A product that has been found in our homes for decades, double glazing is found in windows and doors across the UK. Whilst we may all be familiar with these products, few of us are aware of the specific facts and regulations which govern them – so what are they?
Anyone who has considered investing in double glazing is guaranteed to have heard about the financial savings and increased energy efficiency they offer. Theyreduce carbon emissions, improve heat retention and provide UV protection – making them the perfect home improvement.
Yet, many consumers remain in the dark over exactly what these improvements amount to. To shed some light on the situation, here are all the facts and regulations you need to know about double glazing:
The facts: Origins and history
rigin: pre 20th century double glazing is believed to have originated in Scotland.
USA Vs UK: whilst the UK is credited as developing the double glazing technology, the United States was the first to make its implementation widespread,doing so in the 1930s. Double glazing did not reach a similar level of popularity in the UK until the 1970s.
Modern day: an estimated 70% of UK homes are claimed to have double glazing fitted with cheaper installation costs and widespread appeal prompting the popularity.
The facts: Savings and benefits
Carbon emissions: carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by approximately 740kg a year through the use of double glazing. Back in 2008, this saved more CO2 than switching to the best electricity tariff by more than seven times. If everyone in the UK used double glazing then almost five million tonnes of CO2 would be saved.
Heat retention: whilst windows are responsible for one fifth of the heat lost from our homes, double glazing cuts this in half.
Noise reduction: with an additional pane of glass used in their construction, double glazed windows help to keep external noise disruption to a minimum, lowering it by approximately 40db.
UV protection:extra glass means additional protection from UV rays. If a tint is added to the outside pane then UV light is reduced by more than 85%.
Home security:almost all burglars gain access to homes through a door or window. Double glazing makes this harder and a study in Nottinghamshire found estates with double glazing saw a 41% reduction in the number of burglaries committed.
Financial considerations: all of the above benefits lead to impressive financial savings. Increased heat retention saves approximately £80 a year, whilst the most energy efficient windows can generate an annual saving of as much as £165. Double glazing should last for at least 20 years, meaning these savings soon outweigh the initial installation costs.
The regulations: Installation and replacement
Fitting and replacements: in April 2002, new regulations were introduced for double glazing under the UK Building Regulations. All double glazed windows must comply with the thermal and safety standards outlined in this.
Companies: as part of these regulations, businesses which are pre-registered with the Fenestration Self-Assessment(FENSA) scheme can self-certify their work to show it abides by the Building Regulations. FENSA regularly assesses their companies, which exceed 7 million, and offer a five to ten year insurance guarantee for homeowners on all installations.
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