Discover How You Can Improve Home Functionality and Design With Low-E Windows – The Greener Choice!
In our last article, we discussed the properties of low-E windows and what makes them such a great choice for home development. Let’s take a look at their performance and benefits!
Performance and Benefits
Low-E windows can come with passive low-E coatings and solar control low-E coatings. Passive low-E coatings maximize solar heat gain in a home or building to allow for passive solar heating and reduce the need for artificial heating. These coatings are ideal for cold climates.
Solar control low-E coatings limit the amount of solar heat that passes through to keep the interior temperature cooler and reduce the energy demand for air conditioning. These coatings are ideal for hot to cold climates—i.e., if you live in a region that experiences both hot and cold seasons.
When shopping for low-E windows, consider the following Energy Star window performance ratings to find the ideal energy-efficient windows for your home or building.
Low U-Factor Values
The U-factor value of a window determines how well the window can prevent heat from escaping in the winter. The lower the U-factor, the better the window is at preventing heat loss. And the ideal U-factor values are between 0.20 and 1.20.
Low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
The SHGC of a window refers to how well the window can block solar heat from entering a building. The SHGC of a window will be a number between 0 and 1. And the lower the number, the better the window is at blocking heat from the sun.
Visible Transmittance (VT)
VT is the amount of visible light that can pass through a window. The VT is represented by a number between 0 and 1. And the higher the number, the greater the amount of natural light that can pass through.
Low Air Leakage (AL)
AL refers to the amount of outdoor air that enters a home or building through a window. The AL rating of windows usually ranges from 0.1 to 0.3. And the lower the rating, the better the window is at preventing outdoor air from entering the building.
High Condensation Resistance (CR)
The CR of a window determines how successful the window is at resisting the formation of condensation. Since condensation contributes to cool, damp temperatures near windows, and can also lead to mold and rot, CR is an important factor for any window, especially with wood frames.
The CR rating ranges from 1 to 100, with the higher ratings representing windows that are better at resisting condensation.
Here are just a few of the benefits of switching to low-E windows:
Reduce Energy Loss
When combined with other energy-efficient characteristics, low-E windows reduce energy loss by 30 to 50 percent. So instead of placing a high demand on your heating and cooling in winter and summer, you can save energy and money while maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures.
Protect Interior Décor
Low-e windows help keep your interior fabrics, furniture, paintings, and other décor protected from fading in the damaging UV light.
Boost Curb Appeal
Along with reducing energy bills and improving your home’s comfort, new energy-efficient windows will also boost the aesthetics and curb appeal of your home.
Choosing Low-E Windows
To make the most out of low-E windows, consider the following factors that contribute to overall energy-efficient windows when choosing your new windows:
There are many types of window frame materials to choose from, each with their own benefits.
- Aluminum frames are strong, durable, and low-maintenance. However, these frames require spacers to prevent cold transfer and condensation.
- PVC frames have a high R-value—the ability to resist heat flow—providing insulation and reducing energy costs. These frames are also versatile in design, low-maintenance, and rot- and rust-proof.
- Wood frames do not transfer heat and cold easily, so they are excellent for insulation. However, wood frames do require more maintenance and are more susceptible to rot, mold, and mildew than other types of frames.
- Hybrid wood-clad frames combine wood for its low heat transfer with vinyl or aluminum cladding for low-maintenance.
The most popular window designs for functionality, visual appeal, and energy performance are fixed, double-hung, and casement windows. These windows have air-tight seals so they can help keep homes better insulated year-round.
Additional factors to consider when choosing energy-efficient windows include:
- Double- and triple-glazed windows. These windows offer better energy performance than single-pane windows because they significantly reduce heat and cold transfer;
- Spacer systems between the glass panes also help to reduce heat transfer and condensation, while gas inserted between the glass panes improve insulation; and,
- Professional window installation to ensure your windows are properly sealed.
Hopefully, you now know everything you wanted to know about low-E windows. For more information and help choosing the best windows for your home or building, contact your local window manufacturers today.