Wednesday 17 September 2014

How can we make double glazing compulsory in Canberra?

I have been driving energy efficient windows in Canberra for about 8 years now and I am seeing an increase in home owners who can see the value of their insulation (including windows and doors).  Some thoughts of mine:

1.  Insulated windows and doors have to form part of the building for new homes, it is crazy to do the walls and ceilings and not the windows and doors which can form 30% of the wall space.  I think this will be more of a Building Code issue than a local issue, however, if there is a way where we can make it an essential element of the 6 stars then it may work?  Builders and home owners are focussed on the 6 star compliance requirements but this does not relate necessarily to 6 star comfort.  It is easy to get 6 stars with single glazed aluminium windows and doors with the right orientation and wall and ceiling insulation.

As a Board Director of the Australian Window Association I am across emerging initiatives that hopefully will help our cause. The new rating system will recognise WERS ratings rather than generic ratings.  There is work afoot to recognise energy saving enhancements when homes are being valued and this would include solar panels, double glazing, solar hot water etc.  This would make the 6 star more realistic.

2.  We don't want to drive change that becomes like the insulation and solar panel debacles.  Suddenly everyone will be an expert in double glazing and we will have substandard installations and product happening in homes.  A rebate or some form of RECS similar to solar panels may encourage home owners to upgrade their homes if they get a rebate on their energy bills.

3.  I can show in real terms the savings that new homes can make in their first year with double glazing and do it on a case by case basis.  Over 25 years it can be close to $25,000.

4.  I would like to see all new block owners issued with a "small" guide to energy efficient design and products.  There is not enough information in place to inform new block owners. Perhaps this could be given to new new block owner when settlements take place at the Land Titles Office? 

My vision is for all homes in Canberra to be double glazed - imagine how much energy we would save as a city an how temperate and comfortable our homes would be.  As a minimum I would like to see our young in child care centres warm and our elderly in retirement homes warm with low energy bills.

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