If you think your windows don’t affect the overall comfort of you and your family, think again. It’s not just for a good view. Your windows open your home to nature which allows you to take advantage of natural light and ventilation at home.
With that, leaky windows are responsible for the sudden increase and decrease of the temperature inside the house. During the cold months, about 40% of the warm air generated using a heater escapes through your windows. Some windows also trap heat from the sun, making your home 87% warmer every summer.
This means one thing:
You’re throwing your money away every day or each year when you disregard the kind of windows your use and how you installed. Leaky windows cost more and you’ll see it reflected on your power bills.
Good thing there are technologies which improved the quality of glass and coating used in our windows. We now have tinted double glazed windows which act as a barrier to keep indoor-generated heat from escaping (winter) and to block most of the sun’s heat from entering (summer). Some high-quality window films can even block up to 99% of UV rays. In addition, countries established building codes and regulations in installing windows to ensure that homes fit the local climate.
If you’re interested in adding or switching to an energy-efficient window, here’s what you need to know:
When to hire or DIY
You can DIY this project if you can handle the amount of work that’s involved. If it requires you to deal with the council, you need to process those papers and wait for it to be approved before you proceed to construction. If you need an extra hand, you can always hire a local carpenter whom you can trust to create the hole for the window or fix any damaged part of the drywall.
However, if the addition or upgrade of your windows is a part of a bigger home renovation, you might need the help of an architect or a building designer. An architect with experience in green building is a plus. You could use their connections to find and purchase the best and affordable green windows in town.
The other considerations to think about
Changing your windows gives you style freedom. Take that chance to try something that looks different from what you previously had. Choose a different style, frame material and colour. Rescale the size of your windows. Doing so allows a lot of natural light in the room which helps nourish your body with vitamin D. It also helps you sleep better at night.
Matching the windows with the climate
There are two things that can help you understand the efficiency of the window you’re buying. The first is the U-factor or U-Value which measures the window’s ability to insulate. The lower the U-Value, the more insulated your glazed windows are. Then you have the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) which tells you the amount of solar radiation that can pass through the glass.
We have eight major climate zones here in Australia. People living in areas that experience an extreme cold weather should prioritise a window with low U-Value. For those who live in areas that experience longer summer seasons, invest in a window with low SHGC.
These are just general guidelines. For a more personalised advice, it’s best to invite a window professional for a site visit. This way, the pro can fully assess the window strategy that fits your local climate and your home’s orientation. You don’t need higher-efficiency windows in all areas of your house. Most professionals prefer to install it in areas where the sun is more intense. The rest of the house’s windows are better with regular windows in order to save money on construction.
The extra benefits of upgrading to an energy-efficient window
If you live in a noisy neighbourhood in the city, then you will feel blessed for having high-efficiency windows. The modern models have are almost soundproof, they block the noise of the cars on the freeway. It’s a must if you live in an area where you can hear the chooga of the train and zoom of an aeroplane. These outdoor noises are irritating and it shouldn’t be heard at home where you’re supposed to feel relaxed.
Energy-efficient glass also protects paintings and upholstery inside your house. If you collect art and display expensive rugs at home, you need windows that block UV rays to protect your prized possessions. Exposure to high levels of UV light makes paint and textile fade faster.
If you have specific questions about upgrading your current windows to energy-efficient ones, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away!
Charlene Ara Gonzales is a design writer at Superdraft Australia. Their team of architects and building designers are one of the leading in green, sustainable design for residential and commercial construction. Follow their journey of disrupting the industry on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.