Written on: 18/12/2010 by Daniel Howard (2 reviews written)
I am the only person in the United Kingdom with a quadruple glazing system on all windows of my detached house. I imported the Alfa GE Skandia windows from Skaala, which is a window system that won all awards in Finland and with tested noise reduction properties at about 40 dBA across the spectrum of noise frequencies. It also offers < 0.8 Watts/m3 C insulation against the cold which is to Siberian standards. They consist of two double glazing windows separated by a gap of say of 100 mm to 150 mm (your choice) and all already assembled into a type of box the size of your window. That sort of system was originally developed in Germany and called the Kastenfenster (box window), you see it sometimes in movies such as in the first scene of "The Reader". The outside is aluminium but the inside is wood. The arrangement adopted in Scandinavia is an evolution from the Berliner/Viena Kastenfenster rather than the Hamburg/Salzburg Kastenfenster in that both windows open fully inwards (in the latter the inner window opens in and the outer out alla Anglais).
I installed them just prior to last Christmas and it was fortunate because the winters have become very cold here in the UK. When you import these windows you need: (a) a friend with a forklift truch; (b) a guy who knows how to fit windows. In order to retrofit them to an English home you need to measure internally plaster board to plasterboard rather than externally brick to brick because they open inwards and so you need an edge to open them, you cannot fit them brick to brick. You must them make up the external gap to the brick. So buy them in white because you can then use PVC borders. Although the windows are thick you will find that you still get a window board internally (maybe 60 percent of what you once had). Each window can be taken out because they use the Scandinavian type hinges so that if you ever need to replace a window pane you can easily take a window door out and take it to the glazier. The external window cill you should purchase from Herman Gutmann AG in Germany made out of extruded aluminium. In this case you have to measure them brick to brick dont make the mistake or ordering the same length of the window. It is cheaper and nicer to do it all in white.
We are very warm and also it helps in the UK as there is always some annoying neighbour with a barking dog or people who feeds pigeons and other nuisance birds, the sound properties of these windows are amazing and you will have a hard time hearing cars approaching your drive. Moreover, if you should live near a busy road or highway/motorway, it will improve your standard of living enormously as you will hear 10 percent of what you heard before. Do not go beyond the standard 6mm 4mm panes on the double glazing because you will not gain any noise insulation from say 8 mm. You are gaining the noise insulation from the "secondary glazing" type arrangement of the system, so only the spacing between the two windows are what gains you the noise insulation rather than the thickness of the glass (which is only fine tuning). Heating bills are vastly reduced but more importantly you can live in shorts and a T shirt at home even when it is -10 C outside. In the summer the house will not get so hot because the heat insulation works both ways preventing the heat from getting in (maybe to a lesser extent than the other way round but it is better that conventional double glazing).
You can complement the system as I have done with French doors by Huet. I have ISADEX Climat Exteriour which complement the windows for noise insulation and heat insulation. These have a spring based triple locking system which is a delight.
The house is very secure now as well.