Which windows in a passive and energy-efficient home?


With today’s energy prices, passive and energy-efficient houses are actually the only sensible building solution, as well as something required by tightening regulations. Energy is lost through all elements of a building, but the places where most heat is lost are windows and glazing of all kinds.

How do you choose the best windows for passive and energy-efficient homes to ensure compliance and low heating bills?

Passive and energy-efficient home, or what kind of home?

Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably, which is not correct, although in colloquial terms this is the case. Both these building types are characterised by extremely low energy consumption. So how do we use these terms correctly?

Energy-efficient house
The decisive factor is the criterion of energy consumption per year per square metre of building. For energy-efficient houses, this can be a maximum of 70 kilowatt hours (kWh). Since 2001, this indicator for newly built houses, referred to as EP (primary energy factor of the building), must not exceed this value. For multi-family buildings, it is even lower.

Passive house
A house that can be described as passive is even cheaper to maintain. Here, the criterion is no more than 15 kWh per year per square metre of floor space. This is quite a challenge for building designers and builders. It requires thoughtful action and the use of tried-and-tested and best available solutions on the construction market. A single mistake can result in a thermal bridge, through which energy travels to the outside and is lost irretrievably.

How are such low ratios achieved in passive and energy-efficient houses?

In order to create a house that meets the above conditions, many different elements need to be taken into account. The first step is good house design. First and foremost, it is a compact house that minimises the amount of heat energy escaping. The materials used in the construction of the house must be well chosen and provide adequate insulation. An important consideration is the location and number of windows. Here, of course, most people would like to have beautiful and large windows, especially if there is a great view from them. That’s why it’s crucial to use the best windows available on the market, which will minimise the need for interior heating, which will translate into lower bills, as well as having a positive impact on our planet’s climate. The choice of windows is really wide and this often causes great dilemmas during the selection process.

Types of windows available on the market

The windows used in the construction of houses can be divided according to their various characteristics, such as frame material, number of panes, size, colour, shape or method of opening. The most common choice faced by customers is which frame the windows that will be used in a building should have. Common ones are:

  • wooden windows
  • PVC windows
  • aluminium windows
  • hybrid structures – combination of traditional and composite materials

Each of these materials has different properties and are therefore used in different buildings. Traditionally, window frames were made of wood, which is an easy to work with and widely available material. Yes, wooden windows can be very beautiful, but they also have the shortest lifespan, especially if regular maintenance is neglected. In unfavourable conditions, they can have problems with the varnish after just a few seasons and lose their attractive appearance.

Plastic windows, i.e. those made of uPVC, are a fairly common choice. This is because it is the cheapest option. Of course, the cheapest when purchased. It is always important to consider all matters relating to the construction of a house in a long-term perspective.

And here we come to the next window category, which is aluminium windows. Compared to the other two, they are the most durable construction. This allows for the longest trouble-free operation. Well-finished high-quality aluminium is resistant to Polish climatic conditions.

Changes in the window market

Until recently, there was a myth among window buyers that plastic windows were mainly suitable for industrial buildings. Fortunately, fewer and fewer people think this anymore, and these types of windows are seen as modern and beautifully suited to any type of building. And that is exactly the case. You only have to look around where new buildings are being built to see what changes are taking place in the construction market. An overwhelming number of new projects have large windows, and this is where aluminium windows work best, as the high rigidity and strength of the frame means that they can take a variety of shapes and are quite large in size.

How many panes of glass in a passive or energy-efficient house window?

There are windows on sale that have 2, 3 or even 4 panes of glass. Which one should you choose? In theory, the more the thermal insulation should be higher. This is the case, but pay attention to the Uw value given for each window – as it also depends on the frame material, its shape and the sealing system the window is fitted with. Additional glazing is also a burden, although this is less of a problem for aluminium frames than for wooden or plastic ones. In practice, double glazing is most commonly used, and triple glazing is used where particular emphasis is placed on energy saving.

What else can affect the energy efficiency associated with windows?

Remember that even the best windows need to be installed correctly in a building. This is one of the common mistakes made, especially when replacing windows with new ones. The point where the window meets the building walls is one of the critical points where significant energy loss can occur, which will translate into higher heating bills. A truly energy-efficient building must not have any weak spots, so-called thermal bridges can be a nightmare, especially in older buildings. Only then will it not generate large costs when heated during the Polish cold autumn or frosty winter.

Examples of the best aluminium windows

Recommended by many construction and renovation professionals are aluminium windows offered by Fintecnic. We are a well-known Polish manufacturer and distributor of window systems, doors, gates and all the accessories needed for them. For passive and energy-efficient houses, windows from the ALUPROF MB-104 Passive series are particularly recommended. The entire series is certified by the PHI Passive House Institute located in Darmstadt, Germany. This is a guarantee that it is a top quality product that will perform brilliantly for many years. The windows in this series can also be ordered in very large sizes, allowing for greater creativity when designing a new and absolutely unique building. These are windows equipped with three panes of glass that guarantee a high level of thermal insulation. An additional advantage is that they have the so-called ‘Euro’ grooves, which allows fittings designed for both aluminium and plastic windows to be fitted.
Windows of the YAWAL TM 102 HI series are characterised by similarly good parameters. As a result, they are widely used in residential construction, as well as in a great many public buildings. They can come in versions with both 2 and 3 panes depending on the order. Any building fitted with such windows will be very good at keeping the heat inside during the colder parts of the year, as well as protecting against excessive heat during warmer days. Traditionally, it is more common to think about the expense of heating a building, but unfortunately the cost of cooling during hot weather can be just as acute for property owners, so it is a good idea to consider this at the design stage of a new home or larger building.

How about an entire glass façade instead of individual windows?

The following are suitable for this type of application aluminium systems. Both fixed windows, sliding windows and folding windows can be used here. The latter folding system allows the interior to be practically completely open and connected to the garden or terrace. This is a popular solution for both private flats and cafés with picturesque views of mountains or lakes. This could be, for example, the excellent PANORAMA ALIPLAST system available in various colour finishes. For sliding door solutions, the PRIMEVIEW YAWAL DP 180 systems, among others, are recommended.
In larger public buildings, entire glass walls can also be created. This is very easy to do using, for example, the MC Passive Plus facade system. This solution is one of the best that can be found on the Polish and global markets. Buildings created using it always give the impression of being light, spacious and thoroughly modern. It is an extremely flexible system that can be adapted to conjure up the most imaginative shapes and forms the designer can think of.

Houses and buildings being built today must be characterised by low energy consumption. This is why it is necessary to equip them with first-class windows or glazed facades. Take advantage of the enormous possibilities for adding character and modernity to your building with aluminium windows in a variety of shapes and sizes. They allow you to combine both contemporary and classic design with the excellent performance required for passive and energy-efficient houses. Remember that by using highly thermally insulated windows, you are taking care of both the planet and your finances. With Fintecnic windows you can be sure of both, so take a look at the offer and choose the solution that best suits you.

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