uPVC Windows Alliance

Read all the latest news and information regarding uPVC Windows, the energy efficient and low maintenance alternative to traditional window frames.

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A total of 4,583 modules were installed in the PV system on five roofs at profine GmbH's Pirmasens site. Photo: profine

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There is a common misconception that double glazed windows are only useful in the cold climates of Europe and North America to keep out the cold. However double glazing can be just as effective at keeping the heat of an Australian summer out.

Windows can severely impact on the heating and cooling loads of a building. Standard glazed windows account for 40% of a home’s heating energy loss and up to 87% of summer heat gain in a typical Australian insulated home.

uPVC frames and double glazed windows are relatively new in Australia but common in Europe and North America. In fact, they are the most popular choice for windows in these regions. Worldwide more than half of all new and replacement residential windows are uPVC, that’s almost 290million window units each year chosen for their durability, energy efficiency, performance, low maintenance and style.

Choosing uPVC double glazed window units with a low solar heat gain and low U values reduces or eliminates the need for expensive artificial cooling.

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Windows lose and gain heat by conduction, convection, radiation and air leakage. This heat transfer is expressed with U-values.

As a rating of energy efficiency, U-value can be used to consider performance of windows, exterior doors, skylights and all other exterior building components, including exterior walls.

In windows, the U-value measures how well heat is transferred by the entire window, that is the frame, sash and glass combined.

The lower the U-value, the more insulated the window unit and therefore the better the window will be in retaining the interior’s heat in the winter and keeping heat out during summer.

U-values are important because they form the basis of any energy or carbon reduction standard.

A significant part of the thermal energy transmission can be through the frames, or profiles, depending on how well the profile material conducts heat. Metals are generally good conductors which is why they feel hot to touch when exposed to the sun. This makes them poor thermal insulators.

Timber and plastics such as uPVC are poor conductors which therefore stops the heat transfer from the heat-exposed side to the non-exposed side. PVC and timber window frames are approximately thermally equivalent and provide a high level of energy efficiency compared to a standard aluminium frame.

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The unique challenges that the Australian climate presents when choosing energy efficient building materials, and specifically window profiles, will be explored at a Technical Seminar presented by the uPVC Windows Alliance in Sydney 12 August and Melbourne 13 August.

The seminar will draw on the extensive experience of the European uPVC windows market looking at how window profile quality can be certified locally to stand up to Australia’s climatic conditions.

International guest speaker is Mr Bernhard Elias, responsible for quality and certification under the German RAL window certification system - recognised in Germany and internationally as a symbol for superior quality products and services. He will be joined by Chief Executive of the Vinyl Council of Australia, Ms. Sophi MacMillan in this free technical seminar who will talk about local uPVC window industry developments.

This seminar is organised by the uPVC Windows Alliance, an initiative of the Vinyl Council of Australia, to give specifiers, architects, designers and home-owners information on uPVC windows and how such high performance windows can help to create more energy efficient homes.

“Europe have long focused on using energy efficient windows for comfort and cost savings. And in those regions, uPVC window frames with double or triple glazing are the most popular choice. However in Australia, we have traditionally used timber frames which require high maintenance; or aluminium window frames, which are lower maintenance than timber but poor thermal insulators,” said Ms MacMillan. “The opportunity to have Mr. Elias here to share the European experience will be invaluable as the Australian industry is continually striving to create more energy efficient buildings.”

The invitation to the Technical Seminar is open to all who are interested in achieving energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings and how the Australian certification process will provide confidence in durability and long lasting energy performance.

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It’s a simple goal in modern-day home life ... keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But up to 70 percent of heat is gained or lost through standard 3mm window panes and even more can be lost with heat transfer through metal frames.

In winter, a single-glazed, 3mm-deep pane of glass can lose up to 15 times more heat than an insulated wall of the same area. In summer, single glazed standard windows of an average home account for over 25 percent of total heat gain.window5

Double glazing creates an air pocket between the two glass panes providing an insulating barrier, which significantly improves the window's thermal and acoustic insulation. The greater the gap between window panes, the greater the temperature and acoustic insulation.

Using double glazing with uPVC window frames will further improve the result as uPVC doesn’t conduct heat well and therefore doesn’t transfer temperatures from inside to outside, or outside to inside.

The low conductivity of uPVC as a material, the tight seals uPVC windows provide and the ease with which they can be fabricated for double and triple glazing, make uPVC double glazed windows an excellent choice in energy efficient buildings.

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uPVC Windows are proven. Available across Europe and America for the past 60 years, uPVC window profiles are today the most popular choice to deliver superior performance: worldwide, uPVC windows accounted for 55% of all new and replacement residential windows. That was almost 290 million window units in 2012, chosen for their durability, low maintenance, high energy efficiency performance and style. Here’s our five reasons why uPVC windows are the best choice:

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