Dispelling the "just for cold climates" myth of energy efficient design and construction

Australians could reduce cooling and heating bills with double glazed window systems

Australians have a fantastic opportunity to decrease their energy consumption and greenhouse gas production levels by adopting higher performing double glazed window systems like the MAX™ range. Unfortunately, seizing this opportunity is stalled by a misconception about how much double glazing contributes to lower energy bills and increased comfort of the people inside.

Double glazed windows deliver many energy saving and thermal comfort benefits in cold climates. However, double glazing helps keep the heat out on a Queensland summer day as it as it keeps the cold out on a Tasmanian winter day.

According to research by the Glass & Glazing Association of Australia, 87 per cent of a building’s heat gain comes through the windows, entering through standard systems with little or no resistance. In Australia, approximately 70 per cent of new homes come with air conditioning installed, but less than five per cent are built with double glazed windows. Changing this statistic and installation of energy-efficient double glazed window systems could reduce the need for air conditioning, delivering environmental and economic benefits for the life of the building.

One ought not discount the value of thermal comfort for people living and working inside a building. A US citizen and resident until just a few years ago, the windows in Australia was one of the first major differences I noticed when I moved here – particularly the lack of double glazing.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in the moderate climate of Portland, and lived in Las Vegas, an extreme climate, for several years, but never lived in a home with single glazed windows until coming to Australia. The homes I’ve lived here I’ve experienced as uncomfortable hot during the day when the sun pours through the very large, single glazed windows and uncomfortably cold at night (ie, seeing my breath when I exhale). This is in contrast to living in the US, where the extremes between night and day temperatures – regardless of mild or hot climates – felt much more controlled, making day-to-day life more comfortable.

My family and I have been looking for a home to buy and, due to my recent experiences living in single glazed homes, single glazing in a house is one of my “deal breakers”. And, for the year we’ve been looking, I’ve seen only one double glazed home. I keep finding myself asking “why?” and I keep getting the same answer, “since it’s not cold here, we don’t need it”. However, my personal experiences living in a very mild climate (Portland) and an extremely hot climate (Las Vegas), indicate otherwise.

Choosing double glazed window systems for commercial and residential buildings supports:

  • greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • enhanced thermal comfort up to 5˚C warmer in winter and 10˚C cooler in summer
  • an energy-efficient building envelope
  • a reduction in condensation
  • saving of approximately 40% to heat and cool the building
  • reduced reliance on orientation

To learn more about MAX™ and how the EDGE performance enhanced window systems can help your next project in a cold or hot climate be more thermally efficient, talk to team EDGE.