Sustainable Windows Alliance

The Australian Glass & Glazing Association (AGGA) and Australian Window Association (AWA) have joined forces to establish the Sustainable Windows Alliance (SWA), working in partnership with Sustainability Victoria.

Industry and associations have contributed $175,000 (see Glass Industry Growth Program) towards this initiative while Sustainability Victoria has committed an additional $200,000, the combined total equaling the forecasted amount required to effectively drive the uptake of energy efficient windows.

Project aims

The SWA aims to: ·

  • Build the scientific and economic basis for measuring the impact of using energy-efficient windows in residential buildings, prior to developing an industry strategy to drive the uptake of these components in the residential sector. ·
  • Where appropriate if in the interests of the glass and window industry seek to influence appropriate regulatory outcomes.

Project phases

Phase 1

Create the Basis

Technical & Scientific

Industry Analysis

Economic Model Concepts

Regulations

Phase 2

Expert Panel

Endorsed Science

& Energy Data Set

Economic Modeling

Industry Strategy

Phase 3

Industry Goal

Strategy Plan

Implement Strategy

Building Codes Updated

Information & Training

Building Industry Broadly adopts Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

Who are the experts?

 

An expert panel has been assembled from local and international participation to collate the scientific evidence and develop an energy data set to be used in an economic analysis. The panel will ensure that the science, data, modelling and industry strategy is valid, robust and objective. A major phase of the project will be the implementation of a strategy derived from the outcomes of the economic and scientific research.This is intended to:·

  • Guide improvements in sustainable building regulations and rating tools.
  • Ensure there is a strong take-up of energy-efficient windows and doors by the building industry.

Why are we doing this?

Under current Australian building practices, the energy-efficiency of windows and glazing installed in homes is significantly inferior to that found in other developed nations. Despite increasingly stringent requirements through the Building Code of Australia for home energy performance, only around 5% of residential buildings feature energy-efficient windows. New residential buildings, although compliant with the current building codes, still lose a sizeable and avoidable amount of energy through windows and glazed doors.

While minimum insulation requirements are stipulated for walls, ceilings and floors, window performance is often overlooked and the resulting envelope performance can be likened to inflating a balloon with holes in it. If there is to be any significant improvement in residential energy-efficiency beyond current building practice, windows must be seen as integral to insulating the building envelope. Research indicates that while windows only account for approximately 8% of the total building envelope, they account for approximately 60% of unwanted heat loss in cooler months and 91% of heat gain in summer.

The research produced by the SWA model will direct local industry as to how to gear up and deliver new products to provide the residential market with energy-efficient windows and doors.  A preliminary estimate is that Victoria alone could achieve greenhouse gas reductions of around 20 million tonnes over 15 years by adopting energy-efficient windows and doors in the residential sector.

What will be the end result?

  • Give answers to consumers’ lack of understanding of the link between glass and energy-efficiency.
  • Convince regulators that a large part of the energy efficiency answer is in glass and windows.
  • Educate industry on the profit and environmental benefits of energy efficient glass.