What Types of Windows are the Most Efficient For Reducing Home Energy Costs?

Energy Efficient WindowsWindows provide our homes with light, warmth, and ventilation, but they can also negatively impact a home’s energy efficiency. You can reduce energy costs by installing energy-efficient windows in your home. If your budget is tight, energy efficiency improvements to existing windows can also help.

Attributes of Windows Contributing To Energy Efficiency

There are a number of features that contribute to the overall efficiency of a window. Tints are designed to deflect solar radiation. Reflective coatings block up to 70 percent of heat transmitted through the windows from the sun and are instrumental in controlling solar heat gain. Low emissivity coatings are capable of reducing energy loss by 50 percent or more. Selective coatings may reduce cooling costs by up to 40 percent during the hotter months.

Attributes of Framing and Energy Efficiency

Framing also plays an additional role in that they are capable of conducting heat. Some windows are specifically designed to have lower air leakage rates, which prevents hot and cold air from escaping. Fiber frames demonstrate superior thermal resistance while vinyl frames prevent moisture from accumulating in the home. The quality of the installation is another performance factor for any type of window.

Terms To Know

Thermal Transmittance – U-factor refers to the rate the window or other applications conduct non-solar heat flow. Lower ratings usually equates to a better performance.

Solar Heat Gain – Solar heat gain coefficient is the fraction of solar radiation permitted to enter the window through absorption. Lower ratings featured mean a greater shading performance.

Visible Transmittance – The visible transmittance represents the fraction of the visible spectrum transmitted through the window. All windows range anywhere between 0 and 1, and daylight requirements determines which rating will work for a home.

Air Leakage – Air leakage is determined by the rate at which the air moves through the window or doors of a home. The lower the rating, the lower amount of air is allowed to escape the window.

Condensation Resistance – The rating determines how much humidity can accumulate in the home. Ratings are between 1 and 100. The higher the rating is, the better the performance in resisting condensation.

Specific Types of Windows

Triple glazed vinyl windows offer a different level of insulation for the window application. Their unique ability to keep heat in during the cooler months and heat in during the hotter months produces energy savings for households. Gas-filled windows push gas into the gaps of the window to eliminate condensation. This type of window is designed to preserve energy efficiency. Triple glazed wood framed windows are energy-efficient windows with an R-value of up to 10. The wooden framing comes with silicon seals to increase overall energy efficiency.

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When choosing energy efficient windows, most people focus exclusively on the energy consumption or lighting needs when purchasing new windows. According to the Department of Energy, Most people investing in the specialty windows can expect to see an immediate return on investment. Lower utility bills over the span of several years can usually override cost of initial investment.