Home owners across the UK are quickly warming up to the idea of triple glazed windows for their homes, with many of them choosing to upgrade their double-glazed windows to more energy efficient triple glazing. Experience has shown that triple glazed windows do not just improve the comfort levels inside a home and lower the energy bills; they also give a healthy boost to the market value of the property.
Triple glazing is durable, eliminates cold spots that could be present in insufficiently insulated homes, enhances security, and reduces energy bills. The UK government has a very aggressive 2050 target, committing to cut the country’s carbon emission levels by 80% by 2050. The domestic housing market contributes roughly 30% of the greenhouse gasses produced in the UK, which means it is the responsibility of every home owner to do their bit by upgrading their home to be more energy efficient.
As more and more people become aware of the benefits that triple paned windows offer, many are opting to have it installed. While the initial installation cost is higher than double glazing, the return on investment is far greater. Triple glazing also greatly improves a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which has a direct influence on the market value of that property. Here’s a look at the different options in domestic glazing and why triple glazing is the most efficient and constructive solution in home improvement.
Since the early 17th century, glass has been used in residential dwellings. Single sheets of glass were fitted to wooden frames and installed in openings in building walls to provide light into the home while centuries, the only option available was the single paned glazed windows. As technology and knowledge of materials improved, so too did windows. Double glazed windows, where a second pane of glass was fitted to the first, was used in colder countries like Scotland, Germany and Switzerland as early as 1870. The modern version of double glazed windows was developed in the US in the 1930’s. While these were far more thermally insulated than their single predecessors, triple glazing has revolutionized the market with even better energy efficiency as the need to reduce our carbon footprints increased. Now, while single glazing is almost unheard of in the UK, triple glazing has now started to dominate the domestic glazing market.
These windows are made of a single layer of glass fitted within a window frame. They are easy to manufacture, low in cost, easy to repair, easy to clean and allow the most sunlight to enter a house. They are also highly inefficient in keeping heat inside and cold outside in winter and only provide very little noise insulation. They are easy to break and therefore less secure. As technology and thermal insulation improved, single glazing has become virtually obsolete.
As the name suggests, these windows employ two panes of glass instead of the traditional single pane. These two panes are not simply stuck to each other the way double glazing was originally made. Rather, to increase thermal resistance and lower the rate of heat transference even more, they have a gap between them that is filled with Argon [Ar] gas. Argon gas is inert and is heavier than air, hence it offers better insulation. The unit’s insulating properties help to minimize heat loss through the window and improve sound insulation.
These windows make use of 3 panes of glass with two cavities between them. Though Argon gas is sufficient for use in double glazing, the preferred gas for triple glazing is Krypton [Kr] gas. While Krypton gas is more expensive than Argon gas, it is more efficient in a smaller space, allowing the gaps between the glass panels to be decreased from 20mm to 16mm. Krypton gas is also a better insulator than Argon gas, enabling better thermal insulation in triple glazed windows. This increase in thermal efficiency can reduce monthly energy bills by up to 40%. The additional pane of glass and 2 gas-filled cavities also improves noise reduction, security and comfort levels within the home.
|Type of window||U value||Difference in Temperature near
the inside of the window
|Single glazed windows||5.8||1°C|
|Double glazed windows||2.8||16°C|
|Triple glazed windows||0.8 to 0.6||18°C|
One of the major differences between triple glazed windows and other types of windows, is that triple glazing cannot be retrofitted into existing frames. Triple glazed windows are custom made to fit the windows and style of a home.
Triple glazing windows are manufactured in a highly-controlled environment to ensure their optimal efficiency. They are not assembled as individual units but rather as a complete, sealed unit. Every part, from the frame and spacers to the glass, is custom cut and fit to size. Since the sealed frame is an integral part of the system, the whole window unit works together to give a better result than any other type of window.
Like other windows, triple glazing frames are also available in wood, uPVC, aluminium or aluminium-clad wood.
The table below gives a comparison of the variation in U value when different kinds of frames are used (source).
|Type of window||WOOD||PVC||Aluminium||Aluminium-clad|
|Single glazed windows||4.8||4.7||5.4||n/a|
|Double glazed windows||2.8||2.7||3.2||1.35|
|Triple glazed windows||1.5||1.4||1.9||0.6|
Here are the main reasons triple glazing will be the best choice you will make when choosing windows for your home renovation:
1. Reduced energy bills
Though double glazing is known to be energy efficient, triple glazing is even more so. It allows for extremely good solar heat gain, capturing heat from sunlight and absorbing it into the home. The low-emissivity (low-E) coating on the interior glass, prevents that heat and heat generated inside the home from being lost to the outside again by reflecting it back inside. This creates a more even temperature inside the house while requiring less energy to heat the area, thereby reducing energy consumption and subsequent energy bills.
2. Better security
Double glazing is harder to break than single glazing. By adding a third layer of glass in triple glazing, the window becomes even stronger and more impenetrable. To prevent thermal stress cracking, the central pane of glass is also tempered, further increasing the strength of the window unit.
3. Increased comfort levels
Cold spots and draughts are completely eliminated in triple glazing. Since the window is made together with the frame and not retrofitted on site, the chances of gaps within the frame is eliminated. By using a registered installer, you can also be ensured that there will be no gaps between the frame and the surrounding structure. By eliminating cold air from coming in, you will have an even interior temperature in your home.
The 3 panes of glass and 2 gas-filled cavities also greatly reduce the speed at which heat is transferred to outside. This means that the surface temperature of the interior glass will be very close to the interior temperature of the room, eliminated cold spots around windows.
The insulation also reduces sound from being conducted from outside, allowing for a quieter interior environment.
Triple glazed windows are a completely different class of window that takes domestic thermal and acoustic insulation to a whole new level. They not only reduce energy bills and increase security and comfort levels, but also increases the property’s value in the real estate market. With these facts in mind, triple glazed windows are set to become the first choice of every responsible home owner in the UK.
Published on : 25th February 2017
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