Energy-Efficient Windows: How They Help Make Your Home “Greener”?

 

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Energy efficiency and sustainable life have long become a trend among homeowners who want to contribute to a greener planet. Individuals and governments strive to reduce the carbon footprint and make more houses all over North America more eco-friendly using the right materials and home appliances.

One of the recent trends to significantly contribute to the overall home’s energy efficiency and go green is installing modern eco windows, replacing old inefficient models responsible for huge energy loss, air leaks, drafts and high utility bills. If you are interested in the topic and want to make your house not only more comfortable but also sustainable – keep reading!

What Makes a Window Energy-Efficient?

Windows

Windows are more than just an aesthetic addition to your home. These units play a vital role in maintaining the comfortable temperature of your home all year round. 

Experts share that old, inefficient windows are often considered a weak point in your home’s thermal performance since they are responsible for up to 30% energy loss, allowing heat to escape in the winter and enter in the summer. 

That’s when modern energy-efficient windows come in handy. These models are constructed using cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and materials to offer superior thermal insulation, thus bringing higher energy efficiency and keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Here are the elements that make an energy-efficiency window:

  • Double or triple glazing: Single-glazed windows have long become history. All modern units come with double or triple glazing. Simply put, they have two or three layers of glass, with a gap in between filled with air or insulating gas. This design helps to reduce the amount of heat that passes through the window. When considering installing double vs triple-pane windows, homeowners should know that double glazing is standard. Still, triple glazing can offer even more energy efficiency (up to 55%) but might not be necessary if you live in warmer climates and want to avoid overheating.
  • Low-E glass: Low emissivity (Low-E) glass is another feature of energy-efficient windows. This type of glass has a special coating that reflects heat, helping to keep your home warm in the winter by reflecting heat back inside and cool in the summer by reflecting the sun’s heat away. You can consider installing 1, 2, 3 or even 4 LoE coating for your windows, but balance is key here, so consulting a window expert is vital to ensure the needed performance.
  • Gas fills: New eco windows use gases like argon or krypton in the gaps between the glass panes. These gases are denser than air and provide better insulation, enhancing the overall energy efficiency the windows can bring to the table.
  • Warm edge spacers: These are used to keep the glass panes apart in double and triple-glazed windows. They help to reduce heat transfer and prevent condensation.

Energy-Efficient Windows: What’s In For You After Installation?

windows

 

The benefits of energy-efficient windows extend beyond just energy savings. They can enhance the comfort of your home, reduce your impact on the environment, and even contribute to a quieter home environment.

  • Energy savings: One of the primary benefits of energy-efficient windows is the potential for energy savings. By providing better thermal insulation, these windows reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling. This can lead to significant savings on your energy bills, even though the upfront cost of installing new windows can be quite high. Simple retrofitting of old windows can bring around 10% savings on energy bills, so imagine replacing old drafty units with high-performance models. According to statistics, homeowners can increase the energy efficiency of their houses by up to 40% and save around 30% on energy bills annually.
  • Environmental impact: By reducing your home’s energy consumption, energy-efficient windows help decrease greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This contributes to a smaller carbon footprint and a healthier planet.
  • Comfort: Energy-efficient windows can enhance the comfort of your home. These windows can create a more comfortable living environment by reducing drafts and maintaining a more consistent indoor temperature.
  • Noise reduction: If you live in a noisy neighbourhood or near a busy street, you’ll be pleased to know that energy-efficient windows can also help to reduce noise from the outside.

Energy Ratings – How To Make Sure You Install The Right Windows

Windows

When selecting energy-efficient windows for your home, knowing everything about energy ratings is crucial. These ratings, provided by organizations like the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and Energy Star, give you a clear idea of a window’s energy performance.

Every window has an overall energy rating ranging. For example, a window with an ER of 40 will be a decent unit that qualifies for almost all government rebates, is certified by Energy Star and is recognized as the “energy efficient” window. On the other hand, if the rating is 20 – the unit is regular and probably single-glazed with no capabilities to provide adequate thermal performance. The overall energy rating is calculated based on the following factors:

  • U-factor
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
  • Visible Transmittance (VT)
  • and Air Leakage (AL)

And while all these are important, homeowners need to pay close attention to only the first one – the U-factor, also known as U-value. It measures how well a window prevents heat from escaping. The lower the U-factor, the better the window keeps heat in. This is particularly important in colder climates where retaining heat is a priority. But to simplify it, just check with your manufacturer on the overall energy rating of your preferred windows. If it is 34 or higher – you are basically good to go.

Wrapping Up

Energy-efficient windows are currently a trend and will remain for many years. These modern units make your home more comfortable, provide better thermal performance, add on aesthetics and home value. 

All in all, window replacement should be a part of any major home renovation project nowadays, so make sure you don’t overlook it when planning any eco-friendly home improvements to go green and help the planet thrive.

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