9 Reasons Why You Should Choose uPVC for Windows and Doors
There’s been a lot of talk in the design and construction industry recently about uPVC, and its usefulness as a sustainable material that’s also highly durable – particularly for windows and doors. Yet why choose uPVC over other materials like aluminium and timber? It all comes down to how uPVC is made, plus how its superior insulative qualities make it an excellent choice for building a truly energy-efficient home.
At Thermotek, our eco-philosophy underpins everything we do. We’re continually researching the latest ideas around practical sustainable living, which we discuss regularly on our podcast Thermotalk.
Thermotek windows and doors are engineered in Germany and manufactured locally in Australia, crafted for outstanding thermal performance and energy efficiency. The design focuses on heat insulation, statics, and sealing. When it comes to manufacturing sustainable windows and doors, we use uPVC.
We’ve ruled out timber, as we believe that we need to increase the number of trees in the world for a better planet, not eat up more. That’s why we introduced the Thermotree of Life Program. For every order, we plant a tree on our client’s behalf.
We also believe that, while aluminium has its merits when it comes to longevity and durability, it’s expensive and also feeds into the fossil fuel cycle. We’re all about recycling assets that already exist – that’s why we choose to use uPVC.
Sounds great…but isn’t uPVC plastic?
You’ve no doubt heard of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. It’s a ubiquitous, highly flexible type of plastic that’s used for everything from wiring to miniskirts! The chloride in polyvinyl chloride is 57% salt. However, it is also 43% ethylene, a by-product of oil.
The oil industry contributes hugely to emissions of carbon dioxide, the most dangerous of the greenhouse gases, which is causing changes to the atmosphere and leading to Climate Change.
However, uPVC is ‘Unplasticised’ polyvinyl chloride. This means no chemical plasticisers are necessary to make it. Instead, uPVC consists of strong, tough impact modifiers and fillers.
uPVC has long spaghetti-like strands called polymers that twist around each other during manufacture to strengthen the material. The impact modifiers are then added to bind the strands together well. This means that anything made from uPVC – such as window and door frames – has extra resistance to accidental damage. The impact modifiers bond more to the polymer strands and strengthen the plastic.
It also gains extra strength when it is recycled. With consistency, uPVC is up to 6% stronger when it’s recycled the first time. The next four or five times it’s recycled, it will still get stronger but by a smaller amount each time.
This makes unplasticised PVC a hard, tough material, much harder and more durable than PVC. Its surface hardness is equal to aluminium, which makes it an ideal material for windows and doors.
It’s also BPA-free and non-toxic, making it a popular material in the medical industry!
So, why should you use uPVC for windows and doors?
Let’s take a look at nine important ways that uPVC ticks all the boxes for homeowners, builders and architects.
1. uPVC has low embodied emissions
Net-zero or passive homes need building materials with low embodied emissions, that can also withstand Australia’s harsh climate.
Embodied energy is the total amount of energy consumed for the construction of a window or door. The total energy required to mine, harvest, manufacture, transport and install a window.
uPVC is 100% recyclable and sustainable, as well as being low maintenance and easy to install, cutting back on energy. All Thermotek windows and doors harness low-waste manufacturing techniques.
2. uPVC is heat resistant
All materials expand and contract with increasing or decreasing temperature. Our thermal expansion test on our profiles shows how uPVC responds to heat. During the test, we place our profiles in an industrial, hot air oven, at 100 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. The results show our profiles remain intact.
They can also withstand fire exposure of up to 400 degrees Celsius. BAL-40 means Bushfire Attack Level, at a wind speed of 40 km/hr. Thermotek’s products are BAL-40 tested and compliant.
3. It withstands high winds
uPVC has a great capacity to withstand high winds. Thermotek uPVC windows and doors undergo a test that blows wind speeds up to 200 km/hr.
This makes them a safe choice for Australian coastal areas – for example, Torquay on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria has an average wind speed of 50km/hr.
4. uPVC is rust resistant
uPVC also holds steady against salinity, moisture, fungus or rust – without weatherproofing! uPVC door and window frames are incredibly resistant to chemical erosion – plus they won’t harbour moisture and breed mould.
Given the heat and rain that we deal with over the Australian summer, this is an important quality that ensures uPVC windows and doors won’t rust, fade or peel.
5. It’s easy to install and maintain
When it comes to construction materials, uPVC is one of the easiest around in terms of maintenance – a huge advantage when it comes to commercial buildings.
The fact that it is weather resistant and not generally prone to problems such as rust, rot and mould means that Thermotek windows and door frames don’t need to be cleaned as often; nor do they need to be protected by special substances to prevent chemical reactions from occurring, as with timber and aluminium. uPVC window and door frames can simply be cleaned with soapy water!
6. It’s durable
uPVC window and door profiles have a life expectancy of around 35 years due to the stiffness and durability of the material. Thermotek windows and doors are tested in harsh temperatures to ensure that fading doesn’t occur.
Often people don’t realise that ‘recycled’ products can be better and stronger than new materials. Given that uPVC gets stronger as it Is recycled, uPVC windows and doors could be getting stronger and stronger for over 300 years.
7. uPVC is great for design
You don’t need to compromise style for sustainability when it comes to uPVC. The material is adaptable for design and can be used by architects and builders to create gorgeous homes.
The Thermotek Boutique Series 5000 windows and doors system is produced from the global German design and engineered 5 chamber uPVC profile by aluplast. It not only offers superior energy efficiency – but it also offers design flexibility. It has been tested for the Australian climate and caters for all types of Green smart residential projects in both new builds and renovations.
Made of durable, thermal efficient uPVC, it is versatile and perfect for modern sustainable properties. It’s also available in a great selection of Architectural and Woodgrain colours.
8. uPVC window and door profiles are energy efficient
The most important facet of uPVC window and door frames is, without a doubt, that they dramatically improve the energy efficiency and thermal comfort of your home. As a material, it has outstanding qualities when it comes to insulation, ensuring that your building is cool in summer and warm in winter.
uPVC frames don’t conduct heat, whereas aluminium frames do. That means that it stops high temperatures from entering your home in the summer months, lowering the need for air conditioning. In fact, when allied with double and triple glazing, it may completely negate the need for it at all.
Thermotek windows and doors effortlessly optimise thermal comfort. The uPVC used in Thermotek products has high thermal insulation properties, while the IGUs (insulated glass units) use standard Low-E glazing with argon gas.
Thermotek windows and doors make the house airtight against air, wind, and rain, with an innovative locking mechanism and high-quality sealing with no brushes. The window-door systems also require reduced maintenance due to their stable, concealed hardware.
9. It’s affordable
uPVC is also more cost-effective than thermally broken aluminium, allowing architects and builders to install sustainable window and door systems within budget.
The Thermotek Eco Series 3000 windows and door system is an affordable solution when it comes to constructing sustainable property projects.
The system is produced from the global German design and engineered 3-chamber Ideal 2000 uPVC profile by aluplast. The streamlined 60mm profile is fully insulated with a dual seal frame that caters for a wide range of opening configurations.
Contact us today to start the conversation about how our uPVC window and door systems are the best choices for stylish, sustainable properties.
If you’re looking for ideas on practical, sustainable living and design, tune into the Thermotalk podcast! It’s available for download on Soundcloud.