Original windows are often the first items to be replaced when considering energy efficiency measures. Windows are very important to the architectural appearance of a property and most terraced or semi-detached properties, apartments and groups of houses were built with the same windows giving them a consistent appearance.

Retrofitting your original windows can be a cost-effective way of reducing heat loss. A specialist joiner can survey your windows and advise you about repairs, draught exclusion, and installation of slim-fit or standard double-glazed units to the original frames.

Secondary glazing installed internally, can also improve thermal performance. Thermal blinds, heavy curtains and internal shutters are also worth investing in to reduce heat loss at night.

The best way to preserve your windows is to paint them on a regular cycle. This is normally every three years but high-performance breathable paints can increase this to five years.

If you decide on replacement, please consider recycling your original frames by offering them to a neighbour or a salvage yard. It is advisable to invest in durable window products from a reputable FENSA approved supplier who can offer you a warranty. It is worth noting that timber is a renewable material and is more sustainable than aluminium or UPVC. Replacement single or double-glazed windows that exactly replicate the original design do not require a Scheme of Management licence.

You are advised to seek professional advice for replacement windows. However, you could ask the following questions:

What is the U value? Do they have thermally insulated frames?

Can double-glazed units be low-E glass filled with Argon gas?

Is it FSC certified timber from a sustainable source?

Do you use low VOC paints/ high performance paint systems?

How long is the guarantee? What is the lifespan? What is required for maintenance?

Do we require trickle ventilation?

Any changes to the appearance of your windows are subject to approval under the Scheme of Management. This includes a change of material and any changes to the overall appearance such as the frame or fenestration design.

What is embodied carbon?
This takes account of the CO2 emitted in producing a building material or element. It can be estimated from the energy used to grow, extract and transport raw materials, as well as CO2 emissions from manufacturing. Existing elements such as windows and doors have embodied carbon within them. 19th and 20th century timber was slow-grown and can be more durable than modern timbers. With care these frames can be conserved for hundreds of years