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uPVC Windows “vital in improving energy efficiency of social housing”

The Vinyl Council of Australia welcomes the focus of the federal and NSW state governments to upgrade the energy efficiency of social housing through the $206 million energy saving upgrade package for social housing properties, announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in mid-January 2024.

We recognise that social housing properties are among the least energy-efficient homes in the country, and therefore have the greatest scope to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the living experience for inhabitants. As of 2022, there were 442,700 social housing dwellings according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

However, the failure to include upgrades to windows within these social housing properties is a significant missed opportunity given the impact that energy efficient uPVC windows can have on improving housing comfort and reducing heating and cooling costs. 

In cooler weather, 40% of a building’s heating can be lost through glazing1, while in summer, the transfer of heat from outside in through our windows leads to the need to air-condition homes and buildings.  

As an energy efficient solution, uPVC windows have excellent insulating properties making them an ideal high performance and long-lasting alternative to timber or aluminium window frames. The low thermal conductivity of uPVC as a material, the tight seals uPVC windows provide, and the ease with which they can be fabricated for double and triple glazing, make uPVC an excellent choice for energy efficient buildings. 

The Windows Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) consistently rates uPVC windows among the highest performers, significantly outperforming most aluminium windows, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary heating and cooling by as much as 48-61% compared with aluminium framed alternatives2. 

uPVC is the material most widely used for windows across Europe and the US, where the focus on energy efficient buildings began almost thirty years ago. If Australia is to catch up with our overseas counterparts, uPVC windows will be vital in the transition to more comfortable and cost-effective Australian homes. 

For more information, visit

Lyons, Peter, Bernard Hockings, Chris Reardon, and Chris Reidy. 2013 (updated 2023). “Glazing.” YourHome. Australian Government.


2 Dr. José María Baldasano Recio et al, 2005, Estimate of energy consumption and CO2 emission associated with the production, use and final disposal of PVC, aluminium and wooden windows, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya.


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