glazing will increase the overall value of your home.
9. Security with Tilt and Turn windows
These windows come with dual hinges that allow them to open either from the top or from inwards via the sides. This makes them flexible and very easy to clean. If you have small children in your home then you will appreciate the security aspect that these windows deliver as you can tilt them just a fraction to bring in fresh air while preventing curious children from opening them further.