Sirens at three O’clock in the morning and drafts coming from somewhere, windows can be the bane of an otherwise beautiful house. With new advances in the technology behind them, noise reduction windows have become far more economically viable, and have shown clear signs of reducing not only noise but energy consumption.
There are plenty of treatments that you can add to your windows in the form of films, and noise-reducing curtains in order to block out the racket from the street. The thing is that these only offer stop-gap solutions; no one wants to be sat inside on a sunny day with the curtains drawn, just to stop the sound of cars entering their house. The best, long-term and all-around solution is to replace the windows themselves.
So how do they work? Sound travels in a pressure wave, so when it hits a window pane it causes the glass to reverberate. When both panes (in a double glazed window) are the same thickness, they reverberate at the same frequency and thereby only go some way to ensuring noise reduction. When the panes are of a different thickness, the glass will vibrate at different frequencies, thereby further distorting the noise level and preventing sound pollution in your home.
Buying these windows can be a confusing process, as many companies offer a range of products and will bamboozle you with jargon and slogans. One issue that may be thrown up is the benefits of triple vs. double glazing. Whilst it’s obvious that single glazing loses out to double, is the same true for three panes? The simple answer is no, not always. If the double paned windows offer a completely airtight seal, then the triples cannot improve upon this. The next issue which arises is thermal insulation. Whilst three panes can offer greater insulation, double glazed windows will offer the same prevention of heat loss if:
- They are coated the panes are coated in heat-efficient coverings.
- Buffered by more energy efficient gases between each sheet of glass.
- The pane-spacers contain no metal.
And as such the doubles may, in fact, offer greater thermal insulation. If, however, your greatest concern in the amount of noise entering and leaving your house then triple glazed windows may, in fact, be the way to go. The thing to pay attention to in this case is the STC (Sound Transmission Class) of the window, where single pane glass offers a typical value of 27 on the STC scale, whereas soundproof windows over a dual pane window deliver a typical value of 40DB.
Furthermore, noise reduction windows ought to be evaluated in regards to their energy efficiency. With reports confirming that you can save up to £170 a year on energy bills, windows with a rating of B or higher are a must have. This can not only lead to extra money in your bank at the end of the year but can offset your carbon footprint by, on average, 680kg every 365 days.