Warm window strategies for winter
Fenestration is a fundamental element of architectural design – defining both outside appearance and interior atmosphere of a building. The percentage glazed surface area of the overall building envelope is an important factor for a building’s energy performance and the general qualities of the interior space. As such, selecting the correct window frames for your home is a crucial decision.
Cobus Lourens, from leading window and door supplier, Swartland, offered some advice on how to go about selecting the windows that will offer you the best value with regards to investment and energy efficiency.
Today, with the ever increasing cost of electricity, you cannot make your selection solely based on aesthetics. When building or renovating, it is a wise idea to do everything in your power to minimise the costs of heating and cooling your home. Selecting the right windows is a critical step.
Energy efficient windows won’t just save you money, it’s the right thing to do.
The most obvious consideration is to look at what the windows are made from – this not only impacts on what the windows look like, but it has a major impact on how well they will insulate your home. There are a variety of materials on the market and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
“Two most popular materials for energy efficient window frames are without a doubt wood and aluminium,” said Cobus, mentioning that timber window frames offer the best insulating value and highest cradle to grave environmentally friendly credentials. “However, they also require more upkeep than other materials.”
Aluminium windows, while not the top performing material in terms of heat transfer and loss have the benefit of being made of a very strong material that requires hardly any maintenance at all.
The technical term for the glass that is installed in the window frame is glazing. Today, you can select windows that offer single-, double-, or even triple-glazing – this refers to the number of layers inherent in the window design. As a general rule, the more layers a window has, the better temperature and noise insulation it provides.
Independent tests have shown that double glazed timber windows are generally the most energy efficient in the South African market.
Glazing coatings are also important and play a big role in how well windows insulate a home.
Cobus said low emissive glass, better know as Low-E glazing, is coated with a thin metallic substance that increases the window’s ability to reflect rather than absorb heat.
He also explained that the installation build quality is a very important factor when it comes to the insulating qualities of any window.
“Even the most expensive and energy-efficient window will not perform effectively if it is not installed correctly. As such, it is essential that professionals install your windows,” he said.