Failing or inadequate double glazing has a bad effect on the environment, the leaking thermal energy is wasted and just escapes into the atmosphere, literally throwing money away. Draughts and rattling windows create an uncomfortable living space and usually mean the thermostat is turned up to counter the chill. New windows and doors stop all the draughts and create a snug, warm home that feels comfortable wherever you sit. With any type of double glazing, the benefits are instantly noticeable but just what is the difference between PVCu and timber in environmental effect?
A study carried out by the University of Edinburgh thoroughly checked the longevity and costs of both types of windows. With the PVCu windows, the frames lasted 30 years, once they expired they could not be fixed and were mainly sent to landfill. Timber windows lasted, on average, 60 years – the tests were carried out on engineered timber, the layered wood that joins sections of timber together and creates a material that offers all the benefits of wood with added strength and structural rigidity.
From the moment a tree exists it is continually absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. If it is carved into statues or fashioned into a chest of drawers, it continues to remove CO2 from the air and convert it into oxygen. Being a totally natural product wood is by it’s own nature, biodegradable – if they reach the end of their lives, windows can be thrown into landfills safe in the knowledge that they will rot down as nature intended.
Mend and make do
One of the most useful aspects of timber windows is that timber windows can be repaired. When the double glazed units fail, they can be replaced, timber windows can be repaired in many instances – making them a longer term viable option and keeping your home operating in top condition – ensuring that your home remains warm and snug and does not frivolously waste energy. Timber is not always a great option for the environment though, they can be a bad move – tropical hardwoods etc are often from unmanaged forests and the chain of custody is not maintained, it is not possible to know where they came from or even what species of wood it is. This is problematic. With all the demand for unusual woods and timber, trees that are endangered or in an area that forbids the felling of tress, it is nigh on impossible to police. Often the trees are cut down illiegally or at detriment to the surrounding area.
Sustainable trees from managed forests
The laws are changing, more practices are being put in place to protect the world’s forests, but still only about 5% of timber can be traced fully. This is where the sustained forests can make a big difference; the timber is properly grown, felled and replaced in the correct way so that the forests remain well stocked and healthy. By choosing timber from these forests you are ensuring that the worlds forests remain healthy – after all supply equals demand, remove that demand and slowly times change and we can take better care of our planet by making simple choices.
The best choice for the planet
So rather counter intuitively, installing timber windows can be the right environmental option when replacing double glazing. In the long run they can also save you money and they certainly add value to you home, and make your property very attractive if you are looking to sell.