Energy saving

Balcony glazing saves energy

One of the benefits of a Lumon balcony glazing is energy savings. 

A number of independent groups have conducted studies of our balcony glazing systems. These studies have found that balcony glazing can help reduce heat consumption as well as provide remarkable energy savings. Our balcony glazing system has also been shown to reduce the need for maintenance and repairs on outdoor balconies.

Extra space and energy savings. All in one. All with Lumon.

Under most conditions, the idea of weather protection and extra room is attractive, but balcony glazing also supports environmentally friendly, energy-efficient thinking. In fact, they are one of the best ways you can improve the energy savings in your home, says PhD Kimmo Hilliaho

We’re talking about a single frameless balcony glazing unit, a ventilated space, but it builds up a buffer between the exterior and the interior. The buffer against weather, especially windy weather. Thanks to Lumon balcony glazing´s the wind pressure on the balcony is reduced, which is reducing energy costs in the heating. What it also does, on a sunny cool day, it heats up the balcony, again reducing the heating costs in the apartment. While at the same time offering a pleasant space for the apartment occupier to spend time on the balcony. 

Complex calculations, clear principles

The balcony glazing study

In August 2010, PhD Kimmo Hilliaho studied the energy effects of balcony glazing at the Tampere University of Technology.
The research was conducted in Finland and supplemented by reference calculations from Germany. The heating energy consumption of glazed and unglazed balconies was compared by using field measurements and computer simulations. In addition, the study sought to ascertain how balcony type, thermal insulation and direction affect temperatures.

This is the sum of three things: living comfort, durability of structures and energy savings. They all support each other, but perhaps the most difficult to control is energy economy, Kimmo says.

Finland study results

The results of the Finland study show that taking compensation air from a glazed balcony increases energy savings from the glazing. In the best case, glazed balconies function as efficient windbreaks, enabling owners to reduce temperature by as much as 1°C in the rooms adjacent to their balconies. This allows owners to save energy while maintaining comfort levels.

The glazing of recessed balconies (with walls on both sides) provides even more energy savings than glazing of protruding balconies (L- or U-shaped). Savings for south-side balconies are slightly higher than those for balconies facing other directions. However, the savings gained by both types are substantial. The study revealed that the size of the gaps between glass panes has little impact on energy savings.

In all cases, energy savings were maximized by keeping balcony glazing closed in winter and open in summer.

Germany study results

The Finland research was supplemented with energy calculations of balconies in Berlin that were comparable to the Finnish balconies under research. In the Berlin homes, heating energy savings gained through the use of balcony glazing varied from 5.6% to 12.0%. Energy savings were most significant with south-facing balconies and with air supply coming from the balcony.

Having air intake from the balcony, instead of from directly outside, was the most significant factor. On average, heating energy savings in Germany amounted to 8.2%, which is even more than the energy savings calculated in the Finland study.

Canada study results

Similar studies in Canada have returned even more impressive results. We’ve seen energy savings of up to 18.3% in Vancouver and up to 15.9% in Toronto — surpassing the findings of the Germany and Finland case studies! 

Energy savings

The balconies on the south side of the building receive sun radiation and solar heating most effectively. If the balcony is "retracted" meaning, its three sides are covered by an exterior wall, the balcony is optimal to glaze, according to Kimmo. Exterior balconies can be very energy-saving in suitable situations. For example, the long balconies on the southern side will collect the building heat losses. In a shady place, the small pulled out balconies are not necessarily the most energy efficient to glaze in. In these cases the heat losses to be recovered from the building and the resulting sun thermal energy is at its.

In these situations, it would be advantageous to have only the necessary ventilation in the glazing and use a relatively proof railing solution, Kimmo Hilliaho explains.

How effectively a glazed balcony works as an energy-saving solution depends on the temperature of the balcony. In addition to the weather this is significantly affected by the age of the building. The older the building is, the more the glazed balcony receives the heat loss from inside.

The energy saving is at its best when the balcony "gets" thermal energy from the sun and from the building, but “looses” very little thanks to the glazing. 

However, he reminds us that a very warm balcony for storing heat in winter works the same way in the summer. For this reason, the use of sunscreen is recommended or even necessary to ensure your comfort.

Sustainability. Hard to spell. Easy to practice.

Big advantage for the resident

Based on his studies, Kimmo Hilliaho encourages residents of apartment buildings to initiatives. If the housing company is not about to install glazing in the near future, individual residents can order the glazing themselves.

This is one of the few energy saving acts anyone can do by themselves. If the building is insulated with additional heat or if the heating system is changed, the decision cannot be made alone.

A glazed balcony protects the balcony from external tearing and the balcony is much more integrated into year-round living, Hilliaho says. Read more in our PRO Blog: 4 ways balcony glazing promotes sustainable lifestyle

Heat energy savings

Carbon footprint and CO2 emission payback time

The payback time of CO2 emissions, from mining to manufacturing, all the way to installation of a balcony glazing system can be paid back in 3-5 years, depending on different climate conditions, throughout the world. It’s a green act to get a balcony glazing system.

Read more about Carbon footprint

Carbon footprint

Conclusion: Balcony glazing pays off

In addition to comfort, properly designed and installed balcony glazing systems provide residents and apartment owners with financial benefits.
In particular, providing high-rise blocks built in the 1960s and 1970s with balcony glazing really pays off. Substantial savings could also be obtained in new high-rise blocks with a compensation air intake through the glazed balcony. 

Balcony glazing reduces maintenance and repairs

Additional research, conducted by D.Sc. (Tech.) Jussi Mattila, demonstrated that balcony glazing has a protective effect. The research results showed that balcony glazing can postpone the need for balcony renovation by six to ten years! You can readn here more about how balcony glazing protects structures and reduces renovation needs.

Sun blinds

In the warmer climate it’s typically the cooling of the apartment that takes more energy than heating it up. And in this situation the Lumon balcony glazing system also offers an excellent way to control the heat with the integrated blinds, because that will help keep of the access solar energy from the balcony and from the apartment behind. So depending on your needs the glazed Lumon balcony can be a heating buffer or a cooling buffer. And it’s important to understand that it’s not a sealed unit. It’s a ventilated space, where problems of extra humidity are eliminated.