The comfort of our homes has become much more of a priority for many of us over the last 24 months. As we move into winter, that means making sure our homes are warm and our fuel bills are low. One of the most effective ways to do this is to upgrade your windows and doors. Not only will you significantly improve the comfort of your home, but your home will be more energy- efficient, you’ll save on your fuel bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some of the critical things to consider before you undertake this kind of work.
Know your BER
Before you do any major work to your house, you should get a BER (Building Energy Rating) done. Doing this will give you a benchmark of the condition of your home and guidance on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency. The SEAI website has a list of recommended BER assessors throughout Ireland.
Look into the grants available
If you are considering doing any retrofitting upgrades to your home, there are many supports available. There are several different schemes currently running with SEAI. One of these is – The National Home Retrofit scheme – a grant for a complete retrofit of your home. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) are the regulators for the grants. SEAI will cover the cost of up to 35% of the retrofitting work to bring your home up to a B2 rating.
Replacement of windows and doors are included in The National Home Retrofit scheme, and provides for the cost of supply and fitting. Bear in mind that windows and doors are not covered under the Better Energy homes grants. In other words, there is no grant for windows and doors as a single measure. You will find information about the available grants and how to apply on the SEAI website.
Is triple glazing better than double glazing?
There are several differences between triple and double glazing. The first is the number of panes of glass that make up each window. Triple glazed windows have three panes, while double glazed windows have two.
Between each pane of glass, there is a gap filled with insulating gas. The gas allows the sunlight to pass through the window while cutting down on the heat escaping the rooms inside. U-Values for windows are the measure of the heat loss through the window. When choosing your windows, look for products with a low U-Value. A good U-Value would be 1.3 for double glazing and 1.0 for triple glazed windows.
Because triple glazing has two layers of this gas, the windows give better thermal efficiency than double glazed windows. Triple glazing is approximately 30% more thermally efficient than double glazing. So, the energy savings are much higher, meaning your heating bills will be lower.
Are triple glazed windows worth it?
Triple glazing is a more expensive option to double glazing, but the benefits are worth the additional cost. Often people favour just double glazing over triple on southerly aspects because of the extra sunlight. But it’s best practice to install triple glazing on all faces of the house, even southerly facades. When choosing your windows, always think about the energy performance at night when there is no solar gain. Take your time when selecting windows. Do your research and buy the very best product you can afford.
The price difference between double and triple glazing
The cost of new windows and doors is often the deciding factor for which products people choose. Triple glazing has come down in price quite significantly in recent years. Triple glazing is now not that much more expensive than high-performance double glazing. Your budget will have a bearing on whether you choose double or triple glazed windows. Do bear in mind, however, that the additional expense for triple glazing is an upfront cost. Triple glazed windows will offer more significant savings on your heating bills over time so that you will recoup your investment. You’re only saving short-term by choosing double glazing over triple glazing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant