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Enhancing church windows with Selectaglaze secondary glazing

Many churches are historic buildings, community hubs and form a crucial part of our heritage. Some have fallen into disrepair, so they are being deconsecrated and offered for change of use. However, whether a church is still used for worship or not, it must be fit for purpose and careful use of secondary glazing can help accomplish modern day standards.

Church windows contain intricate curved designs including stained glass. Selectaglaze secondary glazing is designed to have minimal visual impact on the design of the original building – inside and out. The bespoke units can reflect the lines of the original windows, including gothic arched, curved, round and curved on plan. Secondary windows set in front of stained-glass panels can incorporate anti-reflective glass to maintain clarity.

Some single glazed leaded windows in churches are thermally inefficient and frequently are quite draughty. Selectaglaze secondary glazing includes two efficient seals and the warmer inner pane of glass will also reduce draughts leading to improved comfort levels near the window. Using thermally efficient low emissivity glass in the secondary glazing, heat loss can be reduced by up to 65%. In turn, this should help save money on energy bills.

External noise can be troublesome for congregations. Many churches also serve as local community centres holding activities that may generate just as much noise, disturbing local residents. Selectaglaze secondary glazing fitted with standard glass can significantly reduce noise levels by 42 – 45dB and even higher levels if thicker glass is introduced.

Unfortunately, churches can become vulnerable targets. There has also been an increase in church break-ins. A secondary window fitted with a lock and strengthened glass provides an additional barrier to entry. Selectaglaze also offers enhanced systems accredited to ‘Secured by Design’ and by the Loss Prevention Certification Board.  

Downing Place United Reformed Church in Cambridge was treated with secondary glazing recently by Selectaglaze. It was formed in June 2018 following the joining of Emmanuel and St Columba’s United Reformed Churches. The redeveloped St Columba’s site has been extensively renovated as part of a £3.3 million project led by Archangel Architects into an open and inclusive church, and community centre. Becoming thermally efficient and wasting less energy being very important to the Church, not only on an environmental level, but also economically.

Selectaglaze installed 56 units; comprising of four Series 45 side hung casements in the Chapel and 52 Series 46 slimline fixed lights installed in the Nave. A large circular primary window in the Nave was perhaps the most complex treatment due to its shape and elevated position. A timber mullioned cartwheel frame was crafted to securely hold the secondary glazing. Seven bespoke Series 46 fixed light segments were made for it and glazed with 6mm toughened glass to give additional rigidity and structural strength.  

Jesus Church in Troutbeck, a rural village in the Lake District, had Selectaglaze secondary glazing installed by partner Fenestral, to raise the thermal efficiency of its thirteen lancet shaped stained glass windows (approximately 2m x 0.5 m) in the north and south walls.

The spectacular and delightful Pre-Raphaelite east window, installed in 1873, was designed by Edward Burne-Jones, with some of the detailing by Ford Madox Brown, and made by William Morris.  Historic England classified Jesus Church as Grade II* Listed to protect all its features of architectural interest.

The heating of the church is run on an antiquated oil-fired system which takes several hours to warm up the church. Once heated, a great deal of the energy was lost through the original windows. Jesus Church’s Treasurer, Mr Bradbury contacted Fenestral, partner of Selectaglaze for over 20 years, to discuss the process of exploring the treatment of the thirteen side windows.

It was decided that Series 41 side hung casements would be installed, to provide full access for cleaning and maintenance, although would normally be kept locked shut with the flush lock and cover plate.

The church has now been made more thermally efficient with the addition of secondary glazing and they should start to see a reduction in heating costs, with less heat escaping and the pesky draughts eliminated.

Selectaglaze is the leading specialist in secondary glazing, established in 1966 and Royal Warrant Holder since 2004.

For further details, visit:, T: 01727 837271, E:

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