The Window and the Environment: Know the Energy-Efficient Options Available

The Window and the Environment: Know the Energy-Efficient Options Available
  • Opening Intro -

    From the simple wooden frames of old to today's glass panels with mechanical functions, windows have definitely come a long way.

    Modern technologies have allowed manufacturers to create windows with a variety of features and benefits, one among which is energy efficiency.

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If you’re in the market for new windows, it helps to know all your options. In this post, we’ll walk you through the potential of replacement windows in terms of energy efficiency, and what features to look for to achieve energy performance goals.

Importance of Window Replacement When it Comes to Energy Efficiency

If your existing windows have served your home for a while  now, there’s a good chance that they’ve deteriorated to a point where they’re now a major contributor to energy loss and consumption.

Energy-efficient windows are certainly nothing new. They’ve been around since the early 1930s, but availability at the time was limited. Prohibitive costs meant residential applications were practically non-existent, with energy-efficient windows mostly being installed in high-rise commercial buildings.

WINDOW REPLACEMENT FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Your old windows may have become a major contributor to energy loss and consumption. Window replacement can help resolve the issue.

Today though, energy-efficient windows are widely available and significantly more affordable. In fact, building a new home without installing windows that help conserve energy would be unthinkable. Even older homes can take advantage of the technology. If your home still has energy-guzzling windows installed, it is now easy to have them replaced with energy-efficient ones.

You may be wondering if energy-efficient windows are a worthwhile investment. They are, if you look at returns from a perspective that goes beyond just the dollars-and-cents value of your investment. Aside from the ability to help reduce your utility costs, these windows offer other benefits such as these:

  • Noise reduction

    To help conserve energy, new windows are made with two or three glass panels with air or gas fills in the space between the panels. This not only limits the amount of energy being transferred through the window, but the amount of noise as well. So, if you’re in a particularly noisy neighborhood, know that your dream of peace and quiet can be achieved.

  • Less fading

    Another benefit is less fading on furniture, wooden floors, carpets, artwork, and practically anything else exposed to sunlight on a daily basis. The sun’s rays may provide nice warmth, but they can wreak havoc on any painted or varnished material, causing a significant amount of fading over the years. By reducing the amount of harmful UV rays passing through the window, color fading no longer becomes an issue.

  • Greater comfort

    Perhaps the largest benefit of energy-efficient windows is that they allow for a more comfortable indoor environment even without highly sophisticated environmental control systems. By simply reducing the amount of heat passing through the window in summer, and cold during the winter months, indoor living spaces are able to remain comfortable even with your usual air conditioning and heating systems.

It’s in the Glass: How the Glass Affects a Window’s Energy Efficiency

The key to a window’s ability to reduce energy consumption lies in the type and quality of glass installed. There are several different forms of energy-efficient glass. The most common terms that are used to identify the quality of the product are:

  1. Double pane
  2. Gas-Filled
  3. Low e-coating

COMFORT AND EFFICIENCY. Replacement windows equipped with glass built with the latest technologies and features make for maximum efficiency and allow for better indoor comfort.

Double pane windows, like the the term suggests, are windows fitted with two glass panels instead of only one. The purpose of adding an additional layer of glass is to create a space for containing the insulating gas fill, typically argon. This in turn allows the window to have more resistance to heat and cold.

Gas-filled windows allow for further energy efficiency by filling the space between the panels with gas instead of regular air. This enhances the window’s insulation and prevents the transfer of heat and cold as well.

Low e-coating windows are coated with a very thin layer of metallic oxide that actually reflects infrared and ultraviolet light. This means that a significant amount of heat is denied entry through the glass panels. During summer, heat from the sun’s rays is reflected away from the window. During winter, heat inside the home can’t pass through the glass, thus keeping the interior warm.

Frame is as Important as the Glass

Even though the type and quality of glass plays a major role in the ability of the window to  help in energy conservation, the frame also plays an equally significant part. Heat can transfer through almost any type of material, especially metal. You’ll notice this by touching the window frame on a hot summer’s day or cold winter’s evening.

You might be thinking that not a huge amount of energy transfer is taking place because the frame only takes up a small amount of space. While this may be true to some extent, you’ll need to consider that energy is being consumed every minute of the day, and this builds up in terms of costs.

To reduce the possibility of heat passing through the frame further, modern windows are now being made with technologically advanced frame materials. A great example would be composite frames such as Fibrex.

FIBREX MATERIAL. Made from composite, Fibrex frames offer better insulation that translates to better energy efficiency, with the added benefits of durability and ease of maintenance.

Fibrex may be a relatively new type of material, but it is known to provide better insulation than wood, metal, or vinyl. So in terms of energy-efficiency, windows made with Fibrex frames allow for a further reduction in energy bills.

The advantages of Fibrex don’t end there. Fibrex is a highly durable material that doesn’t corrode or disintegrate. It offers improved durability, and Fibrex frames require also less maintenance, thus further reducing ownership costs.

Composite frames are available as ready-to-use , which means that they don’t require additional paint, varnish, or any type of coating. Moreover, they can be manufactured to look like wood, aluminum, or other different types of material, giving you design flexibility.

Perhaps the best advantage of this type of material is that the frames can be made very thin. Since they don’t need to take up so much space, they allow the window to have larger glass panels. This not only gives a better view of the outdoors, but also allows for sleek designs that look great in any home.

In today’s economy, energy conservation is a necessity. Reducing the amount of energy a home consumes not only reduces energy bills, but also protects the environment. With the advanced technology used in modern window manufacture, energy-efficient windows not only allow for better comfort at a significantly lower cost, but for a better planet as well.

If you want to know more about the energy-efficient window options available for your home and needs, make it a point to consult a trusted window replacement contractor in your area.

About the Author
Alex Esler is the marketing manager of Renewal by Andersen, the window replacement subsidiary of Andersen Corporation, a company that has revolutionized the window and door business for over 110 years. Their local, family-owned offices in Southern New England, Greater Philadelphia, and Colorado make up the largest replacement window company in a network of 100 Renewal by Andersen dealers.

Always eager to help, and known to maintain a positive outlook in life, Alex remains driven and inspired by her work and the causes she cares about. She aims to share her knowledge and experience with more people, particularly homeowners, by writing informative and helpful articles and blogs.

References:
https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-windows
https://www.energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/key_product_criteria
http://www.efficientwindows.org/understanding.php
http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/products/efficient-window-technologies-a-history_s
http://www.efficientwindows.org/benefits.php

Image sources:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B8l9BH8AQbQXYW9nWUY0UHpDYzA
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8l9BH8AQbQXSWVhdnpOc1g2aUU/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8l9BH8AQbQXcEVnZ29oTU5QQkk/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8l9BH8AQbQXdm5MaGlEdFNDZk0/view

Home Remodeling reference:

AMAZONS BESTSELLERS: window hardware

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