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How to make your windows more energy efficient

Posted on 12 May 2016

If you’re looking to make a few energy saving upgrades to your home, your windows are a great place to start. As well as reducing your energy bills, making changes to your windows will also reduce noise pollution, shrink your carbon footprint and help prevent condensation. So, what are you waiting for?

To get your home improvements underway, here’s how to make your windows more energy efficient. 

Want to go even further? Here are a few extra ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

Double glazing

Swapping your windows for double glazed alternatives is an effective way to make a dent in your energy bills. If you live in an entirely single glazed detached house, installing A-rated double glazing could save you £120 - £155 per year.

How does it work?

As the name suggests, double glazed windows contain two sheets of glass instead of one. The two panes of glass have a gap between them which creates an insulating layer, reducing the amount of heat lost externally.

Choosing the most efficient glazing

The most energy efficient type of glass used for double glazing is low emissivity (Low-E) glass. Low-E glass usually has a metal oxide layer on one of the internal sheets of glass, letting light and heat in but preventing heat from getting out.

Sometimes, the gap between the glass is also filled with gases such as argon, xenon and krypton, which makes them more energy efficient. The glass may also be fitted with pane spaces, which helps the glass maintain its efficiency by keeping the panes apart. The best pane spaces contain as little metal as possible.

Energy efficiency ratings and u-values

Window manufacturers may also display the energy efficiency of their windows by using an energy-rating scale. The scale ranges from A – G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. The energy label might also display a u-value, which is a measure of how easily heat passes through the material. The higher the window’s u-value, the more heat can travel through the glass, making it less efficient.

Secondary glazing

If you live in a listed building, or are looking for a cheaper alternative to double glazing, you may want to consider secondary glazing. Although secondary glazing isn’t as effective as double glazing, it can provide a solution to owners of older properties who wish to insulate period windows. However, you may still need to gain permission from your local planning authority.

Secondary glazing works by adding a second pane of glass and a frame to the inside of an existing window. Although the unit won’t be as well sealed as a double glazed window, secondary glazing is far cheaper to fit, so can be more appealing. 

Tips for renters

If you rent your property, it’s unlikely you’re going to want to fork out for double glazing. However, there are still a few ways you can make your windows more energy efficient. Opting for thick, heavy curtains can reduce draughts and heat loss from your windows, as can sealed binds and shutters.

You can also draught proof your windows by sticking draught proofing strips around your window frames, to fill the gap between the frame and the window. You can either use self-adhesive foam strips or slightly more expensive metal or plastic strips. If your property has windows that don’t open, you can use a silicone sealant instead.

Wish your home was more eco-friendly? Here’s what the most energy efficient homes in the UK look like

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