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New Heriot Watt University study gives thumbs up for timber windows

New Heriot Watt University study gives thumbs up for timber windows

The final part of a recent study commissioned by the Wood Window Alliance (WWA), of which leading specialist manufacturer Mumford & Wood is a founder member, considers the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of alternative window frame materials. This study, which assesses four commonly used materials in window frame manufacture: timber, modified timber, aluminium-clad timber and PVC-U, finds that all timber based window frame materials are preferable (to PVC-U alternatives) in every consideration.

In the first part of the report by Dr Gillian Menzies, Institute for Building and Urban Design, Heriot Watt University, 2012, the Service Life Planning (SLP) and Whole Life Cost (WLC) showed that timber frames made to WWA standards, the organisation affiliated to the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), have an expected life of between 56 – 65 years, more than twice that of PVC-U.

Mumford & Wood

Mumford & Wood manufacture windows and doors that are made in accordance with the BWF’s third party Timber Windows Accreditation Scheme (TWAS) and are rated A+ under the BRE Global 2008 Green Guide to Specification, so achieving essential materials credits for the building.

The latest findings of the three-part research project, March 2013, allows a complete like-for-like longevity, cost and environmental impact comparison of timber and alternative materials. It also considered the Global Warning Potential (GWP) of these frame materials. While one timber frame material might be preferable to another in various exposure conditions, the result is clear that PVC-U windows are not comparable with wood alternatives in GWP.

“Products in the Mumford & Wood ranges, which are made to TWAS standards, tick all the boxes for Service Life, Whole Life Costing and Life Cycle Assessment,” says a senior spokesperson at Mumford & Wood, “which means they are greener, will last longer and are better value than any other frame material. Further still the performance of aluminium-clad timber windows predicts an expected service life of a phenomenal 71 to 83 years and could outlive many building construction types.”

Mumford & Wood

Alu-clad timber products feature heavily in the Mumford & Wood Contemporary™ collection providing low maintenance, high style and versatility. They perform perfectly in coastal regions and areas of severe weather exposure where the special protective coating of the alu-clad frame provides superb weather proofing and high resistance to moisture. The timber internal frame creates a striking contrast while the triple glazed option increases energy efficiency and security.

The research concludes that while the initial capital cost of PVC-U windows is the least expensive, the total lifetime cost should be the primary consideration. In this, timber offers the lowest cost option while alu-clad timber is favoured in certain locations benefitting from its extended service life.

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