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What to Look for in Energy Efficient Windows
With a strong focus on eco-friendly and sustainable building materials, it’s now more important than ever to know what to look for when selecting energy efficient windows on building projects.
Why choose energy efficient windows?
Buildings with single glazing, old double glazed or badly fitted windows can lose a significant amount of heat. By using energy efficient windows, you can lower a building’s carbon footprint by minimising heat loss, therefore reducing the need for heating. This in turn reduces fuel consumption and energy bills (creating a significant saving in the long term). Not only will the property be warmer, with appropriate glazing it will be insulated against noise pollution, and potentially see a reduction in condensation – a common problem with older or ill-fitting windows.
With construction clients and home owners increasingly opting for eco-friendly and long-term money saving criteria, choosing energy efficient windows from the start is a sensible option.
What to look for in energy efficient windows
Glass can be insulated by using two or three window panes separated by a layer of air – this is commonly known as double or triple glazing. Double glazing typically offers the highest return on value, because it offers high energy efficiency at a lower cost than triple glazing. Triple glazing can offer a higher rate of efficiency but comes at a greater cost. Modern glazed units also have specialist coatings applied to the inner surfaces of the glass to limit heat loss (and in certain situations heat gain). A Plus Windows offers both double and triple glazed options depending on what suits your needs.
When choosing windows, you should consult the Window Energy Rating (WER), the British guide for energy efficient replacement windows. The WER grading goes from A+ to F, however all new windows in the UK must be C grade or above – you should opt for the highest grade your budget allows to maximise energy efficiency. If building an extension or new development, you should also consider the U Value of your chosen window and ensure they meet the requirements of current Building Regulations. U Values measure heat transfer from the entire window in and out of the building. A lower U Value generally means a more efficient window.
All windows supplied by A Plus Windows have Building Regulation compliant options for both low U Values and Window Energy Ratings of A+, A, B and C – the top scoring options for energy efficiency.
Windows made from aluminium frames have had a surge in popularity due to slimmer profiles allowing for a bigger expanse of glass, creating a much more modern look to buildings. Additionally, the ability to paint the frames with long lasting powder coating to a vast range of different colours is a huge draw. Not only are they an attractive option but they also rate highly on strength and durability. As aluminium is recyclable they are a more environmentally friendly option than UPVC and the energy required to extrude the material in the recycle phase is lower than other materials, meaning a lower carbon footprint in this respect. Due to the strength of aluminium it can hold larger panes of glass, offering a higher level of insulation and frame sizes in certain cases up to 3 metres high.
As with any aspect of a building project, correct installation is key to the performance of energy efficient windows. Gaps between glazing and the frame or between the walls and windows will quickly negate any benefits of double glazing by letting heat escape and creating drafts. Ensuring you have a trusted and qualified fitter is crucial to the efficiency of the windows.
If you have any questions regarding windows, our in-house support team can assist with all queries on energy efficiency, thermal performance and installation guidance.