Triple glazed windows are becoming an increasingly popular option, particularly in the aluminium space. The difference between double glazing and triple glazing is the number of panes of glass they have. Double glazing has two panes with air or insulating gas, like argon, in between. Triple glazing is exactly the same but consists of three panes instead.
It has been a popular choice in places such as Switzerland and Norway due to their cold climates. It has become increasingly popular in the UK because of its benefits.
The performance of walls, flooring, windows or roofs is assessed in U value. U value is the rate at which heat escapes through a window. The lower the U value, the better the window. Single pane traditional windows will typically have a U value of 5. A double glazed window will typically have a U value between 1.6 and 1.4. Triple glazing has a low U value of around 0.7.
Improves energy efficiency and energy rating
Energy efficiency is improved by variables such as the type of air or gas used in the space between the panes, warm edge spacer bars around the perimeter to reduce thermal bridging and different coating on the glass to reduce energy loss from the inside. The frames themselves also have a large bearing on the overall performance (as well as the insulation). Insulated frames that have a good airtightness rating are recommended.
Thermal efficiency-Reduced heat loss
Whilst a double glazed window is perfectly adequate, a triple glazed window is just a little more comfortable, it hangs onto heat just that little bit better, the surface temperature of a modern, energy-efficient double glazed window is 16°C in a room heated to 21°C where triple glazed can offer 18°C.
Increased home security due to its strength and extra layer of glass
The security of a home can be enhanced when installing triple glazing. Triple Glazing is strong due to the extra layer of glass.
Improved acoustic performance and noise reduction
Double-glazed windows can achieve an acoustic performance in the range of Rw32. This can be improved into the low 40s with some types of triple glazing — the difference on a busy road between a good night’s sleep and a disrupted one.
Any home improvement which increases energy efficiency with a positive influence on the environment will result in a more desirable home and therefore an increased valuation.
Triple glazing is widely used in cold climate countries like Sweden and Norway, and the ultra-low energy standard requires triple glazed windows with a U value of no more than 0.8. To get a window with such a low U value, you have to not only switch to triple glazing but also insulate the frame itself, as well as using more expensive manufacturing techniques — the gas krypton tends to be used, instead of argon.
Triple glazing may not make sense in the UK climate. Triple glazing is more costly to produce, produces much heavier sections and has an embodied energy approximately 50% higher than double glazing.
However, the benefits of increased U values and reduced energy bills may soon absorb the initial installation costs . Triple glazing adds an intangible comfort factor to life indoors in the colder months.
The lower U values of triple glazed windows helps towards minimising internal condensation issues as the heat is kept inside the building and typically stops the cold external temperature reacting with internal warm air resulting in condensation.
Triple glazing offers superior noise reduction to double glazing, resulting in a warmer and quieter home. The units are ideal for north facing windows or where the windows suffer from little natural sunlight. Depending on the placement of windows and the elevation of a property, triple glazing may not be required in every area therefore it is possible to mix and match double glazed and triple glazed units to suit a particular home.
If you already have double glazing and want to upgrade your windows without having to invest too much money, what actions can you take?
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