When replacing the windows in your home, you are often given the advice to choose energy-efficient windows. And indeed, once you start shopping for windows, you'll find many that are specifically labeled "energy-efficient." But what qualities actually make this windows efficient? Here are the key components of a modern, energy-efficient window.
This was one of the first developments in the window industry that made replacement windows much more efficient. Instead of just having one pane of glass, modern, energy-efficient windows have two panes of glass. This allows the trapped air between the two glass panes to act as an insulator, slowing the passage of heat through the window. Air happens to be a really good insulator! Some windows are even made with three panes of glass, which equates to two layers of insulating air. These are usually only used in really cold climates.
Xenon Gas Filler
Some, but not all, energy-efficient windows also have xenon gas pumped between the glass panes in place of the air. The xenon is a better insulator than air. You pay more for these windows than for standard, double-pane windows, and the upgrade may not be worth it in milder climates – but if you live in a really hot or cold place, you'll save more on energy than you pay to upgrade to this more efficient window option.
Low-E glass is a newer development in the window glass industry, and one that has really helped to improve efficiency. The glass part of the window is coated with a special, reflective material. This material causes heat waves to bounce back from the window surface rather than passing through it. This way, all that summer sun won't cause your AC bills to spike, and the heat your furnace generates will stay inside your home during winter. Note that low-e windows do not look metallic, reflective, or in any way different from normal windows.
Durable Frame Materials
The materials used to make window frames have changed over the years, too. Manufacturers have moved away from using wood so often. Now, most energy-efficient windows have frames made from vinyl or composite, which are better insulators. These materials are also less likely to crack and allow air leaks to develop.
Energy-efficient replacement windows are becoming easier to find. Now, you'll have a better idea of what you're actually buying when you purchase windows labeled as "energy-efficient."
For more information about choosing a replacement window, contact a window company in your area.