The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Friday, December 23, 2005
Through the Green Window
by Steve Travis

Yesterday I had fitted a door with stained glass panel, commissioned to replace the dreadful 1970s monstrosity that had, in turn, replaced the 1912 original whose design I had copied. I think it only fair to give a plug to Lady Bay Art Glass and R W Taylor Joinery for their skill and craftsmanship, for they have created a work of art.

My distaste for UPVC doors and windows (mainly on aesthetic grounds) is already documented. But in conversation with the glazier, it was pointed out that there might be an environmental reason to be against them too.

Old window frames typically used natural soft woods which are highly durable and can last 1-200 years if properly painted and repaired. UPVC is an energy-intensive product that uses hydro-carbon in its manufacture, and can need replacing within two decades, not two centuries.

Yet what is even more thought-provoking is that double glazing may be, contrary to popular belief, very bad for the environment. A double-glazed unit again lasts around 20 years, whereas single-pane glass lasts for centuries. Glass manufacture is highly energy-intensive, and when a double-glazed unit goes it has to be replaced. It is, therefore, very likely that the energy saved in heating a house is offset many times over by that used in the manufacture of the unit.

So, when you see a skip outside a blank-eyed, replacement-windowed house, containing the smashed remains of original windows and doors, weep not only for aesthetics but also for the planet.
posted by Apollo Project @ 10:51 am  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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