Energy used in buildings is a major contributor to Australia’s energy consumption and associated environmental impacts. The advent of complex glazing systems such as double glazing, particularly in northern America and Europe, has partially closed a weak thermal link in the building envelope. In milder climates, however, building envelope features may not be as effective in life cycle energy terms, i.e. including the embodied energy of their manufacture. A net energy analysis compares the savings in operational energy to the additional requirements for embodied energy, in terms of the energy payback period and energy return on investment. The effectiveness of double glazing is determined for an Australian residential building. A wide range of building operation regimes was simulated. These results support the principle of installing double glazing in residential buildings in Melbourne, Australia, at least in terms of net primary energy savings.
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