Energy efficiency is a term that gets used quite often when it comes to home repair. There are energy efficient construction practices, materials, and–as we have discussed elsewhere on this website–energy efficient windows. However, it can be hard to tell exactly what features of your new windows make them energy efficient; after all, how can windows drain energy if they can’t be turned off or unplugged? It’s a good question, and it’s a question that we’re happy to answer. Take a look below to see what makes windows energy efficient!
The first step for windows to achieve energy efficiency depends on the type of glass. Plain glass is common in windows, but it offers no added protection against UV rays, which can cause your carpets or furniture to fade under the light of the sun. The glass in your windows can also allow hot or cold air from outside to radiate in, and that can cost you more money on your heating and cooling bills–plain glass does next to nothing to stop this.
The next time you replace your windows, instead of choosing plain glass, look for windows that come with UV-resistant films. These films can filter out up to 99% of UV light, which significantly reduces solar fading on the objects in your home. You can also look out for low-emissivity glass, also known as low-e glass, as it can block heat from entering your home through the windows.
Window glazing is a form of insulation that creates an airtight seal between the various panes of glass inside your windows as well as between the windows and the frame. This seal prevents air and temperature leakage, making it a key component of your windows’ energy efficiency. For the maximum in insulation, however, consider purchasing an insulated glass unit (IGU) that comes with thermal spacers and metal-free construction.
Multiple panes of glass make your windows more energy efficient, but so do the gasses that fill the spaces between the panes. Instead of air, most windows are filled with argon or krypton gas between panes that are odorless, nontoxic, and denser than air, which means that they more effectively prevent hot or cold air from leaking into your home.