Mar 11 , 2022
What Makes Windows Energy-efficient?
While you’re planning a home improvement project, energy efficiency has to be an important aspect to consider. Environmentalists and even homeowners are willing to harvest the economic and health-related benefits of living in an energy-efficient home. That's a point where windows play a crucial part in making your home comfortable and energy-efficient. The inside frame of a window is as important as the material covering it, and both affect how much heat and air it allows to escape. Drafty and aging windows can cause a leak in your pocket worth $125 to $465 a year. But that's not all; living in an annoyance and uncomfortable environment is also there.
Energy-efficient or energy-saving windows comprise high-quality insulation features that prevent the loss of conditioned air from your home as well as the heat transfer in both directions. They naturally regulate your home's internal temperatures to a comfortable level. So, ideally, a window has to be such that offers heat in cold weather and traps the inside heat.
With such, energy-efficient windows not only make your home comfy and soundproof but also reduce your home's overall energy usage. They'll ensure your HVAC system won't have to work hard, and in turn, they help you save on bills. Gone are the days for standard single-pane windows.
Anyhow, you can use the following information to determine if the windows you choose are energy-efficient or not.
Multiple Window Glass Panes
While the standard single-pane windows feature only a single layer of glass, the most energy-efficient windows have multiple panes – double or triple. Double-paned windows have space in between the two glass panels made with spacers. The air pocket created between multi-layer panes is sealed shut, and in some types, the space is filled with gases to enhance efficiency. They're better at preventing heat from entering the house and reducing the temperature inside. It is a smart choice to buy multiple paned energy-efficient windows for your next window replacement project. You can expect to recoup as much as 30 percent of energy bill costs moving forward.
Quality Window Frame Materials
While glass panes play a vital role in making windows energy-efficient, the frame must be sturdy and high-quality material. Aluminum is not considered an ideal choice for energy-efficient windows, and other material types like wood, vinyl, or fiberglass can be made energy-efficient.
Anyhow, most window frames having gaps cannot seal the building envelope properly. Installation is also an important aspect to ensure a sealed window frame. So, if there are small gaps between the frame and the jamb during installation, you need to apply caulking or other suitable material.
Low-E Glass Coatings
With windows, the heat transfer is not just from drafts but is also from the glass itself. Standard glass panes will allow ultraviolet and infrared light to enter your home. On the other hand, low-E glass has an extremely low solar heat gain. Low-emissivity coatings help keep heat inside your home in winters and keep it out in summer.
Low-E glasses windows have emissivity values generally lower than double-pane glass. But if you live in a cold climate, triple-pane windows are the best option as Low-E coating is not desirable. Manufacturers use reverse Low-E coating, allowing maximum heat from the sunlight. So, the heat is trapped inside the home to keep it warm during cold months.
Window Gas Fills
High-quality energy-efficient windows do come gas-filled and trapped between the spaces of multiple panes. The most common gasses used by window manufacturers include Argon and Krypton. These are non-toxic, inert, and clear gasses that are odorless. Moreover, they're denser than air, doing a better job at insulating your home with a regular air-filled double pane window. These gas-filled windows have improved U-values in the market.
Another important feature of an energy-efficient window is non-metal or metal-hybrid spacers. These spacers insulate the edges of the window glass, further reduce heat transfer, and improve energy efficiency.
Box-shaped spacer increases heat loss and increases condensation, whereas a unique U-channel design is out in the market that offers high thermal performance. U-channel design blocks the path of escaping the heat and prevents hot and cool airflow.
Efficiency Windows Benefit Some Homes More Than OthersAlthough it's best to invest in energy-efficient windows, it is important to do your due diligence and know your home's energy profile requirement. Energy-efficient windows may be a worthwhile investment when a home has apt air sealing and quality insulation but has standard poor quality windows. On the other hand, if you already have double pane windows installed, upgrading to Energy Star might not deliver the best in terms of cost-to-value benefits.
So, evaluate your home's requirements and see if investing in energy-efficient windows can have a major impact on your home's comfort and energy efficiency. You can also ask professional help to undergo a home energy audit or home energy assessment. The report and findings will help you understand the whole picture of your home's energy use, comfort, and safety. The auditor will inspect the building from the outside, examining various components like windows, walls, eaves, and spots of major issues causing leaks. He or She will also look at the attic for useful findings.
There are many windows materials and styles, and various factors can influence their characteristics. Typically, a window with multi-paned glass is the most energy-efficient option. But other features can increase a window's efficiency. For example, tinted glass can reduce air leakage and be more reflective. Moreover, it can block 97% of the sun's rays.
If you're thinking of updating all windows of your home, going for energy-star double-paned windows might be a good decision. But it's of no use to just replace one window with the energy-star rated product as the difference might not be a valuable one.
However, the equation is not that simple. You have choices to be made ahead of, and you need to consider your home's needs as well as the climate of the area you're living in.