All properties lose heat through their windows. Installing energy efficient double-glazing is an effective way of reducing your energy costs and keeping your home warmer and quieter.
Double-glazed windows units use two sheets of glass with a gap between them which creates an insulating barrier, whilst triple glazed windows have three sheets of glass but aren’t always better than double glazed windows. Both options can deliver a high level of energy efficiency; it is not the case that you have to use triple-glazing to gain the most energy efficient window. The space between the glass panes are typically filled with a heavy inert gas such as Argon, Krypton or Xenon, creating a more effective insulating barrier, known scientifically as increasing the R-value (which is the measure of thermal resistance).
Secondary glazing works by fitting a secondary pane of glass and frame, inside the existing window reveal. This is likely to be less effective than replacement windows, as the units tend to be not as well sealed, however low emissivity glass is available for secondary-glazing, which will improve the performance.
Energy efficient double-glazed windows are available in a variety of frame materials including uPVC and more traditional Wood and styles. These windows vary in their energy efficiency, depending on how well they stop heat from passing out through the window, how much sunlight travels through the glass and the amount of air that can leak in or out around the window.
Some double-glazing window and Door manufacturers helpfully use a window energy rating scheme to show the energy efficiency of their product. This is similar to the one you may have seen on appliances such as your fridge, or washing machine. A-rated windows are the most efficient. To check a window’s energy efficiency before you buy, look at its energy label.
Some 60% of homeowners said that their home was warmer since getting double glazing, which is one of the biggest differences people cited that it had made. If you were to replace all of the single-glazed windows in a three-bedroom, semi-detached house, the Energy Saving Trust says that your energy costs savings would be between £85 and £110 per year with A-rated windows. As double glazing should last for at least 20 years, you could achieve energy cost savings of between £1,700 and £2,200.
The most common type of window frame for double-glazed windows is uPVC – or, to give it its full name, unplasticized polyvinyl chloride. Not only is it up to three times Cheaper than traditional wooden frames, but it’s also recyclable, durable and the most energy-efficient frame type. uPVC window and door frames are available in a variety of colours including white, green and Grey Finishes, including woodgrain effect, but white is the most popular option. uPVC is easy to keep clean, too, requiring little more than a wipe down with a soft cloth and a spot of washing-up liquid every now and again. Alternative options to uPVC include wood or aluminium frames. Timber is a greener option than uPVC as it’s a naturally renewable material but tends to be more expensive and needs more and regular maintenance.
uPVC casement windows are so versatile. A Design classic with outward opening glazed units that will never go out of style. They still remain one of the most popular styles today as they suit so many homes and building types. Large casements tend to be the cheapest, but you can choose split casements for cottage-style designs, and small glazed units (‘Georgian style’).
Sometimes outward opening windows are not always practical if you have access issues or you have windows high up. Tilt & Turn windows are easy to clean and provide plenty of ventilation. Even better, tilt and turn windows can be configured in all sorts of ways to suit your home. Continental-style tilt and turn windows open inwards, and look best on modern designs. The ‘tilt’ option provides ventilation with security. They are typically made to order.
The sash window is a mainstay of Georgian and Victorian housing, still widely used on traditional-style new builds. Sizes are typically not standard but windows need to be in proportion to the house, so are often bespoke. Sash windows are virtually indistinguishable from timber and have two major advantages. Firstly, they are more affordable and can make a huge improvement to the comfort and appearance of a property. Secondly, their insulating qualities, easy maintenance and recyclability make them an environmentally-friendly alternative. Sash uPVC windows are available in a great selection of period colours and wood-effect finishes.
Bay windows create an exterior projection to give the impression of a bigger interior. It is also an excellent window style for allowing more light into a room. They are suitable for living rooms and bedrooms, particularly if you are looking to add a distinctive and appealing frontage to your home.
The Window Energy Rating system (pictured above) follows a similar pattern to appliance energy labels, with windows being rated between A+ (the best) and G (the worst). Building regulations require all new windows to be at least C-rated. Each of the big-name companies claim different levels of energy efficiency, some as much as A++.
For now, let’s assume that you’ve finally made the decision, taken the plunge, to buy new windows. There is a lot to think about. But let’s start at the beginning and simplify matters. You will need to choose the right company. There are a lot of companies out there, many of them offering online prices, waiting to sell you double glazed windows and doors. So take some time out to do some research before getting a quote – you’ll know when you’ve found the right one. Remember, cheap is not always best. The following three points should help you make the right choice:
If you stick to the above, follow these three points as a guide, then you’re well on your way to securing the best window, from the best company, at the best price.
Why not have a browse around the superb selection of Windows available from Amber Windows.
No Obligation, Quick & EasyGet a Quote