Why You Should Install Eco-Friendly Windows During a Full House Renovation
For architects and builders undertaking a full house renovation, it’s a great opportunity to incorporate eco-friendly windows that help create a sustainable home, improving both energy efficiency and the comfort of inhabitants.
Understanding exactly what makes window systems sustainable, plus how they can transform a dwelling, is crucial in order to make the right selection for a project.
Let’s explore the advantages of choosing sustainable windows like those manufactured by Thermotek – and what you should be looking for when specifying.
First off, what window materials are the most eco-friendly?
When it comes to sustainability, the provenance and the lifecycle of the fabrics you choose matter. Glass is made from sand and is a renewable resource, making it inherently eco-friendly. Look for windows made from recycled glass to further enhance sustainability. Opting for well-insulated glass, such as glazed or double-paned windows, improves energy efficiency and ensures better climate control within your home.
Windows made with durable composite materials like fibreglass offers exceptional energy efficiency and longevity and require minimal maintenance. By choosing composite windows made from a blend of glass strands and resin, you’re opting for an eco-friendly option that is both long-lasting and energy efficient.
When it comes to the window frame material, there are a number of sustainable options. Choosing responsibly sourced and FSC-certified wood ensures that it comes from well-managed forests. Wood frames provide good insulation, as does thermally broken aluminium.
At Thermotek, we choose to use uPVC as it’s an eco-friendly option that’s durable, offers excellent insulation and is more affordable than thermally broken insulation.
Our window and door systems are engineered in Germany and locally manufactured in Australia, meticulously crafted to deliver exceptional thermal performance and energy efficiency. The design of our uPVC window frames focuses on heat insulation, structural integrity, and effective sealing.
While PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is still widely used in manufacturing, it contains 43% ethylene, a by-product of oil, and the oil industry’s carbon dioxide emissions contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and climate change.
On the other hand, uPVC – ‘unplasticised’ polyvinyl chloride – is manufactured without the use of chemical plasticisers. Instead, uPVC incorporates strong impact modifiers and fillers, resulting in a robust and durable construction material. Its surface hardness is equivalent to that of aluminium, making it an ideal choice for windows and doors.
Consequently, products made from uPVC, such as Thermotek’s window and door frames, exhibit exceptional toughness. uPVC actually becomes stronger with each recycling, with the potential to become stronger and more durable for over 300 years.
All these characteristics make uPVC an incredibly resilient material, perfectly suited for eco-friendly windows which can also help achieve passive design.
How eco-friendly windows help achieve passive design
Passive design is an international gold standard in sustainable design, originating in Germany in the 1990s. Passive House certification is supported in Australia by the Australian Passivhaus Association.
The ultimate goal of a Passive House is to reduce the energy consumption of a building to a minimum and provide a comfortable living environment for the occupants. It takes a ‘fabric first’ approach, allowing the building envelope to do the work.
When a house meets all the criteria of a Passive House, it should achieve an indoor comfort band of 20-25°C with no more than 10% of the year exceeding 25°C. It also includes limits on humidity.
Passive design is a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency, as it includes harnessing the power of the sun, high levels of insulation, airtight construction and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).
Essential components of a Passive House are its insulation and airtightness, which helps to keep the heat inside during the winter and out during the summer. The building is also designed to be airtight to prevent drafts and leaks, which can be a major source of energy waste.
High-performance uPVC windows like Thermotek’s play a key role in achieving good insulation and airtightness.
How high-performance windows help achieve energy efficiency
Eco-friendly windows like the Thermotek Boutique Series are designed to be highly energy-efficient, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. They have advanced insulation properties that prevent air leakage and minimise heat transfer. This not only benefits the environment but also contributes to lower energy bills and increased comfort.
The uPVC used has high thermal insulation properties, while the IGUs (insulated glass units) use standard Low-E glazing with argon gas.
What gives Thermotek windows a point of difference is that the frames consist of various fusion welded air chambers. These give a superior seal which increases insulation, and the dual TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) seals further enhance thermal performance.
The gap between the two panes in Thermotek windows is the main source of insulation, which slows down thermal transfer by conduction. The systems slow down air circulation to reduce the amount of heat lost in winter and gained in summer.
In winter, when cold air hits the first windowpane, it doesn’t reach the inside environment. Instead, it reaches the gas or air between the panes. By the time it hits the second pane, it is no longer freezing cold.
Thermotek window and door systems keep your home’s temperature more stable, plus cut down the number of times a heating/cooling system must be used – if they’re needed at all!
Eco-friendly windows harness solar power
Using natural sunlight to warm a building eliminates the need for mechanical systems – what could be more eco-friendly than that?
Designing a home to harness solar power helps achieve this. For example, incorporating large windows on the south-facing side of a house enables sunlight to enter and heat the living spaces.
Moreover, passive solar design involves the integration of thermal mass, which stores heat and gradually releases it over time. Techniques such as concrete floors or walls are employed to retain warmth during cloudy days or nights.
The primary advantage of this approach lies in its simplicity and cost-effectiveness in reducing energy consumption. It negates the necessity for mechanical systems like heating or air conditioning. It also enhances the visual appeal of a building by providing natural light.
To achieve true passive solar design, other strategies employed include zoning, shading, insulation, ventilation, and window glazing. While all types of glazing permit heat gain, only double or triple-glazed windows effectively mitigate heat loss.
Thermotek products offer the flexibility to select the desired level of glazing while benefiting from their exceptional airtight sealing. Our Smart Slide Systems are perfectly designed for passive solar integration, as they can be easily opened to connect the indoors with the outdoors.
Manufactured in spacious dimensions, they excel in heat insulation, structural stability, and sealing, all while ensuring effortless operation.
Improved Comfort for Inhabitants
Eco-friendly windows are equipped with features like low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings and multiple glazing layers, which help to control the amount of heat and UV rays entering your home. This leads to more consistent indoor temperatures, reduced drafts, and protection against harmful UV radiation, enhancing your overall comfort.
Thanks to their promotion of great insulation and airtightness, eco-friendly windows create a cosy dwelling with excellent year-round thermal comfort. They also often possess soundproofing properties, making them effective in reducing noise pollution from outside sources.
Eco-friendly windows provide a quieter and more peaceful living environment, allowing residents to enjoy their homes without the disturbances of traffic, construction noise, or other external sounds.
Eco-friendly windows are cost-effective
While initial costs may be slightly higher than cheaper, less sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly windows are built to be highly durable and long-lasting. Durable windows made with high-quality materials, such as fibreglass, responsibly sourced wood or uPVC, are long-lasting and often come with warranties, providing peace of mind for years to come.
Thanks to their high-quality components and the uPVC frames, Thermotek windows are resistant to weathering, corrosion, and fading, which means they require less frequent replacement. It’s also more affordable than thermally broken aluminium.
By investing in eco-friendly windows, you not only save money in the long run but also reduce waste by minimising the need for window replacements.
Put the environment first with Thermotek
Thermotek is at the forefront of design for eco-friendly windows. We are a low-waste manufacturer – all our window and door systems are 100% recyclable and manufactured in a sustainable way.
Get in touch today to find out more about using Thermotek windows in your building project.