Energy-efficient windows are more popular than ever, and for good reason; when you install them throughout your home, you’ll benefit from major advantages. Let’s take a look at some of the most important features of energy-efficient windows so you can know what separates these windows from alternatives, plus see why they might be beneficial improvements to your house.
Energy Efficient Windows: Multiple Glass Panes
Firstly, most energy-efficient windows have multiple glass panes rather than just one. Single-pane windows are terrible from a heating perspective, both in summer and winter. They do little to keep the heat out in the summer or cool in the winter, meaning your HVAC system will need to work overtime to keep your house properly warmed. Not to mention they don’t typically meet modern building codes. As of the writing of this article, all windows installed should have a u-factor of 0.30 or below. The U-Factor measures how well the window insulates. While the U-Factor can take any value, in general, they start at 0.20 and up. Double-pane windows are standard, and triple-pane windows are much more energy-efficient. You can also change to Krypton gas instead of Argon.
Insulating Gas Between Glass Panes
As alluded to above, double and triple-pane windows have an advantage that single-pane windows don’t; they have inert, heavier gasses in between pairs of glass panes, which are heavier gasses and insulate your house more effectively. This, in turn, will help you save money on your energy bill by preventing heated air from flowing out of your house and cold air from getting inside.
However, make sure that your chosen multi-pane windows have gas insulators. Not all do, but your contractor should be able to select the right windows for your needs if you bring this up during your initial consultation or estimate. Only once at HX Home Solutions – at the request of the homeowner – did we choose to install a window without Argon gas in the window.
Energy Efficient Windows: SHGC – Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
Energy-efficient windows oftentimes have a balanced solar heat gain coefficient or SHGC. Without getting too technical, the SHGC measures how much solar heat passes through your window at a given moment. If you want to prevent too much solar heat gain, the SHGC rating on your window should be 0.3 or below. For those who prefer their home on the warmer side, choose an SHGC rating between 0.4-and 0.6 to allow natural solar heat in.
There is a tradeoff here, and it can be a tough one to optimize, especially in the Chicagoland climate that has both cold winters and hot summers. Highly energy-efficient windows don’t let the heat in during the summer, however, they don’t let as much warmth into your home during the winter as you may like either. For some homeowners, we have varied the number of Low-E coatings on the East vs West sides of homes to gain the heat from the east and prevent the afternoon heat from the west.
Insulated Window Frames
On top of these features, lots of energy-efficient windows benefit from insulated window frames. Window frames can be just as important for maximizing energy efficiency as the glass panes themselves.
Many energy-efficient windows leverage vinyl frames they’re it’s budget-friendly and still relatively energy-efficient. Wood frames can also be great, but they require more maintenance and care from homeowners. Still, more energy-efficient window frames have finishes or treatments to ensure long-term durability and resistance against problems like moisture or temperature-based expansion and contraction.
Energy Efficient Windows: Glazing
Many energy-efficient windows utilize Low-E glass coatings. The low-emission coating is an almost invisible metallic coating on glass panes. This coating boosts how well the window performs as a thermal insulator, keeping warm air safely inside your house and keeping colder air outside where it belongs.
Fortunately, Low-E glazing is a great feature for energy-efficient windows in any climate. Perhaps even more importantly, it can protect your home and your skin from UV rays. If you have sensitive or fragile decor or carpet in direct sunlight, it may even prevent these pieces of furniture, rugs, or flooring from fading!
Contact Energy Efficient Window Installation Experts
All in all, most quality energy-efficient windows share these features and may have some other surprises you could enjoy. The best way to learn whether energy-efficient windows are right for you is to contact HX Home Solutions.
As fully licensed and experienced window replacement contractors in the Chicagoland area, we can help you find the perfect energy-efficient windows for your house and your budget. Contact us today for more information about energy-efficient windows!