Secondary glazing is not a new product – it has been around for at least 40 years. Part of its enduring appeal in the face of modern replacement double glazing is its versatility. Secondary glazing is suitable for almost any building – new or old – from homes to hotels, churches to offices, schools to hospitals.
The following are some of the most popular uses of secondary glazing, as well as some key benefits to different sectors…
Where to use secondary glazing
Secondary glazing is perhaps the most versatile glazing system available, and can be used on a huge variety of building types.
Listed buildings & conservation areasEnglish Heritage suggest secondary double glazing as a good choice for buildings where a change of windows is either prohibited or undesirable. Typical of this are listed buildings and buildings within locally designated conservation areas*, as the windows form an integral part of the architectural history of the building or area.
Old windows are typically single glazed, which means that they are often noisy, draughty and terrible at keeping heat in the building. Secondary glazing can solve these problems – and more – without touching the original windows.
Secondary is both discreet and versatile. The panels and layouts are designed to complement the transoms and mullions of the original window, meaning that the secondary can’t be seen from outside the building (and is difficult to see from inside). On top of this, secondary can be shaped, arched and angled to match any aperture, no matter how unusual. From wide Victorian curves to tight Gothic arches, secondary can match.
* In general, installing secondary glazing into a listed building requires consent, while buildings in conservation areas do not. Always check with the relevant planning authority before installing secondary glazing in protected buildings/areas.
EducationEducational buildings come in all shapes, sizes and ages; from schools to colleges, universities to libraries. One feature that many of these buildings share is the enormous cost of keeping them warm – money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Secondary glazing is a great choice for schools and other educational buildings because it provides excellent thermal insulation for relatively little investment. On older buildings with lots of inefficient windows, installing secondary double glazing can pay for itself very quickly.
A feature of many schools and colleges is the wide range of building styles and ages, all with a lot of windows and all on the same campus. It’s common to see a Victorian school house with a 1960s extension, and perhaps even some portacabins on site as well. Secondary glazing can be used on all of these (even the cabins!), and can be shaped and designed to match all the original windows.
ChurchesThere are thousands of churches and church buildings across the UK. Most are historic buildings, often with special stained glass windows. While these windows look incredible and are, of course, ideally suit their surroundings, they are inherently cold and draughty. As energy costs rise and funding is hard to come by, secondary glazing can offer a sensitive solution to the problem.
By adding a discreet secondary window inside of the existing church window, you are providing effective insulation against heat loss and external noise pollution. And because the original windows are fixed, the secondary glazing can be fixed as well. This is the most cost-effective type of secondary double glazing, so the initial outlay is minimal.
Another issue facing churches with stained glass windows is vandalism and breakage. Traditionally this is countered by fixing steel mesh barriers to the outside of the windows, but these can be unsightly. An imaginative use of secondary glazing outside the original window can be a great alternative. Glazed with perspex or acrylic instead of glass, not only does this protect the stained glass against damage, it is less obtrusive than a steel cage while continuing to offer thermal and noise insulation. One solution to a variety of challenges.
HospitalsThere are many historic hospital buildings in the UK. More often than not these are very large buildings with hundreds and in some cases thousands of windows. Health authorities are charged with providing a clean, controlled environment, which also provides both comfort and security to patients and staff inside the building. Add to this the pressure of reducing carbon footprint that comes with all public buildings, and the rising cost of fuel and heating, and the result is a serious challenge.
Secondary glazing can be the ideal solution to many of these problems. On top of its excellent thermal and noise insulation properties, it provides an effective barrier against dirt and dust coming in through old poorly sealed windows.
Secondary glazing is also a cost-effective solution, especially when compared to replacement double glazing. In large hospitals with a lot of old windows, installing secondary glazing can pay for itself very quickly. It is also versatile, and can be designed to match almost any original window design.
Importantly, installation is simple, and can be done with no mess or disruption – a key benefit in buildings that are constantly occupied.
Finally, secondary glazing provides a smooth, anti-ligature internal face to the original windows, which also enhances their security.
HotelsThere are lots of different types of hotel, from old to new, large to small, urban to rural. No matter what type it is, guests love a quiet and comfortable room. In older buildings and noisy town centre or transport hub locations, this can be a real challenge.
Secondary glazing can allow a hotel to achieve this, while helping to control energy costs. In older buildings with original, inefficient, single-glazed windows, secondary glazing can cut down heat loss by more than 50%, which can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. And while you’re saving energy you’re also improving your guests’ comfort.
Another important consideration for hotels is safety, particularly in bedrooms. Guests want to be able to open their windows and improve ventilation, but this has to be restricted for safety reasons. Secondary glazing can help you achieve this by providing limited access to existing fully opening windows. To enhance guest safety even further, secondary can be glazed with safety glass – either laminated or toughened – to either prevent the glass from breaking or make sure that it doesn’t cause injury if it does break.
Commercial buildingsCommercial buildings such as offices and shops are often in town centres, where planning conditions are tight and noise pollution is high. In older buildings with poor windows, it’s a constant challenge to keep the working environment comfortable while controlling ever-rising energy costs.
Secondary double glazing can be a cost-effective way of making a commercial building more comfortable for staff and customers by cutting both heat loss and external noise. For a low initial outlay – especially compared to replacement double glazing – both noise and heat insulation can be doubled. Installing secondary glazing is simple, with no mess or disruption, meaning that staff can continue working while the improvements are made.
Another important factor is security. In many commercial buildings expensive equipment and stock can be at risk if windows are not secure. By fitting secondary glazing with laminated glass and fixed or locking panels, security can be greatly improved.
Finally, many commercial buildings have unusual window layouts, including long stretches of ribbon windows. These are sometimes difficult and expensive to replace with double glazing, but they’re no problem for secondary. By coupling together different styles of secondary glazing, almost any combination can be achieved.
For more information on how our secondary double glazing system can work with your project, please contact us.