We all want to live greener lives. We recycle and carpool but what else can we do? One of the biggest ways to help the Earth is how we spend our money. Making responsible earth-conscious decisions and purchases can make a huge difference in living a greener life. This is especially true when making major decision regarding our homes.
What is Double Glazing anyway?
Double glazing refers to windows that have two layers of glass with a space between them that is filled with a gas to provide additional insulation than a standard one window with one layer of glass. Double glazed windows are designed to reduce loss of heat to increase the energy efficiency of your home. In addition to the energy efficiency of double glazed windows, they also reduce noise pollution in your home.
What should I look for in a Double Glazed Window?
There are many things to keep in mind when shopping for double glazed windows. You want the space between the panes to be at least 12mm for the best performance. Also what is between the panes? You will want to see if there is a drying agent that will remove moisture trapped in the space. And finally you will want to look at the type of glass being used. According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the best glass to use is low emissivity or Low-E glass. This glass usually has a clear coat of metal oxide on an inner pane of glass. This lets light in but reduces heat loss, making them more Earth-friendly.
How long does it last?
According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, 10% of a home’s heat is lost through the windows and doors. This can be lessened with double glazed windows as less heat can escape through the layer of gas between panes. The industry standard life span for double glazed windows is quite a range from 10 to 35 years (source). Eventually, the gas between panes will leak out and the windows insulation will be reduced.
Wondering if your windows have leaks? Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Cracks or holes in the glass
- Leaks or spaces you can feel cool air through
- Condensation or water vapor in in between the panes
If you are noticing some of these issues with your windows, there are a few choices for repair before you need to replace the window such as applying a transparent secondary glazing film or a temporary secondary glazing in the form of a clear plastic sheet that goes over the whole window.
Where can you get these windows?
Installing energy efficient windows can be daunting but there is a plethora of companies out there. Look for the energy efficiency rating scale that has been established for windows. The British Fenestration Rating Council developed this rating system similar to those used for other appliances, taking into account both the frame and glass when calculating a rating.
Looking for more ways to make your home green? Try these:
- Unplug your appliance when you are not using them
- Look for good energy ratings on new appliances
- Add additional insulation to your roof or ceiling
- Check for drafts (draught) around doors and windows to make sure you have proper seals
- Install shades or awnings on your windows to help regulate heat in the summer but still let heat and light in in the winter
- Install ceiling fans; this is also good for air circulation in your home
- Change your lightbulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs or CFLs; these bulbs last longer, use less energy and give off less heat