When deciding whether to renovate and choosing which products and materials to use, it can be difficult to get objective advice. This is partly because there is no one answer. The best choice is dependent on your priorities and your lifestyle. When it comes to how much to spend, the decision becomes even more unique.
uPVC windows and doors do offer the best energy efficiency and value for money on the market. They can be perceived as slightly more expensive than other products. However, when you compare apples with apples, uPVC often works out more affordable. The apples in this case are U-Values, the most important measurement of energy efficiency for windows. With U-Values, you are looking for the lowest number (the least energy lost). If a 500g bag of apples costs R10 and 1kg of apples costs R12, you know what to buy. Similarly, a product with a U-Value of 4 is nearly double the value (electricity saving) of a product with a U-Value of 7. It makes sense to keep that in mind when comparing quotes.
You could install higher U-Value, less efficient windows, if you are not worried about energy consumption. This is where your lifestyle affects the choice.
If, when it’s hot, you open all the windows or, when it’s cold, you put on more clothes and generally don’t control the temperature of your home, then energy efficient windows won’t change your electricity consumption. They will however make you significantly more comfortable.
If you turn on a heater when it’s cold; if you turn on a fan or the aircon when it’s hot; then energy efficient windows will significantly reduce your electricity consumption. It will be easier and more cost effective to maintain a comfortable temperature within your home. People save 25% on electricity bills annually when they install energy saving windows, according to an AAAMSA study. In that case the windows would pay for themselves over a period of time.
uPVC gives you the longest period of time in which to recoup your investment. It is very durable and requires minimal maintenance. It doesn’t rust. It doesn’t need to be painted. It is likely to last in good condition for upward of 30 years.
So, when you’re deciding whether to renovate or choosing new windows think about how much electricity you currently consume. Compare the U-Values of the products that suppliers recommend. Find out if there is any added value to a particular product, like security and sound-proofing. Ask suppliers to show you examples of projects where their windows have been installed for over a decade. Then you decide what you can afford now and in the future.