Improving Building Performance
Published on January 14, 2021
Window design and performance in Australia has traditionally lagged that of Europe, North America and New Zealand. This has largely been driven by builders designing to price points that have not allowed some of the high performance window and door systems to be adopted in Australia.
In Europe the climate extremes and rising energy costs were pivotal in the adoption of higher standards of fenestration. In North America the oil shocks of the 70’s and subsequent power blackouts saw the rapid adoption of the PVC double glazed windows and doors displacing aluminium systems. The North American window industry subsequently developed thermally broken aluminium products and a large share of the market was regained.
In most economies, regulation has played an important part as it has in Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, consumer demand has, however, overtaken regulatory requirements largely driven by the “Future-Proof Build” programs that have seen double glazing dominate the new house window market. More recently, thermally broken systems have become popular, as design and performance have become critical in consumer purchasing and construction thinking.
The global approach to improving building performance has gained traction and these tend to be based on overall U-value for the building. Windows represent a large part of the building envelope area and become an increasingly critical design element to achieving the overall target U-value.