It is undeniable that most home and business owners want beautiful windows to complement their exterior. Unfortunately, with rising energy costs today, energy efficiency is now an even more significant concern when it comes to homes and commercial buildings. Today, energy-conscious homeowners and business owners want to minimize heating and cooling costs, so energy efficiency has moved up a few notches on their lists of priorities. It can be by selecting the right windows, which is a crucial step. So, how far should you go when selecting energy-efficient windows? The key is to know what kind of window upgrades will give you the best results without overspending.
Still, it is crucial to think hard and wise before you commit to new windows. You have to think everything through-- from the material of the window frame to the glass coating, the glass type, number of panes, and even that air between the panes. They all contribute to massive differences in energy efficiency. If you are here to learn about different window replacement options to maximize your energy efficiency, you came to the right place! Best Access Doors has compiled and compared energy efficient window replacement options just for you.
Window Frame Options
When it comes to frame materials, metal is the most conducive of the frame materials that we included here and, thus, is the worst insulating frame material since cold air conducts through the metal very quickly. If you want materials that perform much better in thermal conductivity, you can choose among vinyl, fiberglass, wood, and different composite and hybrid materials.
These windows, despite lacking thermal resistance, actually do have many advantages. They can be lightweight or reliable, and will only require very little maintenance. Fortunately, with today’s advances in window designs, windows now have a thermal break within the frame with an insulating material in between to prevent heat from conducting directly from the property’s interior to the outside. Moreover, some windows have aluminum cladding over another element, like wood.
This kind of frame combines some qualities of vinyl and wood windows. They are often used to try to capture a wood frame appearance while being much more waterproof material than wood. A composite window frame material mostly consists of composite wood products, such as particleboard and laminated strand wood, and some mixed with polymer plastics. It makes the window much less susceptible to rotting and decay due to moisture.
These frames are expensive and often the choice in many high-end homes with historical restorations or classical designs. Wooden frames insulate pretty well and are much better than metal but not yet as good as insulated fiberglass or vinyl. However, the main issue when it comes to wood windows is maintenance. Wood is the most vulnerable to weather and moisture. If you fail to maintain this correctly, the windows could get warped or rot prematurely from moisture getting within the frame. Also, wood windows can even have different kinds of exterior cladding, such as aluminum. It may slightly reduce energy-efficiency, but it may weather the elements better.
These are very strong and have spaces within the frame. If you fill the areas within the window frame with insulation, your windows can have far superior energy efficiency than wood or composite structures.
In the USA, vinyl window frames have become extremely popular and are often the most cost-effective option. Vinyl windows typically require very little maintenance, very resistant to weather and moisture, and do not need to be painted. The material generally consists of PVC, which usually contains UV stabilizers that prevent the sun from breaking it down. Like fiberglass windows, vinyl windows have a similar structure and can have insulation, which makes them more energy-efficient than wood frames or uninsulated vinyl.
When it comes to glass options for your windows, you have plenty of choices to make. The first decision is the number of panes-- most insulating windows are double pane (two layers of glass with space in between). However, you can also have triple-pane windows relatively, and sometimes even quadruple pane. Take note that the light that enters the window can also be manipulated drastically by the coating on the window panes.
Have you ever wondered what makes up a reflective-looking glass? It likely has a coating on its glazing, such as Low-E coating. When we say Low-E coating (low emissivity) surface, this refers to sheets that are super thin metal oxide layer control thermal heat transfer through windows that have insulated glass. Low-E coatings are for optimizing solar gain for colder climates or low solar gain for warmer climates.
Spectrally Selective Coatings
These are unique kinds of Low-E coatings designed to prevent a large amount of heat from transmitting through the glass while allowing much light to come through. It involves the window coating reflecting the infrared rays from the sun while allowing the other wavelengths through. It can help in reducing the building’s electric cooling expenses by upwards of 40% in hot climates.
Air Between The Panels
If you’re considering the thermal conductivity of a window through its glass, a big part contributes to the air between the panes, which can make a huge difference. Argon and krypton are the preferred options since both are inert, invisible, odorless gases. They can significantly decrease heat transfer compared to regular air.
Type Of Window
The window’s operating type is the final factor that plays a significant role in the window’s energy-efficiency-- it means how the window opens. If the frame is ideally-installed, there should be minimal air leakage around the frame. But when it comes to the actual window, there will be some air leakage if it opens. The most energy-efficient type of window is a fixed or picture window since it is sealed and does not open. The next most energy-efficient window would be when the opening part of the shutter closes flush against the frame like a door, such as an awning or casement window. Sliding windows are windows that have the most air leakage since they do not close flush with the frame.
For more energy efficiency, you can also install access panels from Best Access Doors. To know more about our doors, visit www.bestaccessdoors.com today.
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