Choosing energy efficient windows helps homeowners create a comfortable living environment, reduce their energy costs, and contribute to a greener planet. However, the variety of options available may be overwhelming, and homeowners must make well-informed decisions based on their needs and goals. By familiarising themselves with the latest regulations and building standards, they can better determine the most suitable types of energy-efficient windows for their homes.
The main benefit of energy efficient windows in Scotland is their ability to prevent heat loss, which results in reduced energy consumption and lower heating bills. In addition, the double or triple glazing of these windows provides insulation, preventing external noise from entering living spaces and shielding buildings from penetrating winds.
Energy-efficient windows can also be enhanced with innovative technologies that further improve their insulation properties. For instance, low-emissivity low-E coatings applied to window panes act as a reflective barrier that bounces heat back into interiors and blocks out the cold, significantly reducing energy consumption and saving homeowners money. Furthermore, gas fills such as argon and krypton sandwiched between window panes help further impede heat transfer, further lowering energy bills and increasing comfort levels.
Frame materials also play an important role in determining the thermal efficiency of windows. Typically, wood frames are the most effective at insulating, followed by uPVC and aluminium. However, all three options can be made more energy-efficient by incorporating a thermal break in the frame, which consists of a material inserted between the two panes to prevent conductive heat loss.
Additionally, homeowners should consider the environmental impact of their chosen windows, with timber frames being considered the eco-friendly choice due to their carbon-negative production and superior insulating properties. Despite these benefits, wooden frames require periodic maintenance and are more vulnerable to weather fluctuations than uPVC and aluminium.
Before selecting the ideal energy-efficient window, homeowners should consult with a professional to assess their home, perform a home energy assessment, and obtain quotes from approved installers. They should also explore the different options available, including double and triple glazed windows, to find the best solution for their needs and budget.
If the cost of installing energy efficient windows is a concern, there are government-backed schemes that can help eligible Scottish homeowners offset these costs. The Home Energy Scotland Loan Scheme, for example, offers interest-free loans to homeowners to finance energy-saving improvements, such as the installation of double glazing.
When shopping for energy efficient windows, homeowners should look at the BFRC rating of each option to get an idea of its performance. The BFRC is a UK-wide organisation that checks and rates the performance of each window, assigning a rating from A++ to G, with A being the most energy-efficient. Additionally, the u-value should also be considered when comparing different window options. This figure is calculated by dividing the window’s air leakage rate by its insulating value, with lower figures being more energy efficient.