Mar 16 , 2022
What Makes a Window Energy Efficient?
What makes a window energy efficient is all in the type of frame, glazing, installation, and treatments applied. Below are some of the features you can incorporate to ensure your windows are as efficient as possible.
Did you know that windows are responsible for up to 30% of a home’s heat loss? This means that if your windows aren’t energy efficient, you could be losing a lot of money on heating bills. If you are thinking about replacing your windows, or if you want to make your current windows more energy efficient, some of the factors to look out for are multiple window panes, quality frame materials, and low-emissivity glass coatings. And, remember, not all homes will benefit from energy efficient windows - you need to conduct a home energy audit to find out if your home is one of them.
Read on for more information!
Multiple Window Glass Panes
The most common way to make a window more energy efficient is by using multiple window glass panes. New constructions encourage the use of double glazing as one of the simplest ways to make a building efficient.
When the sun shines on a window, it can cause the indoor temperature to rise. By using multiple window glass panes, the sun's heat is spread out over a larger area, which reduces the amount of heat that enters your home.
Quality Window Frame Materials
Window frame material also affects window energy efficiency. By choosing a quality window frame material, you can prevent the loss and entry of excess heat into your space. Materials like wood and vinyl are good insulators, which means they help keep the heat inside your home in the winter and the cool air inside your home in the summer. To make vinyl window frames more durable, UV stabilizers are added to the polyvinyl chloride to break sunlight before it hits the window. The hollow cavities can also be insulated for more thermal efficiency similar to that of fiberglass frames.
Aluminum and steel are good conductors which make them insulators. Although windows made of these two materials are the most common, versatile, durable, and beautiful, they are not as energy efficient. However, the window energy efficiency of metal windows can be improved by introducing a thermal break. This is usually a plastic strip placed between the inside and outside layers of the metal.
Low-E Glass Coatings
Another energy efficient feature to look for in a window is low-emissivity (Low-E) glass coatings. Low-E coatings are transparent, very thin (almost invisible) metal oxide layers that are applied directly to the glass surface to control heat transfer. The coatings can be applied further in the manufacture of the glass but they are also available for purchase in the form of films. Low -E films offer more advantages like reducing fabric color fading and glare.
Low emissivity glass coatings work to improve window energy efficiency by reflecting heat from the room back into the room when it’s cold and preventing the entry of heat from the atmosphere into the room. A low-E glass coating can also be used in reverse to increase the amount of heat that is let into a room. This can be useful in rooms that are difficult to keep warm, such as basements and attics.
Window Gas Fills
Window gas fills are another way to make windows more energy efficient. The gas fills are applied in between the glazing layers. There are two preferred types of window gas fills- argon and krypton. These gases are odorless and inert; making them suitable and harmless to humans and pets. Argon is the most common and is used in double-pane windows. Krypton is less common and is used in triple-pane windows. These gases are heavier than air, so they help to keep the window panes from shifting around, which reduces the amount of air infiltration. This helps insulate the window to keep warm air from escaping in cold weather and prevents heat from entering in hot weather.
Window spacers are used to separate the panes of glass in a window. They help improve the energy efficiency of the window by creating an insulating barrier between the panes of glass. They keep the window panes from touching each other, which helps prevent heat loss. There are two types of window spacers- metal and plastic. Metal window spacers are the most energy efficient, but they are also the most expensive. Plastic window spacers are less energy efficient, but they are more affordable.
Efficiency Windows Benefit Some Homes More Than Others
While energy efficient windows can save you money on your energy bills, they may not be right for every home. For example, if you live in a mild climate, where the temperature doesn't fluctuate much throughout the year, you may not see a significant difference in your energy bills. However, if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures, energy efficient windows can help you save money on your energy bills.
Different homes have different energy profiles, which means that some homes will benefit more from having energy efficient windows than others. To determine if your home would benefit from energy efficient windows, you need to conduct a home energy audit. A home energy audit is a process where an energy professional comes to your home and inspects it for areas where you could be losing energy. After the audit is complete, the energy professional will give you a report that includes recommendations for improving your home's energy efficiency. One of these recommendations may be to install energy efficient windows.
These are some of the most effective ways you can make your windows more energy efficient. As you shop or design your building, also remember that fixed windows, even with little functionality, eke out more efficiency because of the unbroken airtight seal. You may also look out for Energy Star Logo to make shopping easier. And, have your windows expertly installed as frequent malfunction reduces efficiency.
By choosing energy efficient windows, you can save money on your energy bills and help reduce your carbon footprint.