I recently went on holiday to Marseillan in the south of France, staying in a 3 bedroom apartment in the centre of the little town. It was a very traditional, rustic place, and the people didn’t speak much English so we had to learn French quickly. We wanted to experience the real France so this location was ideal!
We left England in boiling hot sun, during one of the driest April’s on record and were heading to what we thought would be a hotter France, but after a turbulence filled landing through thick cloud we noticed how wet and cold the day was! We then drove across to Marseillan from Montpellier airport to our cosy apartment in the small town centre. Due to it being so cold, all I wanted was to walk into a warm house, but instead we were greeted by a cold one.
As aesthetic as it was, the first thing I noticed was how the windows were single glazed, traditional French windows. Well, as you all know, most of my blogs are about how double glazing is energy efficient and helps heat a house, or at least keep it warm, so the windows were the first thing for me to blame for the lack of warmth! But was it really down to the windows?
Well, apart from one of them being left open, I think the apartment in general was not energy efficient. There wasn’t any built in radiators, no central heating and I doubt there was insulation, but are the French people worried about it? I doubt it! Despite the unpleasant start to the week, the sun soon got his hat on and bathed us in temperatures reaching 27C, and this is at the end of April, so it will only get hotter throughout the peak of summer! Therefore, keeping heat in is probably the least of their worries, meaning energy efficiency in their homes is not one of their top priorities.
Here’s a few pictures I took (apologies for the quality) and you can see how we would consider them big losers on the energy front.
This was the door leading to the balcony/patio area, which is just a typical wooden door, but you can see gaps between the door and the frame, meaning heat can easily seap out of the house, and with this being at the top of the house and heat rising, it is a prime location for heat loss. If this was England, we would be seriously concerned by the drafts entering via this gap, and how much money we would be wasting. Put in a standard Anglian door and you would instantly notice the difference.
These double doors were in the living area of the apartments on the second floor. This is an area you would definitely want to be warm and cosy, but these single glazed doors wouldn’t really do much in England for keeping the heat in! They did lead to a small balcony which looked directly down the tiny road, which is typical in this region of France. Every morning a road sweeper would go round them cleaning, any cars in the way were not an issue as it would just barge them out of the way!!
This is the window in the kitchen which again shows just how traditional and rustic this area of France is. The houses are not often updated, keeping the character of the building, which is nice. I got the impression that the people of this particular town had always lived this way and were not worried about changing to follow the times. If it’s not broke, why fix it? (My Norfolkism)
Let’s say that the owner of this apartment decided to modernise the windows and doors to make it more energy efficient, especially as bills are just as expensive in France as they are in the UK. If they replaced all of the wooden windows with Anglian Home Improvements brand new A-rated EcoGain windows, they could save up to £325 a year on their bills.
What we would consider an inefficient window in the UK is probably perfect for the conditions in France, meaning the goals we have set are most definitely different to those in Marseillan.
Once I got over the fact the windows were single glazing, I had an amazing time exploring the south of France and had some great fun and experiences, especially kayaking through the mountain on the river L’Herault, something I would recommend to everyone!
Anglian Home Improvements raising the standard since 1966. Visit the Anglian website for information on our new EcoGain windows.