Considering efficiency of any product is important before you buy and replacement UPVC windows are no different. In 2004 the Window Energy Ratings (WER) was launched providing a way to compare the energy performance of windows on a like for like basis by the BFRC (British Fenestration Registration Council).
The BFRC are an independent organisation that constantly audit and monitor window manufacturers to ensure that they are producing windows that meet the criteria of the BFRC. The Window Energy Ratings scheme provides a clear indication of how efficient a window is based on an A+-G rating similar to the energy efficiency labels found on fridges and televisions etc. This efficiency label makes it easier to compare products to allow you to make the right choice for your replacement windows.
The ultimate aim of the energy efficiency scheme for windows is first and foremost to reduce carbon emissions from our homes which in turn allows us to save money on energy bills.
Why should I install energy efficient UPVC windows?
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Energy Efficient Windows
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The BFRC assesses the windows to ascertain the U-Value of the finished product. The U-Value is a measurement of thermal conductivity shown as W/m2k (watts per square meter, per degree Kelvin) and determines how well heat is transferred by the entire window either into or out of the building. Essentially, the lower the U-Value, the more efficient a product is as a heat insulator. Typically, modern double glazed units have a U-Value of between 1.8-1.6 and triple glazed units can have a U-Value of less than 1.0.
The ‘solar gain’ of a window is also taken into account when looking at overall efficiency. Solar gain refers to the increase in temperature in a space, object or structure that results from solar radiation. Objects struck by sunlight absorb the short-wave radiation from the light and reradiate the heat at longer infrared wavelengths. Where there is a material or substance (such as glass) between the sun and the objects struck that is more transparent to the shorter wavelengths than the longer, then when the sun is shining the net result is an increase in temperature — solar gain.
Essentially, heat generated from your home is reflected back into the room but also traps free heat form the sun through solar gain, maximising the thermal performance of a window.
How are windows tested for efficiency?
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The main reason why installing energy efficient windows it worthwhile is due to the environmental and financial benefits associated. By making buildings more energy efficient we can reduce energy use and prevent energy waste and is a simple, practical way to make a difference. You can also make savings from day one by installing A rated windows. By replacing single glazed or older double glazed units could reduce your heating costs by up to 20% which could make a real difference to your utility bills. The Energy Saving Trust have information that can help show you potential bill savings when installing energy efficient windows.
This image demonstrates how effective fitting energy efficient windows to you property can be. The right hand side of the property still have the original windows – the reds and pinks show heat escaping. However the newer extension on the left hand side is fitted with energy efficient windows and the lack of reds and pinks indicate how the help dramatically reduce heat loss.
Head to our UPVC window page to see our full range of DIY double glazing styles and get a free quote today to take the first step to upgrading the look and effciency of your home.