A Homeowner’s Guide To SANS 10400 XA

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south africa climate zones map, energy efficiency, fenestration sans 10400 xa, sigmadoors, south africa sans 204 building regulations aluminium windows and doorsAlmost 60% of the world’s electricity is used by residential and commercial buildings, making it a rapidly increasing and a pressing matter of concern. It’s due to the global climate changes and an increase in costs and energy consumption requirements that the need for energy efficiency and energy efficient buildings is being emphasized.  70% of South Africa’s buildings were designed and built when electricity prices were economical, but the constant price hikes are making it not only hard to maintain a livelihood but also depleting the energy resources at a very rapid rate. Thus, the increasing burden on the South African national electricity grid forced the government to make amends and introduce The South African National Standard – SANS 10400 – XA and the SANS 204 to regulate energy use and encourage energy efficiency in building for better utilization of resources and ensuring improvement in the ecological changes and declining ecosystems.

Energy efficient buildings, is a simple and very innovative idea to introduce required changes in the existing buildings and practical measures that save energy when new buildings are built and designed.  With the introduction of new regulations and policy in the existing sans 204 and national building regulations, the government of South Africa is taking a step ahead towards making the country a cost-efficient country!!

Many modern and especially commercial buildings have been built without much consideration of passive design and rely strongly on technology such as Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems and electric heaters to provide a comfortable indoor climate. Using electricity for these functions is very inefficient and costly.

energy efficiency, fenestration sans 10400 xa, sigmadoors, south africa sans 204 building regulations aluminium windows and doorsWhat Is SANS 10400 – XA?

The SANS 10400-XA standard is a summary of the SANS 204 and other standards into a single reference for homeowners to ensure compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Regulations (NBR).  These Requirements include:

  • Buildings should face north so as to make most of the sunlight along with Suitable roof overhangs to maintain the adequate temperature during both summers and winters.
  • Use of energy efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems wherever required;  
  • At least 50% of water heating must be done through a solar water heater or heat pumps or any other energy efficient manner.

The SANS 10400-XA is part of the National Building Regulations (NBR) and must be adhered to. Municipalities are responsible for assessing and approving development applications including their adherence to the NBR.

The SANS 10400–XA Regulations

The latest amends in South African National Building Regulations (NBR) list the following regulations and adherence to which is mandatory to all homeowners.

  • XA1 – all homeowners must use energy efficiently and reduce the greenhouses emissions and use energy within the given limits.
  • XA2 – not more than 50% of the annual volume of domestic hot water should be heated through electrical resistance heating, i.e., 50% or more of hot water used must be heated by energy sources other than electricity.
  • XA3 – compliance with the XA1 Regulations must be accomplished by one of three methods. If homeowners or competent party build in accordance with SANS 10400–XA, then the buildings will be ‘deemed to comply’ with National Building Regulation XA1.

Which buildings are affected by the SANS 10400 XA requirements?

Buildings that consume energy as a result of human occupancy are the main target of the new regulations. All new buildings must comply with these regulations, and any additions or extensions to existing buildings must be strictly made in compliance with the new regulations. If the existing building is unaffected by an addition, only the addition will have to comply with the regulations.

How is compliance achieved?

energy efficiency, fenestration sans 10400 xa, sigmadoors, south africa sans 204 building regulations aluminium windows and doorsTo avoid delays in achieving planning approval and receiving occupancy certificates, homeowners should communicate to their architects and the professional teams that the home must be designed in accordance with the SANS 10400–XA Regulations. Compliance with the SANS 10400–XA Regulations requires that the design of new buildings satisfy certain conditions. There are basically three routes by which homeowners can comply with the new regulations, these three routes are-

  • The Prescriptive Route
  • The Reference Building Route
  • The Performance Route

The Prescriptive Route is generally available to all persons and will commonly be used for houses and smaller buildings. This route requires that a set of rules is adhered to for water heating, insulation and glazed areas, i.e., windows, glass doors, and roof lights.

Homeowners need to choose the most practical and cost-effective route, depending on their financial resources and project timelines.

What documentation must be completed?

Once the plans are ready for submission, the Appointed Person (or Responsible Person, if a professional has not been appointed) must inform the local authority and Building Control Officer which compliance route has been chosen, by completing a set of four documents (Forms 1 to 4). These forms can be downloaded from the SABS website (www.sabs.co.za).

  • FORM 1: DECLARATION BY THE HOMEOWNER FOR APPROVAL OF BUILDING CONSTRUCTION.

Mainly the roles and duties of the homeowner are discussed here. The competent person making a declaration wherein the means for SANS 10400 -XA regulations have to be satisfied.

  • FORM 2: APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL AS AN APPROVED COMPETENT PERSON.

In this step, the Competent Person agrees to take on full responsibility for all the energy-related duties in this section the competent must declare that he/she has the qualification, knowledge and contextual experience necessary for completing the work with compliance to the regulations.

  • FORM 3: DECLARATION BY A COMPETENT PERSON.

Under this the Competent Person is required, to make a declaration that the person is the best for the task at hand and has strictly adhered to the regulations. This form also has the second part which states the critical design information of building and its energy consumption.

  • FORM 4: CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION BY OF THE STRUCTURAL, FIRE INSTALLATION OR FIRE PROTECTION.

Here, the Competent Person has to make sure that he/ she has completed and attested the Certification of Completion. It is also the responsibility of the approved competent person who will retain the role of seeing all the energy aspects of the project.  

Option 1: Compliance through the Prescriptive Route

As compliance through the Prescriptive Route does not require the appointment of a Competent Person, it is likely to be the route most widely used in cases where the homeowner would prefer the simplicity of following the prescribed rules, rather than trying a more innovative approach to achieving energy performance standards.

What must be done to follow the Prescriptive Route?

To meet the minimum requirements of the Prescriptive Route, Schedule A of Form 1 must indicate that this route has been chosen, and the design must adhere to certain rules. This requires that decisions be made on the following:

1 Water heating: – The location, capacity, and type of hot-water installations must be planned to ensure that at least 50% of the water will be heated by means other than electrical resistance heating.

2 Insulation: – Insulation must be specified as follows

  • Roof and ceiling insulation type and thickness.
  • Hot-water pipe insulation thickness (only on exposed pipes).
  • External wall insulation (only where external walls are non-masonry).
  • Under-slab insulation (only where in-slab heating is installed).

3 Glazed areas: – The total glazed area as a percentage of the net floor area must be indicated –

  • If it is more than 15%, the glazed area must be designed to comply with SANS 204.

PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS

These are areas which have different climatic influence, and are tabulated below according to the different climatic zones in South Africa ranging from 1 to 9 these climatic factors must definitely be taken into account before selecting the route either prescriptive or reference building:

south africa climate zones map, energy efficiency, fenestration sans 10400 xa, sigmadoors, south africa sans 204 building regulations aluminium windows and doors

Option 2: Compliance through the Reference Building Route

If the Prescriptive Route requirements pose technical difficulties or are unaffordable, the homeowner may wish to pursue compliance through the Reference Building Route. This option permits a greater degree of flexibility and creativity, allowing the professional team to introduce innovative energy-efficient solutions to achieve an energy performance that is the same or better than that which would have been achieved by the strict application of the Prescriptive Route. The factors influencing the choice of this compliance route are:

  • The scale of the home.
  • The wanted aesthetics of the home.
  • The ability set of the expert team.
  • Client preferences and willingness to pay for energy modeling.

What does the Reference Building Route involve?

A Reference Building is initially designed according to the homeowner’s vision and needs, with all the elements required to comply with the Prescriptive Route being included. Thereafter, the design can be modified with recommendations from the professional team. The annual energy usage and demand is calculated and compared with the performance of the Reference Building (the base case). If the modified design shows an equivalent or improved energy usage compared with the Reference Building, it complies with the regulations.

What must be done to follow the Reference Building Route?

To meet the requirements of the Reference Building Route, the homeowner must appoint a Competent Person who, along with the architect, will ensure that the required documents are submitted to the local authority timeously. The homeowner must also sign the following two SABS forms before the plans can be submitted for approval:

  • Form 1: ‘Declaration by the person responsible for preparing an application for approval of the erection of the building in terms of section 4 of the act.’
  • Form 2: ‘Application for acceptance as an approved Competent Person in terms of Regulation A19.’

 

 

Case Study: Joe Slovo, Cape Town: Sustainable low-income settlement

The Joe Slovo settlement is situated in the suburb of Langa, 10 km east of the Cape Town CBD. The low-cost houses in the settlement include the following sustainable design elements in compliance with SANS 10400-XA

  • Improved thermal performance of buildings through insulated ceilings, roof overhangs, and double story, duplex block design, i.e., reducing external wall exposure
  • Improved energy services through energy efficient water heating through solar water heaters (150-litre low-pressure evacuated tube systems).

The images show the houses in Joe Slovo and conventional low-cost houses in Delft that were used to compare the impact of the sustainable features.

Solar water heaters- SWH were installed on all houses. A community survey conducted after occupation showed that the SWH were most appreciated measure. Prior to the installation households used an average of 8 kettles per day for water heating. Even on cloudy days in winter, the SWHs were found to produce 30 to 40°C warm water.  

Energy Efficient lights -The houses were equipped with CFL lights. It is noted that safe disposal and replacement system is required to sustain this measure as poor residents may replace broken CFLs with cheaper incandescent light bulbs.  

Thermal design features- The thermal design was optimized with the help of a computer modeling package. The houses are a double story and have shared walls reducing their exposure to outside air. Most houses are north facing with roof overhang shading windows on the top floor in summer.

Conclusion

So, from the overall discussion, we can conclude that energy efficiency has  become of a requirement rather than just a choice the global greenhouse emissions are increasing day by day destroying the ecological balance , if these signs further ignored the world as we know it will deteriorate,  However, successful government intervention plans policies regulation and increasing awareness has turned the tide and bringing in a new wave of change although the quantum of change is very small it is helping in spreading more awareness.

south africa climate zones map, energy efficiency, fenestration sans 10400 xa, sigmadoors, south africa sans 204 building regulations aluminium windows and doors It is important to note that the design and plans for extensions and Improvements of the above mentioned must be made in compliance with the newly set regulations. Usually, the SANS 10400 -XA serves the role of providing the  energy requirements for a building for the compliance with National Building Regulations regarding energy usage while the SANS 204 is more concerned with specifying the actual design requirements so as to achieve the desired levels of energy efficiency in the long run to make sure easy sustainability because countries like South Africa which fall under the economically backward  countries already have a very limited amount of resources and if the country continues to consume the resources at its current pace then in the next few decades South Africa will run out of energy sources and must depend on the underdeveloped renewable resources.

While there has been lots of regulations and policies, the response and awareness created through such plans and policies in South Africa is still very little. There is surely demand of more plans and policies and amendments in the existing SANS 10400-XA due to the in compliance and loopholes in the regulations. It is a very necessary and ideal time for intervention in averting such massive scale energy crisis. Reports and research have shown that the buildings are the largest consumer of energy, right after the construction sector in South Africa.

Thus SANS 10400-XA can be said to be a stepping stone in averting a massive energy crisis in South Africa although the SANS 10400 is an incomplete attempt and requires lots of revision and amendments in the foreseeable future it can be concluded that the SANS 10400-XA is definitely a founding stone in revolutionizing energy efficiency in buildings in South Africa.

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Guide To Home Insulation

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It is often said that for mere survival, a human needs four things:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter
  4. Oxygen

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Shelter plays such a crucial role in survival. Our house is what protects us against natural calamities, wild animals and unpleasant situations. When you’re having a bad day, you’d just want to go back to your house; because that’s a comforting place. The importance of a home isn’t measured by the fancy glass doors or your awning windows or by how ornamented your front doors are. Rather it depends on the level of safety the house provides. Accidents can occur anywhere. Thus, it’s important to follow certain steps and tips to build a strong and healthy house that can protect you at all times and conditions. Here is where home insulation comes into play. This article is about the same.

What is home insulation?

Houses need protection to stand strong and still during unpleasant circumstances. home insulation constitutes of anything that’s used in a building for insulation purposes. There are various types of insulation, which are all equally important:

  • Thermal insulation:

It is the process of insulating the house against transmission or loss heat  absorption. In short, maintaining the temperature inside the house. This also ensures that it doesn’t fluctuate as per the climatic changes outside. For this purpose, the insulating material is chosen which has relatively low heat conductivity. This is used to shield the interior of the house against the loss or gain of heat by conduction, convection or radiation. Aluminium is a plausible insulator of heat. Therefore, in colder regions of the world aluminium doors and windows are used as it slows down the flow of heat from the inner to outer surroundings.

  • Electrical insulation:

If you have a house, it is certain that it’s powered by electricity. Almost every appliance runs using electrical power. Electrical current can be fatally dangerous. Thus, proper electrical insulation is very important. Using high-quality insulating materials to cover all the wires and plug points ensures electrical safety at home.

  • Acoustic insulation:

The materials used to build your house must have at least some soundproofing nature. Acoustic insulation is the overall ability of the building to reduce the sound transmission through it. Walls can be soundproofed using certain insulating materials. In the same way, aluminium windows and doors or glass doors provide better insulation than ordinary wooden doors.

  • Fire insulation:

Fires can start with the tiniest of sparks. Fire requires a combustible fuel and oxygen to burn. A house with fire insulation minimizes the chances of a fire accident by using non-combustible materials. For instance, wooden doors or window frames have a higher chance of burning due to the combustible nature of wood. Instead, having aluminium sliding doors and aluminium windows mitigate the possibility of a fire accident. aluminium is non-combustible. It has great fire resistance properties due to its melting point being beyond 600 degree Celsius.

  • Impact insulation:

Nature is dynamic. You can never know when there’d be intense winds blowing or an earthquake. In such situations, having a strong foundation and using building materials with a good tensile strength is very important. Protecting the house against vibrations caused by natural phenomenon or industrial applications is called impact insulation.

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Signs that your house is poorly insulated

  1. Fluctuating temperatures when the climatic conditions outside change.
  2. High energy bills due to all the heating/cooling appliances you use to control the temperature indoors
  3. Cold walls, floors, and ceilings
  4. Water leaks in the attic
  5. Too hot or too cold rooms

If you come across these signs, it means that it’s high time you got your insulation checked.

  • About 25% of the house heat seeps out to the atmosphere through the roof and attic. Hence, roof insulation is crucial.
  • The walls can lose about 35% of heat.
  • Windows are responsible for 35% heat escape
  • Any tiny gap will aid heat loss

It’s a proven fact that good insulation has three folds greater impact on the house’s average energy consumption and comfort.

Follow these few tips when you install insulation in your house

 

  • Factors like climate, the region you live in, the home design must be taken into consideration
  • Depending on the extent of insulation required, select a budget for smart insulation, use materials with a higher R-value. For example, cathedral ceilings and foam spray
  • Make sure you have an ample amount of ventilation for fresh air flow
  • Instead of installing solid wooden windows and doors; having glass doors allows natural sunlight into the house, which is also a good source of Vitamin D.
  • Consult an insulation expert to choose appropriate materials.

 

The following table contains the types of insulation materials that can be used:

MATERIAL

WHERE APPLICABLE

INSTALLATION METHODS

ADVANTAGES
Fiberglass

Mineral (rock or slag) wool

Plastic fibers

Natural fibers

Unfinished walls, including foundation walls

Floors and ceilings

Fitted between studs, joists, and beams. Do-it-yourself.

Perfect for joist spacing and standard stud

Is free from any obstructions.

Comparatively inexpensive.

Foam board:  Placed on the outside of a wall (usually a new construction) or within the wall (existing homes):

Some manufacturers include air or foam beads  (Increases R-values) into the mix of concrete

Unfinished walls, which also include foundation walls

Major renovations or New constructions

Walls (insulating concrete blocks)

Specialized skills are required

Insulating concrete blocks are stacked without a mortar sometimes (dry-stacked), and then it is surface bonded.

Insulating cores causes an increase in wall R-value.

Outside insulation of a concrete block wall will place a mass inside a conditioned space, which will moderate the indoor temperatures.

Autoclaved cellular concrete masonry and Autoclaved aerated concrete units have an insulating value that ten times better conventional concrete.

Polystyrene

Polyisocyanurate

Polyurethane

Unfinished walls which also foundation walls

Ceilings and  Floors

Unvented  roofs that are low-sloped

Interior applications: should be plastered with building-code approved material or 1/2-inch of gypsum board for safety against fires.

Exterior applications: should be encrusted with weatherproof facing.

A high value of insulation for comparatively little thickness.

Blocks thermal short circuits when it is installed constantly over the joists or frames.

Foam blocks or foam boards Unfinished walls, which includes foundation walls for a new development It is installed as a part of the structure of the building. Insulation is built within the home’s walls, which creates a high thermal resistance.
Mineral (slag or rock) wool  

Cellulose

Fiberglass

New open wall cavities  or already existing enclosed walls

Incomplete attic floors

Other hard-to-reach places

With the use of special equipment, it is blown into place or poured in sometimes. Great for adding insulation to finished existing areas, around obstructions, and irregularly shaped areas.
Paper,  Foil-faced kraft, polyethylene bubbles,   cardboard, or plastic film Ceilings, floors, and Unfinished walls Films, foils, or papers fitted between joists, wood-frame studs, beams, and rafters. Do-it-yourself.

Apt for framing at standard spacing.

If framing is irregular or obstructions are present, Bubble-form apt.

Most effective at (effectiveness usually depends on spacing) preventing downward heat flow.

Mineral (rock or slag) wool Fiberglass Ducts that are in unconditioned spaces

Places that require insulation which can manage high temperatures

At their shops or the job sites, HVAC contractors fabricate the insulation into ducts. Can tolerate high temperatures.
Liquid foam insulation core or Foamboard

Straw core insulation

ceilings,  Unfinished walls, roofs, and  floor for new construction To form walls and roof of a house, construction workers fit SIPs together SIP-built houses give uniform and superior insulation when compared to more regular construction methods; they also take a short time to build.

 

How to insulate your house?

In today’s world, energy is the deficit. This calls for energy conservation in any way possible. In your house, instead of turning the thermostat on, insulate your home for long-term benefits. This cuts down on your electricity bill, along with insulating your house thermally.

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Follow the guide:

  • Insulating the doors

Doors create a pathway between the house and outer surroundings. Thus, insulating the doors can help in managing the temperature inside the house. Using porous substances like wood or straws for manufacturing of doors doesn’t help much with controlling heat exchange. Whereas, using synthetic substances like glass or metal slows down the flow of heat. Glass doors are great for heat insulation and for letting the sunlight in. aluminium doors are insulators of heat and have good tensile strength. It makes for an apt door.

  • Well insulated windows

Along with doors, windows are another kind of openings in the house that aid heat escape. Cracks, crevices, and pores are frequent escape points for warm air to escape. Cheap plastic or wooden window frames can wear out over time. Metallic frames are cost efficient and good for long-term usage. aluminium windows and window frames last long and provide great insulation. Apart from this, investing in cellular blinds or insulating draperies can be a great idea as well.

  • Double glazing

If you have glass doors or windows; double glazing is a fantastic option. Windows which have two layers of glass with a space between the layers, called double glazing. They reduce the loss of heat. It’s worth the investment and can save you dollars on your electricity bill.

  • Insulation of attic or loft

This has been studied and stated as one of the most efficient energy saving options. It’s also very cheap and extremely simple to install; you can DIY it. You just need to purchase some fiberglass wool and cover all the gaps and holes in your house with it. Glass wool is a synthetic material made of a mixture of sand and recycled glass at 2642 degree Fahrenheit. The end product is converted into fibers, that are available in the market. The best part is that glass wool is recyclable. Glass wool is one of the best insulating materials, as it’s appropriate for thermal, sound and fire insulation.

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How is insulation rated?

Alike all physical properties, thermal insulation can be rated too. It is based on the measurement of the resistance of the material to the flow of heat. It is commonly referred to as R-value. The resistance to heat flow is directly proportional to the R-value. Hence, materials with a higher R-value are more insulating. There are a set of building codes which list the appropriate R-value required for different parts of your house. Following the manufacturer’s instructions properly will result in you having a perfectly insulated house.

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Insulation of doors and windows

The two major openings in the house are doors and windows. Following are some ways to insulate them. There are some DIY projects you can use on your doors and windows to thermally insulate them. Their projects are cost-efficient and don’t need a special set of separate skills. Cold air enters through the windows from tiny holes that are uninsulated. Draft-proofing the windows using the following ways can help:

  1. Weatherstripping: A cost-efficient method is to purchase weatherstrips to fix drafty windows and doors. Weatherstrips are pieces of rubber, synthetic fiber or other materials that can be used to seal loose ends and corners of the doors and windows.
  2. Foam tape: Foam tapes are extremely handy and useful. They are super adhesive tapes that are of insulating foam material. Slightly warped doors and windows can be quickly fixed by cutting a piece of this tape and securing the corners to block air. How easy can it get?
  3. Using door snakes: If you have creaky windows or a wide gap between the door and floor; door snakes come very handy. They are heavy tubes of fiber that can be placed at an opening to block the cold winds. They are inexpensive and can be DIYed. If you don’t want to purchase one, roll an old towel or a fabric in the shape of a tube, and you’re good to go.

Houses are not just pieces of mere architecture. We live in it for a long period. Thus, for our safety and comfort, we must maintain the house in good condition. A constant renovation is necessary. Be it replacing worn out wooden doors with aluminium doors or getting upgraded glass doors for your French windows. Comfort, safety, and energy conservation are three very important things. All three can be achieved with a well-insulated house.  

 

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Weatherproof Doors & Windows – The Insulation Guide

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weatherproof weather stripping window seal window plastic door seal Aluminium windows and doors, Insulation, weather proofing windows & doors, Due to an extreme decline in the house market with mortgage rates hitting an all-time low, more people are opting to maintain their old homes rather than move in to newer and more modern homes. As a result, such individuals are expected to pay more attention to their house maintenance and upkeep. To this regard, one of the most vital aspects is door and window weatherproof as it helps one lower their energy bills.

Weatherproof Aluminium Windows & Doors

The best place to begin your weatherproof exercise is by working on the windows and doors. In order to adequately ensure weather conditions remain constant in your house regardless of the season, the first thing you should do is check around the aluminium doors and aluminium windows for crumbly caulk. In case one finds some peeling or chipping around the aluminium doors and aluminium windows, it is important they are replaced. Fortunately, the process of replacing caulk is rather easy. Even the most basic handymen can manage this task. The caulk should be evenly distributed across the aluminium windows so as to ensure to space is left uncatered to.

Weather Stripping

Another vital step is checking the weather stripping. This basically refers to the flexible material that is placed around aluminium windows and aluminium doors. It is typically made up of vinyl, although some manufacturers prefer to use plastic, foam, various metal cases, and cork. For aluminium doors and especially folding or aluminium sliding doors, the doors need to be opened first for the vinyl to be replaced. This is because the weather stripping material is concealed underneath the aluminium sliding door whenever it is closed. It is the same case for casement style windows.

In some cases, it would be advisable to add plastic sheeting to all windows so as to reduce heat loss during cold seasons. This should be done in lieu of installing storm doors and windows. Aluminium sliding doors should also have this plastic sheeting due to the fact that they have a larger surface area exposed. Regardless of your aluminium sliding door size, adding this plastic sheet is highly advisable since they are inexpensive and very easy to install. Lastly, check all your outlets for drafts since they are very common especially in old houses.

 

 

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5 Tips for Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

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Energy Efficiency For Windows and Doors

For home owners, making an energy efficient plan for your home may seem to be a rather challenging task when you first think about it. However, once you start thinking critically about it you realise just how valuable it really is. By having a plan for your energy efficiency needs, you will not only help keep energy reduction costs at a minimum, but you will be contributing positive to the reduction of your carbon footprint which is positive for your entire ecosystem. One of the best ways through which one can begin is by ensuring that your doors and windows as instruments of energy efficiency in your home. Below are some great tips on how this can be achieved.

5 Tips For Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

  • Position Of Doors And Windows:  How one positions their doors and windows matters a lot when it comes to energy efficiency. Whether you are using french doors, sliding doors or folding doors, your doors should be placed in a position where they will provide you the most of natural lighting and solar energy. Basically, this would require you to put most of the doors and windows facing the sun.
  • Solar Screens: It is also advisable to install solar screens where necessary. Alternatively, one could decide to use ultraviolet ray films on their windows and doors. The same should be done for all sliding doors given the fact that they have a larger surface area through which harmful rays could access your living spaces. These filters help disseminate any form of harsh sunlight rays.energy efficient windows & doors
  • Insulation: is also a major factor to consider when it comes to your home’s energy efficiency levels. Ensure that all walls are sufficiently insulated as well as the attic. You can add weather stripping and waterproof seals to your Doors and windows. This will go a long way in reducing your cooling and heating expenses.
  • Install Energy Efficient Glass: Makes sure to install energy saving glass panes in your house. There is quite a variety available in the market today such as the LowE coated glass panes. You can in fact decide to use such even on your sliding doors. They are affordable and highly efficient.
  • Check The Energy Rating of Your Frame Materials: Lastly, make sure that you choose energy rated frames on your windows and doors. Aluminium is an example of a very good cooling material and this will help in ensuring your house is energy efficient.

 

 

 

 

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Glassdoors And Front Doors – A Buyer’s Guide

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Entry door image

An Essential Guide To Buying Front Doors, Glassdoors..Any Door!

Whenever one goes shopping for new doors, be it plain entry doors, interior doors, exterior doors, french doors or back doors, they should ensure that they go for the most durable, functional, secure and good looking options. Moreover, you should also pick doors that offers a favorable insulation rating with specific regards to the living space where they’ll be installed. To ensure that these factors are appropriately considered, below are some guidelines that you should consider before buying doors for your home.

Things To Consider When Buying Doors:

  1. Unlike in the past, external doors aimed at helping individuals gain access to balconies or gardens are no longer restricted to solid french door or similar. Now a variety of doors are available for this purpose.  These include sliding doors, folding doors, or glass double doors, etc.
  2. Traditionally, French doors were strictly made out of wood. However, with recent trends, such doors are now available in a variety of material options. Some of the most common options include aluminium and PVC-u.  Additionally, these doors can be made to open outwards or inwards. Therefore, it is important to consider this depending on the type of space one plans to install the door.
  3. It has been realized that sliding doors turns to require more maintenance with age. As a result, it would be advisable to avoid sliding doors in places where there will be too much traffic and heavy operation. For this purposes there are other types of doors that could be functional such as folding doors or even the usual hinged doors. Folding patio doors are by far the most convenient option where there are landscape views to be enjoyed.entry doors, shopping for doors, external doors, french doors, front doors
  4. One should also consider the width and height of doors, especially entry doors, so as not to restrict any access to any of the rooms.  Where there is movement in both directions, wider doors makes a viable option.
  5. The privacy provided by a door should be considered in areas that requires more privacy for the occupants.
  6. The beauty and elegance of entry doors should be considered in relation to the appearance of the entire facade where the entry door is to be installed.  For less important access points and those obscured doorways, a cheaper, less significant door could be a better option.
  7. One should also ensure that the hardware used on doors is readily available for purchase in local retail outlets.  It would be a pointless exercise to purchase an imported door if the hardware used are not available locally.
  8. Weather-proofing options available for the type of doors that you want to buy should also be considered. If the doors are to be exposed to adverse weather elements such as entry doors, then it will be prudent to investigate the various weather-proofing options available to that specific door.

The above are just a few factors to bear in mind when shopping for doors.

 

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Choosing a Patio Door

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Home owners have two basic choices when it comes to purchasing patio doors. One can either go for aluminium doors or wooden. Just as is the case with wooden, aluminium doors offer sleekness, long-lasting beauty, and sleek designs. In addition to this, they are easy to maintain and offer good insulation.

Popular Patio Door Material

Wooden doors are made from various types of hard timber material. The reason behind the use of hardwood is so as to ensure that the outer frame remain strong enough to hold up well against any sort of mishap, dent, or scratches. This helps ensure that the door is durable. It is an important factor to consider since patio doors help link the outside to the inside. Given the fact that this is by far one of the busiest doors in any homestead, it is of importance that one ensures the door is strong enough to survive through the high level of activity. Moreover, wooden doors are more energy efficient than aluminium doors. This makes them more suitable for homes located in colder regions where it’s extremely cold. Aluminium doors would not be a very prudent idea for such homes since they tend to let a lot of heat out. Therefore, aluminium patio doors are better off used in areas with moderatet to extreme heat conditions due to their cooling effect. All in all, aluminium doors also have numerous benefits in that they are easy to maintain and do not rust. They offer homeowners years of aesthetic value without heavy maintenance requirements.

Style & Durability of Patio Doors

Another factor worth considering when it comes to patio doors is the style of door. There a number of varying styles including French, out swing, aluminium sliding doors, and aluminium folding doors. This decision tends to vary depending on the home design. One advantage of using more contemporary doors such as aluminium sliding doors or aluminium folding doors is the style they offer.  Both give the house a more elegant look than the traditional kind of door. However, it is important to note that the aluminium folding doors and aluminium sliding doors tend to use a rather hectic mechanism for their operations. The aluminium sliding doors for example rely on a set of rollers placed at the bottom in order to slide effectively. Chances are there will be mechanical issues somewhere along the way. Same is the case for aluminium folding doors. Therefore, it is advisable to pick an option that is easily maintained and one that is not prone to mechanical breakdown.

 

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Top 10 best uses for aluminium

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Aluminium is an element that is very widely used in the world today. Its appearance is silvery white, and it has many unusual properties. There is no other metal that has ever been used in so many different ways such as aluminium. Its unique properties enable it to be applied in different ways, including in the construction of aluminium doors.

Uses of aluminium

  1. Building and construction is the area where aluminium is used most. It can be applied in the creation of domes, roofs, bridges and different structures. Stairways, landings, cladding and so on are made from aluminium. Its malleable nature makes it the best option for aluminium, windows, aluminium doors, window frames, grills, doorknobs, and more. Aluminium sliding doors and aluminium folding doors are also very popular. Commercial buildings also use aluminium in different areas.
  2. Packaging, including beverages, foods, pharmaceuticals and so on. Toasters, fridges, kettles, utensils, thermoses, bottles, and cans are made using the element. It keeps the food safe and does not affect food smell or taste.
  3. Modes of transportation like buses, boats, ships, trains, and aircraft use the element to make them strong and weightless. The electrical systems, wiring, exteriors, and frames of airplanes also use aluminium.
  4. In the automobile industry, the metal is used in the manufacturing of cars.
  5. Electrical materials and power lines use a percentage of aluminium to transmit high voltages.
  6. It is used to make heat reflectors and mirrors.
  7. Consumer products such as bicycles, containers, gas cylinders, and household fittings are made of aluminium.
  8. It is used in making marine equipment.
  9. The sports world uses it for watches, golf clubs, tennis racquets, and baseball bats.
  10. The entertainment industry uses it to make CDs and electronic equipment.

One other notable area that is worth mentioning is that many compounds and salts of aluminium are used in the manufacturing of gemstones, paints, paper, ceramics, and glass. There are also places where coins are made of aluminium.

 

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Double Glazed Panes

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WHAT IS DOUBLE GLASS?

With time, you will notice that all properties tend to loose heat via their windows – be it the library, home or even commercial buildings. As such, the use of double glazing is but a way of making sure that you are able to reduce or cut down on your overall heat costs. This way, you will be able to avert some additional costs such as having to install a new heating appliance for your home should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you are frequently loosing heat from within your abode.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

From the term double glazing, you clearly envision some sort of an overlay between two sheets of glass so as to be able to achieve the double glazing property. It is this property which in effect generates the insulating property. Many a times you may also encounter the likes of triple – glazed windows which are way more efficient than the double glass windows – though both of these deliver almost the same kind of energy efficiency on the long haul.

WHAT IS IN BETWEEN THE GLASS PLANES?

Usually, in between the double glass material, you will realize that this space may be filled with some inert gas or a vacuum. So, which is which and which one should you prefer more to the other?

  • Though they were once the best option, these have deprecated with time owing to the fact that with the vacuum seals, the vacuum may diminish with time and so does the efficiency, since there may be no efficient sealing.
  • INERT GAS.
    This is the other and most reliable method since the inert gases are but a docile and unresponsive to adverse heat conditions. This way, they don’t suffer from the “unsealing” effect of the vacuum seen above.

Either way, both of these methods have proven important as they both try to add onto the overall scientific R-value which is simply a measure of the internal thermal resistance.

WHAT FRAME MATERIAS ALLOW FOR DOUBLE GLAZING?

Usually, these are available in a variety of frame materials, ranging from the traditional wood frames to the more decent frames such as the uPVC styles. Usually, these windows do vary in their energy efficiency based on how well they actually stop heat from passing out from the room. Moreover, the specific type of frame material is what will determine the amount of sunlight which actually passes through the glass and how little air can leak in or out around the window.

HOW CAN ONE MEASURE ENERGY EFFECIENCY OF DOUBLE-GLASS WINDOWS?

Usually, some window manufacturers and door makers use the window rating energy efficiency rating scheme to depict the efficiency of their windows. If this is not clear, you may relate this to the energy efficiency which you see on your refrigerators as well as the washing machines. Usually, A-rated windows are considered most efficient, with all the captivating qualities – which you may simply find on the energy label before you actually buy the window.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT DOUBLE GLAZING?

So, following the brief introduction about double glazing, you have to consider a number of factors before you actually decide to settle with double glazing.

HOW ENERGY EFFICIENT ARE THE WINDOWS?

This is usually very easy as all you need to do is simply look on the windows energy saving efficiency. This you may do by taking a look on the Energy Saving Recommended Trust and the British Fenestration Rating Council energy label. Usually, the Energy Saving Trust is known to endorse any window which has been rated B or above. Usually, the energy efficiency is directly proportional to the efficiency – the higher the energy efficiency rating, then the better the window will be. Irrespective of the fact that there are no current mandatory regulations for a window to have some quality branding, it is best to go for windows which have a quality branding. This you may easily find on the BFRC website very easily.

HOW MANY LAYERS OF GLASS DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED?

Usually, double glazing is but two layers of glass which are separated with a gap of around 16mm. at times, you may decide to go with three layers of glass as per your budget. Nevertheless, these usually deliver one and the same energy efficiency, but the triple glazed option is much better than the double glass variation.

WHICH GLASS IS THE BEST FOR THIS PURPOSE?

Usually, when it comes to energy efficiency, the most preferred option is the Low-E glass. This simply means a low emissivity glass. What does this glass have that makes it way better at energy efficiency? Well, this glass has an unnoticeable layer of metal oxide on its surface, usually on one of the internal surfaces – commonly next to the gap. What this does is that it lets in sunlight but actually cuts the amount of heat which can get out once it enters.

WHAT IS ACTUALLY BETWEEN THE PANES?

Usually, two types of materials may be used for this purpose: a vacuum or inert gasses. However, for utmost efficiency, then the best option to go with is the use of inert gasses. The gasses to be used here include argon, xenon and mostly krypton.

WHAT KEEPS PANES APART?

Usually, most of the double-glazed windows have what are referred to as the pane spacers which simply are located inside the glass to keep the two glasses apart from one another. Usually, it is best to opt for the warm edge types of pace spacers. What these are is simply little or no metal spacers at all. Usually, from the BFRC, you will be able to know the best type of spacer, since you may take a look at the rating of the material, say from A-G, with A being the best as usual.

WHICH FRAME SUITS YOUR HOME BEST?

Since for all the window frames out there, you will find that each is tailored to enhance energy efficiency in one way or another, the actual or final option will dwell on your taste or preference. For that matter, take this as an example:

  • These are some of the most common types of frames and they are long lasting as well as easy to recycle.
  • Wooden frames.
    These can to some extent have a lower environmental impact, though they actually require a lot of maintenance. Usually, these are used in conservation areas where the initial or original windows were timber frames.
  • Composite frames.
    You may envision these as clad frames as well, since they simply contain an alloy of aluminum and timber. Aluminum is used to cover timber which is on the inside in the final product. Usually, this does reduce the need for maintenance and keep the overall material waterproof.
  • Steel or aluminum frames.
    These are way slimmer and perchance long lasting than the other types of frames.

DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED ANY VENTILATION?

Since the replacement or initial installation of double glazed windows tends to be more airtight than single glazed frames, condensation can actually build up in your house due to the reduced ventilation. If there is no enough level of background ventilation, then some of the replacement windows will actually have a trickle effect on the vents incorporated into the frame which lets in a small amount of controlled ventilation. Usually, at times, condensation can actually occur on the outside of lower E glazing windows. This is the case since low-e glass actually reflects heat back into the home, and hence the outside pane remains cool, making the condensation to build up on the long run.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DOUBLE GLASS?

  • SAVE ON ENERGY BILLS.
    When you decide to use the energy efficient double glazing materials, you will realize that you will be able to save on the overall bill you would encounter on your internal room heating by about $200.
  • SMALLER CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSION.
    By adopting the use of energy efficient double glazing mechanisms, you will be able to be a part of environment friendliness, by lowering the amount of carbon level on the environment and hence lower global warming.
  • TEND TO BE MORE COMFORTABLE.
    Usually, energy efficient glazing does reduce heat loss through windows and results to fewer draughts or cold spots in your home.
  • NOISE INSULATION.
    Usually, energy conservative windows and window frames play a part in acting as noise insulators. As such, you will be able to have a peaceful and serene internal environment.
  • CURB CONDENSATION EFFECT.
    Usually, energy efficient glazing tends to reduce the overall condensation build-up on the inside of the windows.
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