Energy-Efficient Windows: A Smart Investment

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Environmental awareness and the tendency towards sustainability and energy efficiency have gained much momentum over past few decades and unavoidable made a move into our homes. It should be mentioned therefore that they are, no matter how strange that may sound, major source of energy waste and CO2 emission. Although this problem can’t be completely removed it can alleviated and making glass surfaces more energy-efficient is a good place to start. So, let’s see how the industry’s answer to this problem, in the form of double-glazed windows, fare and what it has to offer.

Double-Glazed Benefits

Advantages of double-glazed windows go beyond sustainability and energy efficiency, so, aside from energy bills cut by the 10-12%, reduced carbon emission and decreased heat losses resulting in fewer draughts and cold spots, they have an added benefit of protection against external noise and reduced condensation that tends to build on windows. It is also worth mentioning that double-glazed windows are, for their nature, very durable and can last up to 20 years.

How Double-Glazing Actually Works

All of these perks are results of rather simple concept of having two sheets of glass with a gap (usually 16mm) that creates insulating barrier between them. That gap is usually filled with air, but it can also be filled with gas, all depending of owner’s needs. If you want to determine which one is the most efficient you should look through energy ratings, but know that their performance is measured to amount of heat loss they prevent, amount of air leak and how much sunlight they let pass into the room. Some manufacturers rank efficiency of product on the scale from A to G.

What Type is the Most Efficient?

So, if you are deciding on double glazing retrofit, let us quickly get to the point and find out what you should search for. First of all, most energy-efficient type of double-glazing glass is low-emission glass with a coating of metal oxide on the internal panels which lets the light in, but cuts the amount of heat that leaves the room. Also, efficient options tend to be filled with gases such as argon and krypton and have pane spacers that contain little to no metal.

Concerning the Frame

Although they are not the most important efficiency factor, frame materials contribute to overall ratings. Wooden frames have very low environmental impact but they also demand more maintenance, while the composite variety reduces that need and keeps the frame waterproof. Both uPVC and aluminum frames share the fact that they are very long lasting and can be recycled.

The Question of U-Values

Most of the windows that have an energy rating will have it displayed it in the form of u-value, which is effectively a measure of how easy can heat pass through material, displayed on the energy label. Materials that tend to let out more heat will have higher u-values. Don’t take this as a rule though, because sometimes windows with better overall efficiency can have higher u-value.

Don’t Forget the Ventilation

Because of the fact that double-glazed windows can be more airtight than the original ones, condensation may build in your house as a consequence of reduced ventilation. This slight problem shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, some of the replacement windows have an in-built trickle vents which allow you to control the amount of ventilation.

Now that you know all the relevant facts about double-glazed windows, it is up to you to decide will you implement this energy-efficient solution in your home. Although it seems like a chore on the first glance, keep in mind all the advantages you will have in the long run and we are sure you will at least give window replacement a second thought.