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AC18 - Life cycle analysis of PVC windows

Written by: CIC Start Online

"Life cycle analysis of PVC windows" by Glasgow Caledonian University and CMS Enviro Systems


The study will assess the Lifetime Embodied Energy of a CMS PVCu triple glazed 0.8wm2k window along with the operational energy reduction during the products lifetime or building lifetime. Taking the embodied and operational energy values, it will estimate the overall life cycle energy saved in terms of CO2 reductions and /or energy cost savings compared to other materials whilst taking account of the capital costs of buying and installing the products. It is believed that the low cost innovative technology employed in this product will have major paybacks in operational energy lifetime savings compared to other materials and any other window product to date. This research will help clarify accurate paybacks from using this product and quantify these in terms of potential reduction of a building's heat load and reduction of energy loss (CO2) over time.

Many of the materials employed in this product are recycled and can be recycled several times into the future. The research is designed to give accurate confirmation of optimum performance and delivery, which in turn will lead to the more efficient application of scarce resources through more widescale use of such windows, which in turn will help legislators meet CO2 reduction targets and assist all those trying to meet the ambitious 34% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050. This product will also be central to achieving Code Levels 4,5 and 6 in the building regulations and specifically the Zero carbon target by 2016.  

This research project will help the process of obtaining accreditation for CMS 0.8wm2k windows as approved products under the governments Green Deal scheme. The energy cost reductions from using these products which this study is quantifying will be central to proving the ‘golden rule’. i.e that the cost of buying and installing the zero carbon window is less than the energy savings over the 25 year payback period.

Key words: building components, PVC windows, carbon footprint, life cycle environmental impact assessment 


Dr Charles Russel, Glasgow Caledonian University 

For CMS Enviro Systems

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.


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