The Energy Efficient Window
Windows are arguably the most important feature of any modern home, but the days when they simply improved a home's natural curb appeal and aesthetic are also long gone. As technology has changed, homeowners have demanded more than ever before, and the windows manufacturing industry has happily obliged.
Today, energy conscious homeowners seek to minimize their costs by investing in energy efficient windows. All properties lose heat through their windows, and an energy efficient window has essentially been designed to keep the cold air out, and the warm air in, or vice versa. Carefully selected replacement windows can now drastically reduce your energy consumption.
Overcompensating for air leaks during the winter months leads to a significant increase in energy bills. The financial benefits of purchasing energy-efficient windows are worth the initial investment. Replacing your conventional windows with energy efficient windows will lower your bills anywhere between 11% - 25%. Naturally, this saving will depend on the condition of your windows, but your home's interior will no longer have any cold spots which require constant heating.
What Makes It Efficient?
Depending on your unique taste and practical requirements, you may face a daunting task with the spectrum of choices you are presented once browsing for an energy efficient window. With the variety of materials on offer, it's important to know what will work for your home and your climate.
So what exactly makes a window more energy efficient?
For starters, correct installation is critical. Most window related problems are due to poor installation, but there are 2 main things to consider before getting to this point.
Firstly, how tight are they when closed? If the window doesn't sit very tightly in the frame you run the risk of losing heat.
Secondly, how sturdy does the frame feel to you? A "heavier" frame will not feel flimsy under inspection and probably make for a more reliable installation material.
Efficient Frame Design
Selecting the wrong frame could turn out to be costly over time. When you are looking at different materials, consider the following:
Aluminum windows are practical in rainy or humid climates. They also meet stringent coastal building codes in hurricane-prone areas.
2. Aluminum Clad
Advanced design makes this a superior energy performer. Aluminum clad offers quality with nearly endless options to enhance your home. It also has easy installation and less disturbance to both the home's interior and exterior.
A highly advanced fiberglass composite offers thermal protection, minimal expansion or contraction, moisture and chemical resistance, and a paintable exterior which retains its color over time.
Although many homeowners do not enjoy the look of vinyl, it remains a practical choice for others. Vinyl offers multi-chambered design, strong resistance to heat flow, and a variety of styles. It also has excellent energy efficiency when well constructed around insulated glass. Vinyl can be limited in color choices, however.
Wood windows have great insulative value. It does, however, run the risk of rot, especially in humid or rainy climates, and therefore requires more upkeep. This may however not matter to some homeowners. AuraLast wood now also offers reduced toxins and less rot.
Wood-clad usually carries a virtually no maintenance aluminum or vinyl exterior with temperature-transfer-resistant wood interior. This is the leading edge of energy efficiency, durability, and aesthetic appeal.
Low-E Glass Windows
Advanced glass design with an exterior coating of microscopically thin, virtually invisible metal or metallic oxide layers deposited directly on the surface of the glass which eliminates water spots by 99% when activated by sunlight.
Cannot open, but still a very popular choice for energy efficiency, depending on your unique requirements.
SmartSun Window Glass
Formulated with an additional microscopic layer of silver which regulates the amount of infrared energy transmitted. This allows a higher level of visible light while blocking up to 95% of ultraviolet rays.It does wonders for your home's interior including carpets, furniture, and walls.
Rated #1 among industry leaders for energy efficiency. Triple-pane offers noise reduction and UV protection too.
Windows for The Future
Windows are no longer simply a means of seeing outside or allowing fresh air into our living space. If your home has very old and/or inefficient windows, it might be more cost-effective to replace your windows than to try to improve their energy efficiency. When selecting windows for energy efficiency, it's important to first consider their energy performance ratings in relation to your climate and your home's design. For labeling energy-efficient windows, ENERGY STAR® has established a minimum energy performance rating criteria according to climate, so be sure to look for it. With the latest advances in design, energy efficient windows will not only save you money by reducing your energy bills but also serve to aid in noise reduction and UV protection for your home's interior.