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Who would think that something as simple as natural daylight could be so beneficial to you and your family’s health and well-being?
When it’s time to renovate or build your home, it’s a must to consider windows to bring the natural light into your rooms.

The benefits of natural lighting are endless. For starters it makes your home great. It really is the best kind of light to have and will bring out the true colours of all your furniture and fittings. Any chance to make your home look nicer has to be a good thing, right?
Natural light will also make you rooms appear larger and brighter, enhancing their appeal to friends and family. Architects use this all the time when designing homes and buildings.

Sunlight is the best way get Vitamin D. We need Vitamin D to help absorb calcium and phosphorous which are needed to keep our bones healthy. It is also an immune regulator and can help arm our defenses to things like the common cold.

On top of this, research shows it will also help to keep our brains active (especially in later life), maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, asthma and some forms of cancer.

Natural Lighting will decrease your energy costs, freeing up hard earned money to spend on things you and your family enjoy. A day at the beach is much more fun than stressing over the size of your latest electricity bill.

Another great benefit of having natural light in your home is that it can reduce the amount of mould and mildew, making the home a healthier place to live in.

On top of all this, research also shows that natural light will increase productivity and make you feel more positive. This has far reaching effects, especially in children. Children who are more productive and happier will get better grades at school and potentially excel in other activities such as netball or footy. We all want our kids to have the best chance in life so why not build this into the design of your home.

U-value (expressed as Uw in windows) measures how readily a window system conducts heat. It is a measure of the rate of non-solar heat loss or gain through it. The rate of heat is indicated in the terms of the U-value of a window assembly which includes the effect of the frame, glass, seals and any spacers. The lower the U-value, the greater a window’s resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.

A simple formula can help quantify the impact of improved U-value:

•    the amount of heat conducted through a glazed unit (in watts) equals the U-value (Uw)
•    multiplied by the number of degrees difference in air temperature on each side (T)
•    multiplied by the area of the glazing unit (A)

Uw x T x A = watts (W)
If your home has 70m2 of windows and glazed doors with aluminium frames and clear glass (i.e. U-value of 6.2), on a winter’s night when it’s 15°C colder outside, the heat loss would be about:
6.2 x 15 x 70 = 6,510W

That’s equivalent to the total heat output of a large gas heater or a 2hp air conditioner running at full capacity.

If you roughly halve the U-value of the window by selecting double glazing, you can halve the heat loss — in this example avoiding about 3,000W of heat loss, equivalent to the energy use of fifty 60W incandescent light bulbs.

Insulated glass units (IGUs) are the combination of two or more glazing layers sealed with a gap between the layers. Multiple layers of glass can be assembled with sealed cavities between each sheet. The performance of IGUs depends on the properties of each layer of glass and the width of the cavity, seal type and content of the cavities between the glass layers

It is often wrongly assumed that insulated glazing is only for cold climates. In fact, the best performance levels in both U-value and SHGC can only be achieved by using IGUs. This facilitates higher performance for all climates, especially in heated and air conditioned homes.

The performance of the cavity in IGUs impacts on the U-value and serviceability of the glazing. Cavities must be sealed to minimise convective heat transfer. If the cavity is not properly sealed or contains inadequate desiccant (drying agent) it may contain moisture which, under cold conditions, condenses on the colder glass surface. The spacer (metal or polymer strip) that separates the two glass layers contains a desiccant to absorb any moisture. IGU cavities may also be filled with an inert, low conductivity gas such as argon. Cavity thickness is usually in the range of 6–18mm. Wider cavities provide lower (better) U-values, with 12mm normally accepted as the preferred gap.

Using combinations of standard and low-e glass allows the IGU to be tailored to have extremely low U-values. Using clear, toned or low-e glass can deliver a wide range of SHGC and TVw values for performance options.

Energy performance of common window types
Indicative window types
Total window system values

NOTE: These values are indicative only and cannot be used for compliance purposes.

Source: Window Energy Rating Scheme; Copyright owner: The Australian Window Association


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