Double Glazing - Is It Really Worth It?
Up to 18% Of Heat Lost Through Windows*
Every homes energy efficiency can be improved in some way but one dramatic effect can be achieved through the installation of double or secondary glazing.
Up to 18% of heat in a typical uninsulated house is lost through windows resulting in increased fuel bills, higher CO2 emissions and other unwanted side effects such as condensation and higher noise levels from outside, especially noticeable if you live on a busy road.
Why Double Glazing?
Single glazed windows are notoriously poor at any insulation, the single glass panel transfers cold very easily reducing the temperature inside, thus requiring a greater amount of energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. Modern double glazing consists of two panels of glass sandwiched between the outer and inner frame, commonly the void between these two glass panels is filled with Argon gas which acts as an insulator of heat and noise and creates an extremely effective barrier.
Aside from the benefits above double glazing helps reduce damp within the home by reducing condensation, this in part is due to the fact that the internal panel of glass in a double glazed unit is at a temperature closer to that of the room and reduces the effect of internal air reaching it's dew point and depositing water on the coldest object, usually the window, which is very common on single glazed units.
Double glazing will take a long time to pay back purely through energy saving benefits and should be considered a longer term investment, the installation will create a warmer, quieter environment ensuring a better quality of life whilst increasing the resale and aesthetic value of your home, sometimes by as much as the initial investment.
Double Glazing Standards
A little known fact is that windows can be tested and awarded a thermal efficiency rating in a similar way that boilers and other domestic appliances are awarded an energy efficiency rating. The scheme provided by the BRFC applies a rating from A-G, 'A' being the best for thermal efficiency and allows the manufacturer reaching a band of 'C' or above to display the Energy Savings Trust recommended logo to the window, it's worth asking the supplier if the windows being quoted for have been tested in this way and what level of rating they achieved. A few larger double glazing suppliers are as follows..
Secondary Double glazing
A less costly method but still effective is what's known as secondary double glazing, this usually consists of a frame containing a single panel of glass that is applied over the original single glazed unit, this is a lower cost method of achieving less heat loss and can be good alternative for listed buildings as no planning permission is required.
More information about double glazing and conservatories including planning permissions, costs and types can be found at The Home Improvement Centre - Double Glazing
* Based on a typical Uninsulated Home, source www.energysavingstrust.org.uk