Today energy efficiency is very important to people buying or renovating their homes. Certain materials, designs and technologies can vastly improve the efficiency of one’s home. An easy upgrade that improves efficiency and doesn’t break the bank is the windows. There are several factors to consider when choosing new windows for your home. Applying these simple elements will provide more energy-efficiency, leading to more money in your pocket. Here are a few things to take into account when looking at new windows for your pre-existing home or new build.
Glazing or Glass
The first decision to make when selecting new windows that will provide the most energy-efficient results for your home is the type of glazing used on the windows. A common practice throughout new builds is different glazing for different window locations throughout the home.
In older buildings, it was common to find single-glazed windows. This standard has greatly changed; in new builds, the new normal is double or even triple-glazed windows.
The type of glaze used on windows greatly depends on the type of glass, the coating, the gas filler, and so on. Every factor is taken into account to properly select the right glaze for your windows. Here are a few common glaze technologies that are being used in the industry today.
Insulated glazed windows have two or more panes of glass. To insulate the windows, there is a space left between the two panes; and they are then sealed airtight. This airtight seal works as an insulator.
This type of insulating is effective to some degree, but in colder climates, it may lead to heat escaping reducing the overall efficiency of the home.
Spectrally Selective Coatings
There are ways to combat heat escaping and it all depends on the coating selected. The position of the window in relation to the sun and the direction they are facing play a large role in how much heat actually escapes from your home.
When selecting a glaze, one that provides sunlight and a view are important. However, you want one that will transmit as little of the sun’s non-visible infrared radiation as possible. With a spectrally selective coating, 40% to 70% of heat can be filtered while still maintaining a proper view and maintaining the heat within your home.
An overlooked aspect of windows that leads to a great deal of heat loss is the material used to frame out the windows. Some materials are much better than others and will lead to higher heat retention, ultimately leading to a more energy-efficient home.
Aluminum and Metal
Both aluminum and metal are very strong and require little to no maintenance. However, metal conducts heat rapidly, making it ineffective for framing leading to no real insulation.
Fiberglass frames tend to have a cavity, allowing for real insulation to be put around the window. With this feature fiberglass frames outperform most of the other materials.
Although not as superior as fiberglass, wooden window frames still insulate better than aluminum or metal. The downside of wooden frames is they require regular maintenance as they are susceptible to rotting due to weather exposure.
Gas fillers and Spacing
It is typical for windows to have a space between pains. This gap is usually between ½ inch to ¼ inch. This spacing is generally filled with either argon or krypton; both are non-toxic, odorless, clear gasses that aid in insulating the windows.
Argon tends to be used in gaps that are ½ an inch, and it tends to be cheaper and performs well in the larger gap.
Krypton tends to be used in smaller gaps, around ¼ inch. Krypton tends to have better thermal properties, and because of this, it is typically more expensive.
Spacers are kept between the panes of glass so the space is maintained properly, ensuring the gas used is effective. These spacers also provide another seal to the window and lead to a better insulating factor. With the proper spacing, the energy efficiency of the windows will increase and maintain itself.
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