Double-glazed windows contain two panes of 3mm-thick glass separated by a 6mm-thick layer of air or gas, and it’s this sealed-in air or gas that acts as an insulator. Heat transfers through glass, and double-glazed windows slow down that heat transference, reducing the amount of heat escaping in winter and creeping in during summer through the windows. Your home will passively maintain more comfortable living conditions, which means less reliance on artificial heating and cooling, resulting in a reduction of energy costs.
Double-glazed windows can be retrofitted to your home, and there are companies in Australia who specialise in converting single glazed windows into double-glazed by adding a second layer of glass on the inside of existing windows. This is a particularly useful method if you live in a strata unit or heritage unit where you can’t touch the existing windows.
Standard windows in Australia are made from a single sheet of glass about 3mm thick, which isn’t enough to provide noise insulation. While using thicker glass can provide some additional noise reduction, double-glazing is best for shielding your home from noise. However, variations on the standard double-glazed windows can provide more thorough noise reduction. Thicker panes of glass, a greater gap between the two panes and using laminated glass will provide optimum noise reduction.
If noise reduction is a bigger concern to you than energy costs, you can retrofit your current windows with acrylic ones installed with magnets, with an air gap of 100mm. If done properly, this can reduce noise by up to 75 per cent.
While it can take up to five years to recoup the extra cost of double-glazed windows (depending on your energy consumption), this one-time investment will not only make your life at home more comfortable, it will help in the battle against rising energy costs and the noise of increasingly built-up urban areas.
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