Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Replacing Windows

Many people have the issue of whether to replace their windows, so we asked SEE-Change members what their thoughts were on this topic.

QUESTION: I’m seriously considering replacing all my windows but need some impartial advice – is there any expertise within SEE-Change?

Following are answers from SEE-Change members in response to this question:

  • What is your vision about what you want?  What are the current issues? Are your current windows aluminium or wooden frames? What condition are they in? Many wooden frames can be relatively easily retrofitted by replacing the single glazing with double glazed units. Which way do they face? Do they get summer sun? Winter sun? What shading do they have? Do you actually want the windows where they are, or might you consider moving the window while you are in the disruption of replacing them? Consider changing the size of problematic windows?  Will they be in the way when open? (ie across pathways etc) Is noise a factor? How rich are you feeling? You might consider replacing some but not others. The way the windows are hung is also important. Top-hung awning style have the advantage of secuity, but in my experience the extreme disadvantage of being tedious to open and close, and VERY poor for ventilation. In the summer, the air that does come in is rising from the usually very hot ground, rather than being the fresh sea(?) breeze.  Choose windows that are easy to use, and catch the breeze!Then there are the different coatings on the glass.  Some let heat travel one way but not the other, some reduce heat flow both ways. Some coatings will allow sunlight in when the sun is low,  but is much more reflective when the sun is higher. This is great for northern windows with insufficient eaves. It is helpful but not necessarily sufficient for an unshaded western window where it will reflect earlier in the day, but allow the sun in during the late afternoon. Having considered all these factors, there are the questions of the different coatings on the glass. These also depend on what heat and light you want to keep in or out , and when. The frames you replace with should not let heat through. Aluminium frames should have a secure and sufficient insulation break, otherwise they will be a significant area of heat transfer.

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government