Glass for Europe is one of the bodies that is supporting the push for a pan-European Window Energy Rating label. They have a pretty well put together website as part of that push. Now personally, I am not for yet another label. We already have one and a significant portion of the industry already have doubts about it. But, their site does contain some rather interesting facts and figures about the glazing sector within Europe.

1 billion windows

According to their website and the market research they mention, over the next 15 years there is going to be over a billion new windows installed across Europe. The reason being, by their estimates, 85% of existing glazing on the whole continent is inefficient. 44% of that is single glazed, 42% of that is outdated double glazing. I am fully aware that that maths doesn’t add up, but I’m am only quoting the numbers on their website.

Point being however, if the figures quoted on their website are accurate, it does show that there is a huge opportunity across the continent in the replacement window market.

This, again according to figures they quote on their website, could:

  • create 14% more jobs by 2050
  • reduce household energy costs by up to 70% by 2050
  • save 100m tonnes of CO2

It all sounds good, but I have some reservations. We already know that studies on energy efficient windows here in the UK have varied results. Some reports say energy efficient windows can save a couple of hundred pounds in energy bills per year, some are north of £400. That certainly won’t be 70% of a UK household’s energy consumption. So I think that 70% figure is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I would like to think that these extra billion window would create more jobs. But, with technology advancing the way it is, and a recent report from the BBC demonstrating how all industries are becoming more automated, maybe 14% is a tad high.

100m tonnes of CO2 saved? That I guess would be linked to the 70% reduction in energy costs. Again, I’m not convinced. I am sure it will fall, just not by that much.

EU Energy Label

All of the above sounds great, and I really hope that across Europe, as well as here in the UK, we make the very most of what appears to be a very good opportunity. But do we really need a pan-European Window Energy Label to help us do that?

Up to press, the UK sector has worked hard to promote the benefits of energy efficient windows to it’s homeowners by way of the existing WER label and a rising use of U-Values. So far this message seems to be working well.

But by trying to implement a pan-European scheme, are they in effect saying that other European countries are not doing a good enough job as we are? I fully believe that countries like Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark etc all do a very good job of promoting the benefits of energy efficient windows to their home owners. Especially given their climates are much colder than our own.

I just cannot see a tangible reason why Europe needs to go through the expense and immense amount of testing and paperwork in order to create a label which covers all windows within the EU. Right now all I can see this as is a money making scheme for someone in the chain, and a further way to tie European countries that little bit closer together.

Nothing is decided yet, and I hope that the powers that be really do take a long hard look at our situation, as well as the rest of the continent, and make the right call.

But to end on a positive note, one billion extra windows to be sold over the next 15 years is something to be very positive about.

The Window Energy Label website

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