People are becoming more environmentally aware nowadays which means that companies are offering more and more energy efficient products. Windows are no different, providing many alternatives to the classic single pane and wooden frame options. Here are some examples of the current window products available, all of which can help you to reduce your energy bills and save money throughout the year (and supported with useful information from the Australia Window Association's Window Energy Rating Scheme, or WERS).
Double-Glazed Windows and their Energy Ratings
Double- and triple-glazed windows work by sealing gas between the panes of glass to slow down any heat transfer from inside and outside your house. Depending on the company, they may be filled with either air or, more commonly, krypton or argon. These two gases are better at reducing thermal waste and are perfectly safe to use. Glazed windows allow light into your home whilst keeping the warmth in and are perfect for those long winter nights where the heating bills tend to increase. This allows you to reduce the amount of time you need to keep the radiators on, thus saving you money.
This concept of heat transfer is called the U-Factor, and it refers to the windows ability to keep out not just the cold, but the heat as well. Keeping a house cool can be just as important as keeping it warm, especially in hotter countries like Australia.
On the subject of keeping a house cool, the Solar Heat Gain Co-Efficient (SHGC) looks at how well a window blocks heat from light. With poorer quality windows, vast amounts of heat can be produced when passing through glass and can cause a room to heat up quickly. By using a window with a low SHGC rating, you will have better control over the consistent temperature within your home.
Are Alternative Solutions the Future?
There are many products being produced each year to provide people with an alternative solution to double-glazing. They vary from sheets of film that are applied to the windows to replicate the trapped gas and increase thermal properties to specialised curtains that again try to replicate double-glazed window concepts. These alternatives offer a cheap solution to those with single-pane windows and may be popular for people in period houses who wish to retain the original windows. However, time and research will tell whether or not they provide better value for money and are more environmentally friendly.