Window insulation options that can save you money

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ARTICLE Holly Jean Brooker

Light, warmth and ventilation are essential factors in creating a healthy, inviting abode; and windows play a key role in achieving this equilibrium. When designed well, energy-efficient windows will lower your heating costs, reduce moisture damage to the home and ultimately help keep your family healthy.

We take a quick look at some of the best window insulation options for your home renovation.

Double-glazing

It’s an area which is often neglected down under. Our northern counterparts take window glazing and home heating seriously, recognising the impact it has on energy efficiency. But Metro Glass explains that the tide is turning. Building standards are being introduced that require new homes to be fitted with double-glazing in some countries. Double-glazing comprises of two pieces of glass sealed together with an air space or gas in between.

The number of layers alone (single, double or triple) won’t immediately equate to greater efficiency. The presence, or absence, of additional elements influences the effectiveness. Low-e qualities (the window's ability to reflect heat), gas fills (sandwiched between glazing layers to improve insulation quality and absorb moisture), and the frame's materials all play a role. The extra cost will pay off longer term, as the system offers a warmer, drier home and reduces the amount of energy needed to maintain temperature.

Can double-glazing be retro-fitted? 

If you are renovating an older home, where replacing older windows with double-glazing isn’t a viable option, it would be worth considering retro-fitting current windows with additional glazing panels. This enables your home to have the benefits of double-glazed windows without the cost involved in full window replacements. The additional panels simply adhere to the existing window.

In fact, according to MagicSeal, installing new double-glaze frames into wooden joinery can actually be detrimental, as water can leach into the wood, causing the seals to fail prematurely. The retro-fit system is less intrusive and is well suited to timber and aluminium frames.

MagicSeal explains: “The panels are manufactured from premium quality clear optical grade acrylic sheet, high-performance, high temperature plastics and strong quality magnets. Improving your property’s thermal efficiency, this system is energy and thermal efficient and reduces your heating costs.”

The environment benefits also, as windows are not being replaced, which reduces landfill build up.

A glass-slide window

What are the benefits of Window film?

Film offers an effective and economical alternative to installing double-glazed windows or retro-fit windows. Window film reflects heat energy back inside, preventing it from being conducted outside through the existing single glass panes; and it works wonders when it comes to keeping your home warm.

Film is up to 95% as effective as retro-fit double-glazing, is easier to install and doesn’t impact your existing windows. The cost benefits with this system are dramatic; it is around half the installation cost of double-glazing and offers year round energy savings. The product is easily applied to the inside of your windows within a day, without the need for scaffolding for multi-level homes, which can be expensive!

General Manager of Thermafilm, Chris Olson, recommends Penjerex low-e film which is manufactured by Nitto Denko in Japan. This high performance, high clarity film keeps heat inside in winter without impacting the character or window structure of the home.

Chris explains: “Installing ‘low-e’ thermal insulation films reduces winter internal heat loss by 44% compared to standard single-glaze windows, and are a genuine option to retro-fit double-glazing. Penjerex is especially beneficial for villa wooden windows as you can get 95% of the performance of double-glazed panes at less than half the cost."

Window shades and curtains

Quality curtains are a must-have for trapping heat in and preventing cold air from infiltrating – but they need to cover the full length of the window from top-to-floor, to do their job. Thermal-lined curtains with a superior flock-coating applied to the back of the curtain adds insulation, while reducing heat loss through the windows. On the flip side, they reflect heat during the summer for year round benefits.

Window shades and blinds will control light, solar heat and privacy in the home. From roller blinds, roman shades, decorative panels, velum, skylight blinds and roof light blinds – the choices are extensive. Shades enable the reflection or absorption of solar energy, depending on whether the rooms are north or south facing and what the heating requirements are.

Shade technology has advanced over recent years with improved glare-control thermal insulation. There are a range of eco-friendly fabrics that are natural and recyclable. Whichever window treatment you decide is right for your home, be assured that investing in your window treatments will be a smart decision in the short and long term.

You might be interested in reading: Top 10 window styles.

 

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This article by Holly Jean Brooker featured on page 49 in Issue 020 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page. 

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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