Double glazing is thought to originate in Scotland in Victorian times. The winters were harsh and households relied on a kitchen fire to keep warm, with larger houses suffering the most from the cold because they had more rooms to heat. At some point in this period, double glazing was invented by the Scots and eagerly received.
In the 1930s, this technology moved to the U.S and an inventor named Haven created the Thermopane. This became popular in the 40s and 50s, with the Thermopane epitomizing luxury and sophistication throughout this era.
In the UK, double glazing only rose in popularity 40 years ago, in the 1970s. Prior to this time, relaxed building codes meant that people didn’t have the incentive to improve their energy efficiency in their homes. As well as this, materials were very expensive until the 70s when the aluminium frame was developed and double glazing costs began to fall with the introduction of cheaper materials.
The 70s also heralded an energy crisis, with an oil embargo declared by the Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. This was because of the U.S supporting Israel through the Yom Kippur war.
The result was that the UK wanted to rethink how dependent it was on foreign oil. Energy prices rose sharply during this time and homeowners began to install double glazing to become more energy efficient and less reliant on oil and unreliable foreign markets.
The number of double glazing companies grew quickly to meet demand. They now vary from family businesses to large nationwide chains. From the aluminium frame based windows, double glazing has expanded to encompass a wide variety of frames and types of glass, from wood to uPVC frames and secondary, double and triple glazing solutions.
Regulatory bodies were set up to watchdog the industry and address the occasionally negative tactics by salesmen selling their wares. The major body for double glazing became the GGF (Glass and Glazing Federation).
Today, FENSA (Fenestration Self Assessment) offers membership to double glazing contractors who can then give homeowners certificates with a 5-10 year guarantee on their professional work.
Double glazing is expected to continue to rise in popularity, with more energy efficient incentives and products available on the market. It will remain an important part of homeowner’s lives as they tackle their insulation sound and heat proofing solutions and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.
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