Let home owners decide if they want double-glazed windows

I do not agree with Mr Dennis Chew that double-glazed windows should be a standard feature of Housing Board flats near busy roads and expressways (Flats near busy roads need double-glazed windows; March 14).

First, they are more expensive than standard windows. Would lower-income families be prepared to pay extra for them?

For sound insulation, the windows would have to be closed all the time, resulting in stuffy rooms.

This could cause mould over time, which will affect those with respiratory problems, inflame their airways and cause nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, throat irritation, chest tightness and even reduced lung function.

The closed windows could trap heat. In hot and humid Singapore, having heat trapped in rooms would be uncomfortable.

Owners may tint the windows to block the heat, but it will cost extra.

Condensation can also form inside double-glazed windows, making it impossible to see through them.

If the windows are damaged, they cannot be replaced easily.

Adding double-glazed windows to older flats will alter the home's aesthetics.

It could also cause problems when the owner wishes to sell the flat, as not all buyers would want such windows.

The disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages. It is best to leave the decision to have double-glazed windows to the individual home owner.

Given our dense urban environment, it is inevitable that some homes are built near expressways.

The authorities should come up with other solutions.

The Land Transport Authority could erect noise barriers.

The National Parks Board could plant more trees to serve as visual screens and reduce the transmission of road noise.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority and HDB could ensure that there is a minimum distance between homes and roads.

If possible, they should build industries and parks next to expressways to act as noise shields.

Perhaps better noise-insulated road pavement material should be used to reduce noise on the expressways.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'Let home owners decide if they want double-glazed windows'. Print Edition | Subscribe