What Makes a Window Energy Efficient?

With issues like resource depletion, habitat loss, and global warming to worry about, it’s no wonder so many people are interested in doing their part to keep the planet healthy and well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if your efforts also benefit your budget and make you more comfortable.

For this reason, you might want to consider upgrading to energy efficient windows for your home, especially if you’re planning a window replacement project anyway. Before you select the right products, however, you need to understand what, exactly, makes a window energy efficient in the first place. Here are just a few things to look for.

Double-Paned Glass

Windows are a common point of air and temperature transfer, but choosing the right options will help you to increase insulation. Double-paned glass, as you can guess, means each window consists of two panes of glass within a frame.

Often, the space between window panes is filled with a gas like argon or krypton, just for example, and this adds an extra layer of insulation between your home interior and the outside. Properly maintaining the space between panes is important, and this is why modern, energy-efficient products also feature warm edge spacers that help to stop heat transfer around the edges of windows, where it is most common.

Whether you’re trying to keep your home warm in winter or cool in summer, double-paned windows can significantly boost your insulation and reduce your energy demand, lowering costs in the process.

Tight Seal

Windows that don’t seal tightly are a common point of ingress for outside air. If you notice drafts around your windows, it could be that they aren’t sealing properly when closed. In some cases, a simple fix like added weather stripping could suffice for a short time, but if you want to increase air tightness, energy efficiency, and temperature regulation throughout your home, upgrading to windows designed for a tight seal is a great solution.

Materials

In truth, modern, energy-efficient windows can be made out of both traditional and contemporary materials. However, you’re likely to get the best value and performance from fiberglass, vinyl, or aluminum frames. The first two can be hollow and filled with foam for increased insulation and energy efficiency, while aluminum frames are often at least partially made from recycled materials, which helps to cut your carbon footprint in other ways.

UV Protection

When you hear the term “UV protection”, you probably think of sunblock, hats, and your favorite pair of wayfarers. Think of your windows like a giant pair of UVA/UVB protective sunglasses and you’ll get the idea. Your windows can actually cut down on the heat-producing rays entering your home, helping to reduce utility bills and protect surfaces and people inside.

Low-E glass panes not only reflect UV rays to keep them out of your home, but they also reflect infrared light, and this helps to keep heat out in the summer, and also hold it in during the winter, making for a more comfortable home interior year-round and reducing your energy costs in the process.

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