What Makes A Window Energy Efficient?
It can sure be exceedingly hurtful to pay high utility bills every month. But thanks to energy-efficient windows, your electricity bills can go down significantly.
Energy-saving windows, also called energy-efficient windows, offer increased insulation to a house.
This means heated or cooled air within the home is less likely to escape. Similarly, harsh winds outside are also less likely to enter your house. This reduces the need for additional heating or cooling inside, bringing down the electricity costs.
The Department of Energy has estimated that energy-efficient windows can reduce a household’s bill by 21 to 31 percent. For an average home, this could save 125 to 465 dollars.
These energy-efficient windows have several unique specifications. You must look for most of these features in an efficiency window to help provide a maximum level of insulation to your home.
Let’s have a look at what are the features that make a perfectly energy-efficient window.
Multiple Window Glass Panes
Energy-efficient windows can either be double-paned or triple-paned. This means it can have two or three glass sheets placed next to each other in a single window, with small separators between each one.
These sheets are put together with some space between each. The room is either left with air locked in between or filled with gases like krypton or argon. The sides of the glass sheets are sealed securely, restricting any transfer of air or gas through them.
The air or gas trapped between them is an excellent insulator against heat. This means it restricts the transfer of heat energy across it.
The air or gas between two window panes allows for double the insulation in a house compared to a single-paned window. Hence, a triple-paned window allows for maximum insulation.
Quality Window Frame Materials
An energy-saving window frame is just as important as the type of glass used to make the window.
Most of the insulation provided through the paned glass could be of no use if the material of the frame used for the glass still allows heat or cold air to enter the rooms.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the material used for the frame is not a conductor of heat but an insulator instead. Aluminum, an excellent conductor of heat, is not preferred in this regard. This is because it will allow heat to transfer and result in an increased need for air conditioning.
Using materials like vinyl for the window's frame is the most helpful in saving energy in the house. Vinyl naturally holds insulating properties and can also prove to be of excellent quality. It is also very affordable and much less likely to deteriorate over time.
Low-E Glass Coatings
A low-emissivity coating is also sometimes used to cover glass windows. This coating allows very limited wavelengths of light to pass through the windows. This means much of the heat-causing waves are reflected by this coating.
It reflects this heat without compromising the passage of light into the house. This provides enhanced insulation since heat cannot escape through the windows but is reflected in the house during winter, producing a warm greenhouse effect.
This can also be used in reverse during hotter summer months. A low-emissivity coating on the outside reflects any heat from the atmosphere, limiting the amount that enters the house. This ensures the place is kept relatively colder inside.
Window Gas Fills
As discussed before, the space between paned glass sheets can be left as it is with air only. Or it can also be filled with gases like krypton or argon.
There are no disadvantages to having these gases in your windows since they are not toxic and do not have any color or odor. There is, however, a significant advantage that these gases have over using air only. Gases like argon are considered even better insulators than air.
Hence, using such inert gases to fill in the gap between two sheets of glass can enhance the overall insulation of the house even further.
It is impossible to ensure efficiency in using window panes without using something that seals the air between the two sheets. This is where window spacers come into use.
Spacers are a fundamental unit of a window that has panes installed. They provide structural strength to the window and make sure the panes are fixed in their place.
Most importantly, they lock in the air or gas and ensure no air passes through the edges and sides of the window. This, in turn, provides proper insulation and reduced heat transfer.
Like everything else that makes up an energy-efficient window, window spacers are also preferred to be made of materials that offer insulation. This means no or little heat can be transferred through the material. It is most commonly made up of foam.
Efficiency Windows Benefit Some Homes More Than Others
One of the essential points to note here is that although energy-efficient windows can significantly affect how temperatures inside the house are maintained, many other factors also affect the overall insulation of a home.
Hot or cold air can also transfer or leak through other parts of a house. In this case, heat will still be conducted in or out of the house, and the temperature inside the house will not be able to stay at its optimum level. The benefits of using an energy-efficient window will then be minimized.
On the other hand, a home with additional air-sealing and insulating measures will be better able to prevent heat transfer. Its needs air conditioning and hence electricity bills will go down. It will benefit more from an energy-efficient window.
A thorough audit of home energy can help in a better assessment of the thermal insulation situation of a home. It can also help identify the areas that need more attention to make the home as heat transfer-proof as possible.
These features set efficiency windows apart from all other types of windows and allow them to save money. But you must not forget that efficiency windows work best when combined with other energy-saving measures in the house.