Going Green, Money Matters

The indirect cost(s) of double glazing

The guys from Ecostar Double Glazing installed our fancy schmancy double-glazed windows earlier in the week. The house is much quieter now. While some noise still comes through, we’re able to watch TV with a 30% lower volume.

Double glazed window from Ecostar
One of our new double-glazed windows.

There’s also a noticeable difference in how the house heats up and cools down. After a warm day, the internal temperature usually drops in the evening, but with double glazing, the heat is trapped inside. The only way to release it is to open up the windows. Fortunately, Ecostar’s windows are designed to maximise ventilation.

Opening the windows to allow air in/out
The window swings out and slides down, making the most of convection currents. Warm air escapes out through the top and cool air gets drawn in through the lower gap.

Unfortunately, our $13k+ windows do not come with flyscreens*. What’s even more unfortunate is that silly us picked casement windows instead of double hung windows. While casement windows are Ecostar’s cheaper option, they can only be fitted out with costly flyscreens.

Normal flyscreens that fit on the outside of a window or on the inside of a window with a winder usually cost as little as $50 to order and install (via Doorite Screens). Normal flyscreens do not fit on casement windows that have extruding handles; only magnetic or retractable flyscreens are compatible. Magnetic flyscreens are the cheaper option, costing approximately $150 per screen. Retractable flyscreens will set you back $280 to $430 per smallish window**. Ask for Tuff Mesh (aka Cat-Proof) and you’re looking at a 15% markup. Gulp. 

The windows are also devoid of dressings, which means that while minimal ambient heat is transferred through the glass, direct solar gain is still a concern in summer. Plus living in a fishbowl kind of sucks. We’ll soon need to fork out for awnings and blinds/curtains for the windows facing north and west***.  Double gulp.

This double glazing thingy is going to end up costing more than our wedding. Thank goodness for little red packets.

*Still, we did get a very good deal on our windows. The installers from Ecostar told Cheap Geek that they had worked on a similar job which set the owner back $20k. By capitalising on Ecostar’s end-of-year and sign-up-on-quotation discounts, we saved ourselves thousands of dollars.

**Like a good Must Be Thrifty, I got basic phone quotes for ‘a small window’ from four different companies.

**By the way, does anyone know what type of window dressings are the most thermally efficient in both winter and summer?

Going Green

An expensive lesson learnt in home improvements

There’s this quaint but somewhat useful Vietnamese wedding tradition where wedding guests gift the bride and groom red packets filled with money for luck. Cheap Geek and I cashed in on this tradition; instead of setting up a wedding registry, we asked our friends and family to gift us money so that we could get some double glazing for the house.

A window into domestic bliss?While double glazing has good R values, there are cheaper ways to improve the passive design/thermal efficiency of a house: door and window seals, roof insulation, pelmets and heavy drapes. With the exception of heavy drapes, none of these things are good at keeping sound out unfortunately, and because we live on a main road, sound is a big issue. Cheap Geek and I are sick of being woken up by morning traffic, of having the trams compete with our favourite TV shows, and I’m pretty sure my hearing’s being damaged by the constant noise. So now that the wedding is over and we’ve kept to the wedding budget, we’re putting in some double glazing. 😀 Continue reading