What are the environmental impacts of uPVC double-glazing?
The BRE (Building Research Establishment) in the UK is an independent and innovative group of researchers, scientists and engineers who have one common goal of making the built environment better for everyone have a document called the Green Guide which was first published in 1996. It is regularly update using new research and type of product is rated from A+ which represents the best environmental performance to E which is the worst. uPVC windows have the highest rating of A+.
Requiring fewer resources than metal alternatives, uPVC lasts longer and requires little maintenance, if any. uPVC is resistant to weathering, chemical rotting, corrosion, shock and abrasion. This improved performance and little maintenance means less reliance on harsh chemicals involved with preservatives, paint and cleaners.
With a working life of over 40 years – much more in many cases – uPVC is partly derived from the renewable resource, salt. uPVC is also recyclable up to 6 times and can be reused in not only new windows but also commercial floor tiles, stormwater pipe and fittings, plumbing pipe, roadside guideposts and many other applications.
Not only does the actual production process create less energy, but also long-term uPVC will outlast timber and aluminium in terms of ‘life expectancy’, thereby eliminating the need for additional energy requirements as a result of replacing warped timber or corroded aluminium windows.
The only drawback of uPVC double-glazing is replacing the window in order to switch to a uPVC double-glazed window. While materials are being replaced before their time – which in some cases may be considered a environmental impact – the energy savings achieved by far outweighs any negative impacts and any aluminium windows we take out will be recycled.