What Makes Energy-Efficient Windows Energy-Efficient?
Updating your aged windows with new, energy-efficient windows will save you a bundle on energy. This is fairly common knowledge, of course. But what many homeowners don't know is how energy-efficient windows work. There are actually a few features that make them able to save you energy.
Insulating Sash and Frame Materials
A lot of the efficiency has to do not with the glass, but with the materials surrounding the glass. Years ago, windows were framed with wood, which was not the most insulating material. In other words, heat would pass through it quite easily. Today, though, most energy-efficient windows are framed in vinyl, which is more insulating. This means you lose less heat directly through the materials that surround your window glass.
The seals between the glass and the sash material have also been improved over the years. In today's energy-efficient windows, these seals are made specifically to be extra secure. As such, energy-efficient windows will remain efficient for many years to come. Older windows, in contrast, had weaker seals that would break down and start leaking, causing the windows to lose efficiency not long after they were installed. The seals on today's energy-efficient windows will eventually break down, too, but not for many years.
If you look closely at modern, energy-efficient windows, you'll see that there are actually two panes of glass in each window sash. This greatly increases the efficiency of the windows. But actually, it is not the glass itself that is raising the efficiency; it is the air trapped between the panes of glass. This layer of air is a great insulator and helps reduce energy loss through the windows. In some high-end windows, it's not even air — it's argon gas, which is more insulating than air.
Some, but not all, energy-efficient windows are also covered in low-e coatings. These coatings are basically made to reflect heat. When heat hits the low-e coating, it bounces right back where it came from. Low-e windows are a good choice for those in really warm or really cold climates, but they'll save energy just about anywhere.
After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what makes energy-efficient windows so efficient. Now, when you shop for windows, you can have a better idea of what the words on the labels mean. Contact a professional for more information about energy-efficient windows.