The oldest surviving examples of sliding sash windows were installed in England in the 1670s. Since, then they have only grown in popularity. Often found in Georgian and Victorian buildings, they have remained one of the most popular window style choices over the last 300 years.
If you are a householder needing a replacement for your sash windows, then you may be debating as to whether to choose wooden or plastic frames; and there are pros and cons to both but environmentalists now firmly back wooden frames over a plastic option despite sliding sash UPVC window replacements being around just 60% of wood costs.
However, some would argue that using wooden frames is actually worse for the environment because of the need to preserve forests. It is also argued that UPVC sliding sash windows provide increased insulation, reducing a home's Carbon footprint. Another plus point for PVC-U is that they provide added security to a property, as they can be securely locked.
Wood may be an expensive choice, but it is possible to find a moulded plastic option for around 60% of the wooden price that provides the additional benefits a UPVC sliding sash window offers. This option may allow you to recoup the money that you have paid for them in just a few years as you save money on maintenance costs.
Plastic does use up valuable oil reserves to make, whilst wood can be taken from sustainable sources. On top of this, you have to find a way of disposing plastics that is not detrimental to the environment, whilst wood can be broken down much more easily.
While the case can be argued for each sash window material, it is up to each home to decide for themselves which is the best choice for their needs. At the moment, it seems that wood is the best option if you are concerned about the impact you make upon the environment. However, we predict that in the future composite plastics will be the most ‘green' option available.