With Scandinavian countries now adding triple-glazed windows, it seems the UK is starting to follow suit, but is the extra layer of glass worth it?
What exactly is a triple-glazed window?
Basically, a triple-glazed window has three panes of glass sealed within a frame, as opposed to one or two. Small gaps between the two sealed units created by the three panes are filled with argon gas, which is heavier than air and therefore provides more effective insulation against cold and noise.
Why opt for triple-glazed windows over double-glazed?
Although there has been a lot of opposition to triple-glazed windows, they do have several benefits over double-glazed. The extra window pane prevents more heat escaping from the home, and blocks more heat out. This is important to bear in mind, considering that 20% of heat lost from the home could be attributed to old double-glazed windows
Moreover, triple-glazed windows are more energy efficient than double and single-glazed windows. The U-value is used to measure a window's efficiency, and the higher the value, the less efficient the window is. Windows with a single pane of glass have a U-value exceeding 5, while newly fitted double-glazed windows shouldn't have a U-value over 1.6, according to building regulations. However, some triple-glazed windows could have a U-value of 0.8 or lower.
Many people rely on triple glazing to make their home more comfortable. If your building's roof, walls and floor are fully insulated but your windows are only single or double-glazed, cold spots will appear around the windows at night, causing draughts and condensation.
Although triple-glazed windows keep heat out of the home during summer and stop cold entering during winter, many wonder whether they're necessary to have in the UK. Triple-glazed windows are very popular in colder Scandinavian climates because they retain more heat, but many have argued that because the UK's climate is a lot milder, we don't need as much protection against it.
Value vs costs
Triple-glazed windows can cost a staggering 30 to 50% more than typical double-glazed windows, and those who have them would not benefit from much higher energy savings. Therefore, they may not be the most cost-effective option for every home.
However, they could be the perfect option if you're looking to reduce the effects of noise pollution. For instance, if you live near a busy road close to a city centre where the sound of passing traffic is a constant issue, installing triple-glazed windows could make your home a quieter place to live, and increase its value.
Pros and cons
For those who are undecided, here's a quick list of the pros and cons you should consider when upgrading your property with triple-glazed windows:
- Triple-glazed windows are more energy efficient with a lower U-value
- They keep the cold out and stop heat escaping the home during winter
- They prevent heat getting in during summer
- They keep noise out, and can therefore add value to your property
- They cost significantly more to install
- They don't help you to save much more on energy bills compared to double-glazed windows
- They may not always be necessary in our mild UK climate
Upgrading to triple glazing while maintaining your home's traditional look
As we work towards creating more energy efficient homes, those who own period properties from different eras wonder how their home's traditional style and distinct features will be affected if they upgrade to triple-glazed windows. Many are conscious about maintaining their home's classic look, of which the windows can play a big part.
For example, casement windows were popular before and during the 20th century, while sash windows were a staple of many Georgian and Victorian homes. However, there are now options to upgrade these and other more traditional types of window to triple glazing, thereby increasing a property's energy efficiency while retaining its signature look.
uPVC is the most common material used to frame triple-glazed windows; however, it provides poor window insulation and may not necessarily complement a more traditional look. On the other hand, timber frames could help you to save more on your energy bills, but will need maintaining and are often more expensive to install. Nevertheless, both uPVC and timber frames are available in a variety of colours to suit homes of almost any style.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.