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Advice on double glazing ?

By Raf - 14 September 2009 31

Hello Rioters. 

We are looking for your advice, good and bad experiences on double glazing of windows. 

We have purchased a house backing onto a main road so we are looking to reduce the noise in the bedrooms.  We aren’t complaining, it’s not unbearable, the road was obviously here before us and we were aware of the issue before buying, but we are looking to reduce a little bit of noise to make sleeping just a little more restful. 

We will be buying heavy drapes, with pelmets etc, but want to know if you have had experience with double glazing – good Canberra companies, not so good companies – and any indication of a price would be a bonus.  Most importantly – does double glazing actually work for noise reduction ? 

Thank you, any advice much appreciated!

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Advice on double glazing ?
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travissimons 1:43 pm 19 Feb 15

Double glazing your windows seems like a good idea. My parents did it to their house and it actually prevented someone from being able to break into their house. It seems to also lower the cost of their heating bill. http://www.envirovision.com.au

Scaarj 4:29 pm 03 Sep 10

Hi gungahlin Al and Canberra Sustainable House. When are your tours, I have heard of your house and how it is cut off from the power grid. I wouldn’t mind to see it :), when do you do guided tours?

Also, while doing some research, I hit a bit of a snag. What exactly is Energy Advantage (EA) glass? I get the feeling its just a low E coating. But I’m noticing that these EA windows are still achieving a relatively high SHGC rating of around 0.5

So, what is EA glass?

If it’s just clear glass with a Low-E coating, how can it achieve a high SHGC rating?

Gungahlin Al 5:36 pm 04 Jul 10

I would imagine the two different thicknesses you talk about is because each absorbs sound of different wavelengths. the sound that passes through one thickness would pass through the second sheet if it were the same.

I look forward to triple glazing being available and cost effective.

Canberras.Sustainable.House 8:02 am 04 Jul 10

We have a showcase sustainable house in Ainslie and conduct guided tours on a regular basis. Our windows are double glazed throughout and we also added some additional features ensuring they are high performance windows. Such as low E cotaings, gas fills to gap and timber frames. The end result is excellent thermal performance. Combined with passive solar design principles we included, our home does not drop below 18 Deg C in winter and does not exceed 25 Deg C in the hottest summers. The double glazed units are a contributer to this.

High level accoustic insulation requires two ingredients, difference pane thicknesses (eg: 4mm & 6mm, rather than 4mm & 4mm). Ideally the gap should be at least 20mm. Most double glazed units have a 12mm gap or less. Irrespective you can expect a significant reduction in outside noise with double glazed units.

The positive message is that double glazing is becoming less expensive as demand increases. At present double glazing occupies approx 53% of the ACT glazing market. Supply and demand will drive costs down. In the USA double glazing is cheaper than single glazing – a comforting thought.

Gungahlin Al 3:22 pm 25 Oct 09

Ha! Didn’t realise this was a resurrected post.

cranky 12:59 pm 25 Oct 09

It sounds like there may be a couple of versions of ‘comfort glass’. One of them has a ‘film’ deposited on the inner face. Whatever you do, DO NOT use any metal scraper, blade or other metallic object on the glass. It will cause a dark discolouration which cannot be removed.

Learned the hard way!

Gungahlin Al 8:27 am 25 Oct 09

Great thread, and generally the advice given is spot on. Sepi, *plain* DG won’t don’t a heap of good on a west-facing window because it only addresses conducted heat. It does nothing to stop radiant heat.

Some basics will help people understand the differing needs for glazing – advice that is unfortunately lacking among glazing retailers here (or so I found when product sourcing 2 years ago).

There are 3 types of heat transfer:
Radiant is when the light itself hits something and warms it up. The visible light band is absorbed by that thermal body and re-emitted as long-wave or infra-red light, or put simply: heat.
Conducted is where a body is heated on one side and conducts that heat through itself and emits it on the other side.
Convected is where heat is transferred by the air itself being warmed and then moving (usually up). When radiant heat warms things up, then convection moves that warmth around the house – but it is fairly inefficient at warming up thermal bodies – which is why ducted heating doesn’t do much to warm the building fabric (particularly floors) making it quite inefficient.

So to glazing types:

Plain glass does nothing to stop radiant heat – it is clear for the very reason of letting light through. But this means it also lets not just visible light through, but also short-wave (ultraviolet) and IR. So the UV fades all your stuff, the IR conducts through the glass to then heat the air on the inside, and the visible light hits everything inside and is also converted to IR (heat). That’s in summer. In winter, it does a brilliant job at conducting all your heat outside. Single layer plain glass is a bad option for every single window in your house in Canberra (except in your garage).

Double glazing is just two sheets of plain glass, so you can see that it also wouldn’t do anything to stop radiant heat, because the visible light passes right through, and heats up everything it lands on. But there is an air space between the two sheets, and it is this that inhibits the conduction of heat in either direction, depending on the season. The larger the air space, the better it does. You can also get the space filled with Argon gas instead of plain air, and this improves the blocking even more because Argon is an inert gas so conducts heat even less.

Low-E film filters both the UV and IR ends off the spectrum, allowing just the visible light through. This film is usually placed between two sheets of glass in a lamination – no air space. Typical domestic product is called Comfort-Plus by Pilkington and is 6.38mm thick. This does a great job of reducing the heat that radiates into your home in summer or out of it in winter, plus it chops off the UV and protects your furnishings. And being laminated, it also does a good job at sound insulation and is harder to smash through, giving a security benefit. But without the air gap, it does still conduct heat through it. And you do get a fair bit of condensation inside in winter. It is a good product, that probably gets you around 70% of the thermal performance of DG, but with added benefits of UV filter, security and is cheaper.

DG with Low-E adds to the cost, but circumvents the short-falls of plain glass DG. But it costs more.

Of course there’s also the frame. I believe around 30% of heat loss on poor windows can be through the frame – through conducting through the frame itself (aluminium frames) and through poor sealing. Next windy day, go around your house with an incense stick and you’ll be amazed at how much wind is blowing in through your frames (and exhaust fans!) – weep holes in particular. Someone mentioned Atlas being a bit pricey – that would be because they use G James frames, which are “thermally improved”, meaning a lot of attention to sealing them up properly. This is different from “thermal break” frames, where they circumvent aluminium frames’ conduction problems by sandwiching a plastic layer between the inside and outside. I haven’t seen anyone promoting this frame type in Canberra yet. Timber frames don’t have a conduction problem, but can get a lot of gaps and leakage – especially as they age. PVC frames are good both ways, but ones I’ve seen can mark up easily and are then hard to clean. Some of the finishes are ordinary too.

In our own home design, and facing serious budget limits, I recall it being about $11,000 to trade up from the builder’s standard crappy Stegbar frames and single glass to laminated Low-E and better frames through Atlas. To add DG and Low-E was something like another $9000 on top of that. Argon gas another $2000. We went for the low-e laminated solution. Service was woeful at Stegbar, Monaro never got back, then claimed they lost our details. Checked some PVC options, but as said, wasn’t happy with the finish. No-one knew much about their own products, and I ended up talking with a technical adviser through G James Glass in Brisbane. Moen Glass’ online information was among the best I could find.

If you are designing from new, please be careful about your window placement. If you have massive glass expanses facing west (like a new home in Harrison facing west to Flemington Road like a bloody fishbowl), no amount of window improvement is going to stop you from baking inside in summer.

You have to stop summer sun even hitting any glass wherever you can. You still need eaves on the north – at midday the sun is straight over Rockhampton, meaning if you don’t have eaves, you’ll be getting sun in at the worst possible time. Awnings or eaves, plus landscaping are also critical for any windows exposed to the south-west afternoon summer sun. Obviously if windows on the east and west are smaller, they’ll also be easier to shade.

As an aside, when checking out some architects for our design, I went to see Strine. When I asked about double-glazing, she (the architect there) said “We put them on the south windows, but you don’t want them on the north windows because they stop the heat of the sun getting in in winter.” I never went back.

Trade Windows 10:08 pm 24 Oct 09

Double glazing is easily the best home improvement you can make from noise and heat loss pollution do it now you will notice the difference how ever make sure the company is reputable and check at least two references

[url=http://www.trade2public.co.uk]Trade Windows[/url]

sepi 8:36 pm 15 Sep 09

We double glazed one west facing window and results were a bit disappointing for heat.

If all you want is heat reduction (not noise or cold) then external shutters may be better – or the reflective glass mentioned above, although I’ve not tried that.

Someone told me that even double glazing can’t cope with direct western sun beaming onto the glass.

We only did one window in the room though, (it needed replacing), so not a good representation.

Ceej1973 3:53 pm 15 Sep 09

Ceej1973 said :

DawnDrifter said :

excellent thread
is there any problem with just double glazing one side of the house and leaving the other windows as is(ie just doing west aspect and leaving the rest)

Hmmm. Well now you opening up a can of worms. Yes it does make a difference. Google “Double glazing + energy rating” and a heap of hits will come up.This was the best explanation I could find: http://www.abcb.gov.au/index.cfm?objectid=DA77B42F-9749-AE67-E1E5DB1D9E241C08. If you read into some of the hits, there is a big difference between windows on different sides of the house, which City you are in, etc. There are some readings (from that search option) that describe in great detail the rating levels of windows, insulation, aspect etc, and how this triggers whether your house gets a 2 star or 6 stars. A North facing window will attract more points than a south facing window. Stars are broken down into points. For example, my own house is rated at 5 Stars with 13 sub points, so I am just shy of 6 Stars (although that was prior to internal fitout).

Actually, this is better link:
http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:ouFcB_0B3NcJ:www.abcb.gov.au/index.cfm%3Fobjectid%3DDA77B42F-9749-AE67-E1E5DB1D9E241C08+first+rate+energy+rating+canberra&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

Ceej1973 3:46 pm 15 Sep 09

DawnDrifter said :

excellent thread
is there any problem with just double glazing one side of the house and leaving the other windows as is(ie just doing west aspect and leaving the rest)

Hmmm. Well now you opening up a can of worms. Yes it does make a difference. Google “Double glazing + energy rating” and a heap of hits will come up.This was the best explanation I could find: http://www.abcb.gov.au/index.cfm?objectid=DA77B42F-9749-AE67-E1E5DB1D9E241C08. If you read into some of the hits, there is a big difference between windows on different sides of the house, which City you are in, etc. There are some readings (from that search option) that describe in great detail the rating levels of windows, insulation, aspect etc, and how this triggers whether your house gets a 2 star or 6 stars. A North facing window will attract more points than a south facing window. Stars are broken down into points. For example, my own house is rated at 5 Stars with 13 sub points, so I am just shy of 6 Stars (although that was prior to internal fitout).

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