Operation Household Energy Reduction: Part 9 – Secondary Glazing

Both to improve the thermal performance of the home and improve acoustics in the house, we embarked on a staged program of secondary glazing for the house. For those unfamiliar with the term, secondary glazing refers to the addition of a glass or synthetic layer to existing windows (both opening and fixed) and glass doors.

Because we were looking for acoustic improvements as well, we opted for a Magnetite system which added a transparent synthetic layer about twelve to fifteen centimetres inside the existing window panes. The synthetic panes have magnetised frames and further magnetised frames are added around the existing windows so that the additional panes fit snugly into position and are easily removed to allow the windows to be opened or for cleaning. The form of our existing windows meant that this system could be employed very easily and in an aesthetically attractive fashion.

Such an approach is obviously very significantly less expensive than full replacement of existing windows with double glazed windows. However it still amounts to a significant investment, so we divided the whole house into three segments. The division was done based on priority for thermal performance and noise improvement.

Now, those caveats to all of this work – from previous posts - again….

1) whilst there are technical fixes that can contribute to energy reduction, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t concentrate exclusively on them. My gadget-attracted persona is fascinated with new photo-voltaic cell technology or the latest approach to circulating filtered warm ceiling air into the house. We have considered or are considering all of these approaches but prioritised actions according to the most significant thermal performance improvements for the lowest cost, specific to our home.

2) Related to this point, we are aware of the relative economic capacity we enjoy that allows us to make some of these changes simply.

3) So we want to avoid seeing this as a way we can “proof” our little home against the rest of the world. 90000 litres of localised water storage might be fine if it makes sense in the context of your local rainfall and reasonable water usage. It doesn’t make much sense if it is to safeguard your lifestyle while the rest of the world runs out of water.

4) And part of the reason for adding these thoughts to this blog is to add to the conversation about what is possible and keep us all thinking about ways we can contribute to this kind of work for ALL dwellings, regardless of personal economic capacity.

5) Our efforts are not necessarily particularly remarkable in the scheme of things, but its fun to tell the story, to be encouraged in what you are doing and to encourage others.

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