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The Layman’s Guide to Glazing Options: Know Your U-Values

Nov 11, 2016

Ireland spends €6.5 billion on imported fossil fuels every year. Obviously, most of that fuel is used for transport and energy generation. But a large proportion of that amount is spent on domestic heating.

Overall, domestic energy accounts for 26% of Ireland’s overall energy needs. When it comes to heating our homes, water and cooking, oil is the most popular fuel, followed closely by natural gas.

Saving even a fraction of that amount would amount to a substantial sum. So if you’re a householder, you can save a lot of money by making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible.

Insulating your attic and your walls (either internally or externally), fitting heating controls on your radiators, and making sure you have an energy efficient boiler are all steps you can take, and all these measures are supported by grants from the Better Energy Homes scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

But even the SEAI acknowledge that “Of all the components of a building, it is through windows that most heat is lost.”

So it makes sense to have a close look at your options for upgrading the windows in your house. Here are some things you may want to consider:

  • Firstly, you need to become familiar with the way in which energy efficiency is calculated: U Values. U Value refers to the rate at which heat is lost through a particular material. Basically, the lower the U Value, the more energy efficient the material is.

  • Single glazed windows are the least energy efficient glazing you can have. They have a high U Value of 5.7;

  • Standard double-glazing is slightly more efficient, with a U Value of 2.8. In standard double-glazing, the gap between the two panes is filled with air, which is a poor conductor of heat, and the air makes it slightly harder for your heat to escape from the room through your windows;

  • Gas-filled double-glazing is even more efficient, because the gap between the panes is filled with gas (usually argon) rather than air. The argon helps stop the heat from escaping, giving this type of glazing a U Value of around 1.2;

  • Low-emissivity glass such as Energlaze Low-E-Plus can be even more efficient than gas-filled double-glazing. Low-E glass features an invisible coating on the outer pane which helps keep even more heat inside the room. The U Value of Low-E-Plus is only 1.0.

ENERGLAZE Low-E-Plus glazing units can reduce the heat-loss from your existing windows by as much as 70% when compared to older double glazing with no low-e coating. Get a quote today.

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