Choosing Energy Efficient Windows for Your Home
by Lana Hawkins
Windows are an important part of every house. Besides letting the light in, they can also draw in and maintain the warmth in the house. Nowadays, people don’t choose the windows they will use based solely on the style of the windows and how it complements the house. People are conscious about energy consumption and want to decrease their heating bills. This is why a good energy-efficient window is a great choice. But before remodeling your house and adding energy-efficient windows, you should first do your research on the best options out there. Here are some to help you with that.
Probably one of the most important features of a window is its glass, and there are several options to choose from. You could go for a window with one, two or even three layers of glass. There are also choices when it comes to insulation and glazing. Today’s standard would be a double pane window. Choosing a triple layer would only increase performance. The more glass a window has, larger the price of a window. But this will save you money in the future by reducing heating and cooling costs of your house because of better insulation.
Multiple glass layers aren’t the only way to add insulation to a window, you can also do that with glazing. Windows insulation can be increased by injecting air or inert gas between window panes. Manufacturers usually use krypton or argon gas. These are nontoxic gases, argon requires more space and therefore triple pane windows usually have krypton inside them. Krypton is short on supply and therefore very expensive, argon on the other hand only costs around 10$ per window. But it costs more to make and shut the windows so the gas can’t escape.
Glazing also includes tinting the windows. This means that the windows are coated with low emission layer of silver oxide. This coating restricts sun and decreases ultraviolet light that can be dangerous for people. It also adds insulation, which has the similar effect as adding another pane of glass. You could even combine triple pane windows with krypton and Low-E coating, which will maximize the insulation.
When it comes to frames, there are four materials to choose from. Wood, metal, fiberglass, and vinyl, plus composites. Frames made of wood are the friendliest to the environment. If you want to be eco-friendly try to find frames that are harvested locally and made out of sustainable sources. Some companies even produce frames out of reclaimed wood. Make sure that wood frames are well built to keep moisture out and avoid mold.
Fiberglass frames are the strongest, they will last the longest and have the most insulation. They don’t use a lot of energy to make, but they are not easy to recycle. Composite frames are a mix of wood, vinyl, and metal. Their eco-friendliness and energy efficiency depends on the manufacturer. Metal frames are cheap, recyclable but have little insulation and have a condensation problem. Vinyl, on the other hand, has good insulation, but vinyl is a carcinogen which is bad for people as well as environment.
Covering your windows will add privacy, insulation, and style to your home. You could choose some shades and blinds made out of sustainable sources that are renewable, such as bamboo. Materials made out of plants, like hemp and an organic cotton are also an eco-friendly option since these are also sustainable. You could look for blinds online and see your choices before ordering them.
Before buying new windows for your house, do your homework first. Always try to go with the environmentally friendly option and choose the option that will add most insulation and style to your home.
Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture from Sydney. She writes regularly about home décor and landscaping. Lana finds the most of her inspiration in sustainability and green architecture and design. You can follow her on Facebook.