High-performance windows (UW ^ 0.8 W/m2K and g ^ 50 per cent), south oriented and not shaded,


Figure 9.5.1 A high-quality window construction with thermal insulation layer in the multi-layer frame (three-pane glazing with thermal optimized edge system)

can achieve a positive energy balance, even during the shortened heating period (typically November to March) of high-performance houses.

Solar gains through standard windows with double glazing and un-insulated frames (UW ^ 1.6 W/m2K) are not sufficient to offset the window heat lost during the winter period. Such windows lose up to ten times more heat than the highly insulated opaque insulated walls (U-value 0.15 W/m2K) of high-performance housing. A superior window glazing and framing system is required, as illustrated in Figure 9.5.1.

This section is based on case studies in Germany, which has a similar climate to that of Central and Eastern Europe, and southern Scandinavia. In Southern and Western Europe, with Mediterranean or maritime climates, the heating season is less severe, so windows may more readily achieve a positive balance. The Passivhaus concept developed in Germany is one proven approach towards achieving very low energy housing with superior comfort (Truschel, 2002).

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