When I came to Australia in 2007 I was a bit confused about the windows here. I couldn’t quite understand why all the windows were single glazed? And awning windows? Why would you even do such a thing? Back then it was hard and expensive to get your hand on high performing windows.
Luckily things have changed now. There are lots of Australian suppliers that have caught up. And many companies that import windows from overseas.
Be careful though with cheap windows if you import them. Make sure they are passive house certified. They need to comply with your local building regulations. (safety glass and openability) . Also check if they comply with your BAL requirements. And that you find someone who can install them.
On most of our projects we use tilt and turn windows. Or tilt only windows. Why? You might ask? And what is a tilt and turn window?
Here in Australia most windows are awnings. That means the bottom part of the window tilts outwards to get fresh air in.
This has a few problems:
Hot air rises up.
Meaning if you want to purge hot air out of your house this type of window is not ideal. Also, in an extreme scenario, if someone wants to break in, they could pull on the window, and rip it out.
Plus, in most cases the seals for the awnings here in Australia are not great. Leading to a lot of draught.
If possible, we try to avoid awning windows.
We love the tilt & turn windows.
Partially because that’s what I’ve grown up with in Germany. But also, because they function better. There is the tilt function. Similar to an awning. But the other way around. They tilt at the top and inwards. The hot air can get out. And if someone wanted to break in, they can’t pull it open. And they are strong enough so you cannot push them in either. Meaning you can keep the windows open even if you are not home. And you won’t need Crimsafe either.
Also, you have the option to fully open the window. Like a casement window, fully hinged. Like a door, if you don’t know what a casement window is. This is perfect for cross ventilation. But also makes it much easier to clean windows. (They open inwards) So you don’t need a ladder to clean them from the outside.
Rest assured. You can still mimic the look for period style or double hung windows. The manufacturers can add fake mullions to give a similar look. This can work well for heritage homes or period style homes too.
Many of the high performing windows you get in Australia are imported from overseas. Others import the frames and manufacture the windows here. And some manufacture windows according to European standard. Which is tilt & turn.
Tilt & turn is the standard in high performing windows. You can’t get awning or double hung windows. (Disclaimer: There are a few Australian manufacturers that do them, but they are hard to find and can cost a lot.). So, tilt & turn is usually the most cost-effective option.
You can get sliding windows, but they often cost a lot more than their tilt and turn counterparts.
Stacking sliding doors or windows on the other hand do cost quite a bit more than normal sliding doors. Reason being, sealing those doors and windows is much harder. It is difficult to get them air tight.
Bi-fold doors are even harder. There aren’t many manufacturers that offer passive house certified bi-fold doors. We had found 2 companies overseas when we last researched it. But they turned out way too expensive for the client.
In short, if you want cost effective high performing windows. Or aiming for a passive house certification. There is no way past the humble tilt & turn window.