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5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Replace Your Old Windows

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Five ecologically sound ways to replace your old windows, a cartoon house on green grass

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Replace Your Old Windows

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Published on: July 22nd, 2021

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Upgrade to Eco Friendly Windows

The first step in becoming more eco-friendly is to make your home energy efficient, but that’s easier said than done.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to make your home greener, and one of them is eco friendly windows.

Windows account for a lot of wasted energy. They’re often left open during the summer and closed the rest of the year. During winter, they have to be closed to keep warm air in.

In the summer, they have to be open to let in fresh air. This means that your windows are constantly either open or closed, wasting energy and decreasing your home’s efficiency.

Eco-friendly windows are the perfect solution to this. Read on for more information.

1 – Use vacuum double glazing

Vacuum double glazing is a modern, ultra efficient insulation system that helps keep your home warmer (or cooler) and reduce energy usage.

Vacuum insulated glass consists of 2 panes of low emissivity – or low-e – glass separated by a vacuum. Standard double glazing has a cavity of either air or a noble gas such as Argon. This does help the window become more efficient, though the cavity does tend to be quite wide so the window has all it’s ugly innards on display.

Because vacuum glass uses a vacuum, this makes it very efficient – nothing can cross a vacuum. Heat and sound transmission is greatly reduced, resulting in a warmer, quieter interior. 

The gap between the two panes of glass is very small – 0.6mm. The windows look more like single glazed windows and are very attractive. This small cavity makes vacuum glazing ideal for restoration projects in Listed buildings. These projects need specially designed units, often called Heritage Windows.

Vacuum glass make ecologically sound replacement windows

2 – Use sustainable timber

Use timber that comes from sustainable sources for your window frames. Wood is the most ecologically sound material for window frames because while the wood is growing it is turning CO2 into cleaner air. Most timber producers are caring for the environment by employing sympathetic growing and forestry techniques. If you use an ecologically minded manufacturer to make your windows, then your windows will be carbon neutral by the time they are installed in your home. In fact Gowercroft conducted a study with Derby University and discovered that our windows have considerably less impact on the environment than our competitors.

Plastic and Aluminium windows by contrast are not very environmentally friendly. The manufacturing process has the potential to create a great deal of pollution, and the extraction process even more so. What’s more, the extraction of the raw materials involves mining or  oil extraction which causes irreparable damage to the earth and the environment.

3 – Use a modern timber

Windows can be made with what’s called a modern timber. This is wood that has been ecologically sourced and goes through a treatment process to improve its performance. The treatment process is relatively environmentally safe and means that the wood will last much longer than untreated timber.

The treated timber is impervious to water and does not expand or contract due to changes in the temperature. This dimensional stability means that the wood’s protective coating – paint or varnish – is under less stress and will not crack or split. It is these imperfections that rot windows, so a frame that keeps it’s protective coating intact and is less prone to water ingress has the prospect of a very long life span. Timbers such as Red Grandis and Accoya have 50 year above ground warranties and 25 years for below ground or submerged applications.

A word on coatings – using micro porous paint will also help extend the life of your window frames by repelling water while allowing the wood to breathe. Water vapour can escape and the wood stays dryer for longer.

The wood is both energy efficient and lasts for longer – so you won’t have to replace your windows for a long time, again helping the environment by reducing manufacturing and transportation emissions.

4 – Fit the windows properly

There is little point in spending money to have the most efficient windows made from high performance materials if the installation is poor. Heat can escape through the smallest of apertures, so the quality of installation (and manufacture for that matter) play an important role in making windows more eco friendly.

By building the windows to fit the aperture more perfectly and correctly sealing the windows heat loss is further reduced. At the same time, the quality of the installation will also help extend the life of the windows with all the environmental benefits associated with less manufacture.

5 – Dispose of your old windows responsibly

Finally, make sure your old windows are recycled. The glass can be used again to make more windows (or wine bottles so you can have a glass while enjoying your warmer, quieter rooms!). The frames can also be recycled.

Make sure your installer is going to dispose of your old units responsibly – or better still there are some recyclers that will pay you for your old windows!

Conclusion

As a homeowner, eco-friendly windows are a great way to make your home more energy efficient and help save the planet. Not only will they cut down your home’s energy costs and save on heating and cooling, they look good too. We all have a responsibility to care for the environment for future generations. Gowercroft are doing their part by producing eco friendly windows in a reduced emission manufacturing facility. We have also released a range of super efficient windows that are passive house rated – the Frontier Range. Contact us to find out more about our eco-friendly windows.