What Windows Provide Good Ultra-Violet Light Protection?

Window ProtectionWhat windows that provide good ultra-violet light protection is a common question. As more people and businesses are building and remodeling they want to address this important safety issue. Low-E glass is the best protection against ultra-violet light and widely available.

What Is Low-E Glass

Low-E refers to low emissivity, a window treatment making them more energy efficient and providing ultra-violet (UV) light protection. Low-E windows provide a thermal guard while also reflecting sunlight back out. The reflective property is what protects people, art and furnishings from damaging UV rays. You may have heard of different branded names used by various window sellers including Andersen SmartSun and Pella’s SunDefense.

Low-E glass is different from simple glass tinting. Tinting of the glass may provide some darkening but not insulation or UV reflection. Low-E is a process that produces a UV-reflecting film on the glass. There are many grades of Low-E glass to provide different levels of protection. Choosing windows that provide good ultra-violet light protection depends on your project and local building and energy codes.

What Are Some Concerns With Low-E Glass

Low-E glass is highly reflective. A downside has been discovered as the windows reflect heat and UV rays back out at amplified degrees, and this has led to melting of nearby siding on buildings and parts of cars. To address this issue building codes are being revised in many locations to allow builders to alternate regular glass and Low-E glass, according to WRAL. This does not detract from the value of Low-E glass, but instead it proves how well Low-E glass works.

How To Select Low-E Glass For Your Needs

Selecting the best windows that provide ultra-violet protection for your needs is dependent on several factors. Your local climate, building and energy codes that must be adhered to, window sizes and purposes will determine the best window options.

With constantly improving technology glass manufacturers are able to offer not only a variety of Low-E options but with less layers than it used to take to provide the protection. The use of argon, a non-toxic gas, between window layers has been a significant advancement in providing additional insulation. Depending on your climate two or three panes of Low-E coated glass may be recommended, and argon may be used. Beginning with Energy Star certified windows is the first step, but the certification does not automatically mean they are also Low-E windows. To learn about the recommendations in your own area, there are resources available online such as the State Fact Sheets provided by The Efficient Windows Collaborative. You can also learn more specifics about the building codes in your location by searching online “window building codes” with your county or city name included in the search. Any quality contractor you consider using should be able to provide you with documentation of the codes they are following and help you understand the recommendations they are making.

Low-E windows are an excellent investment that make economic and environmental sense and will save you money in energy costs. New technologies offer options to find the best Low-E windows that provide good ultra-violet light protection to meet your project’s specific needs.

Related Resource: Fiberglass Windows