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Single Glazing or Double Glazing – Which is better?

By Energy Efficiency, Glazing, Green Factsheet
The question of single or double glazing to the north is an interesting one. Naturally, double glazing provides better insulation, but it also reduces the amount of solar radiation (heat) coming in to the building, so there is a trade-off. The amount of glazing in a Strine home is maximised on the north elevation, to achieve as close as possible to 100% of the north facade. This is most unusual when compared to standard housing designs. It means that there is a lot more glass in a Strine home. Maximising the glazing to the north takes full advantage of the solar heat gain in winter. The figures below indicate that single glazing is better than double glazing on the north face of a well-designed passive solar house. They explain why in Strines three decades long experience that single glazing (of course with drapes for insulation) to the north works well in the Canberra region climate and doesn’t warrant the extra expense of double glazing. In fact, we always get comments that our homes are lovely and hot in the middle of a sunny winter’s afternoon! That’s when the high thermal mass of a Strine concrete home is essential to store all that free solar heat. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for Canberra winter days is very significant because of the clear skies and sunny days. Around noon Canberra gets approximately 800 watts (that’s 0.8 of a kilowatt) per square…
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