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We’ve talked a lot about what we can do to make our homes more energy efficient, and we’ve mostly focused on double glazing units combined with good overall insulation as the primary ways to save on energy bills. Another option that people are starting to talk about more and more is triple glazed windows. If two’s good, shouldn’t three be better?
Well, yes, and no – there are advantages and disadvantages to both double and triple glazing, and you have to consider if it’s the best option for your situation.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider in that regard.
It’s all about making your home more energy efficient. The government’s Code for Sustainable Homes is the main driving force, with the goal of primarily building zero-carbon homes come 2016.
Since heat can be easily lost through windows more than any other part of the house, it makes sense to focus on making improvements to these in order to prevent that (in addition to other methods and materials focusing on other areas of one’s home). Double glazing is the most common option used in this situation, though triple glazing is slowly becoming more popular.
Triple glazing can be twice as good as double glazing when it comes to heat retention, based on their respective U-values, which is the amount of heat that a material or a fixture lets through. The lower the U-value, the more energy efficient something is.
For example, most single glazed windows have a U-value of 5, older types of double glazing units have a U-value of 3, and newer types of double glazing units have improved to the point of having U-values of about 1.6. Coincidentally, current building regulations state that any new window that is to be installed today have a U-value no higher than 1.6.
Triple-glazed windows, for the most part, are required to have a U-value no worse than 0.8, according to Passivhaus UK.
Here’s a quick, short list of the benefits of triple glazing versus double glazing:
The simple fact of the matter is that triple glazing is more expensive, and the amount you save on your energy bill may not exactly be in proportion to how much you spent to have triple glazing installed. You’ll still save more than you would compared to what you get with double glazing units, but it may take longer to recoup your investment.
Triple glazing units are also heavier, and may potentially damage walls if improperly supported. It’s also important to make sure that triple glazing is fitted and sealed properly, otherwise it can perform far worse than a standard double glazing unit.
At the end of the day, you will want to consider if it’s right for you and if it’s worth it. Are you looking for the most energy efficient solution, and money is not an issue? Then by all means, go for triple glazing.
Are you looking for the most cost-efficient solution in terms of money spent in proportion to the savings you’ll get on your energy bills? Then you may want to consider good double-glazing units in combination with other simple, lower-cost improvements to your home, such as having heavy curtains and closing them at night.