"It is sometimes said that wooden joinery requires more maintenance than aluminium or UPVC. This prejudice has been superseded because of the developments in finishing products and the growing understanding that there is no such thing as a material which does not need any maintenance..."
Timber has been recognised as the most sustainable source for window and door production by environmentalists, industry experts and campaign groups alike.
- A sustainable source if sourced from properly managed forests and care is taken in the choice of preservatives, paints and stains, timber windows are by far the best environmental choice.
- Timber that is sourced from properly managed forests is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
- The production and disposal of UPVC windows leads to the release of highly poisonous chemicals which threaten the environment and human health.
- UPVC production involves no less than six of the fifteen most hazardous chemicals listed by European governments for priority elimination.
- Developments in timber window design and finishing products mean that modern, high performance timber windows need minimal maintenance and have a significantly longer life than UPVC.
- UPVC windows do degrade, they are not maintenance-free and worst of all they cannot be repaired when necessary
- High performance, double-glazed, timber windows need not cost more than UPVC equivalents. In fact, the National Housing Federation and many local authorities have found UPVC window frames to be more expensive in terms of initial capital cost and more expensive or equal to timber over the lifetime of the windows.
Source: Greenpeace, ‘Implementing Solutions Briefing No.1 Installing New Windows. Look Out. Your choice of window frames could seriously affect the health of our planet.’ (21st March 2007)
UPVC can contribute to air pollution, which that may reasonably be anticipated to result in an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible illness. Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen that causes a rare cancer of the liver¹.
The destination for most redundant PVC in the UK is landfill. Around 380,000 tonnes is disposed of in this way every year - a sum representing in its own right a substantial environmental impact².
Production of imported UPVC is relatively unregulated.
Sources: ¹ National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Vinyl Chloride Subpart F, OMB Control Number 2060-0071, EPA ICR Number 0186.09 (Federal Register: September 25 2001 (Volume 66, Number 186) ² The Behaviour of PVC in Landfill, European Commission DGXI.E.3, 2000