Is it the glass or what’s on it or between it that qualifies windows and patio doors as energy-efficient? Here’s a bit of insight.
Windows are major thermal weak spots in homes. In fact, you can lose or gain up to 15 times more heat than through an equal amount of wall space. In hot weather, the cost of air conditioning can skyrocket if you are still living with old fashioned, single pane windows. But, shopping for new ones can be confusing. Every manufacturer seems to have their own version of energysavers and often more than one.
The term "Low-E" stands for Low-emissivity Window Glazing or Glass that reduces energy loss as much as 30% to 50% and more. Low-E coatings reduce the infrared radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane. This lowers the U-factor There are different types of Low-E coatings that allow for high, moderate or low solar gain. Windows and doors that qualify as energy efficient have certain requirements. These include two, three or more panes, Low-E glass to reflect infrared light and keep heat outside in the summer and inside in the winter. The U.S. Department of Energy describes Low-E coating as a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layer deposited directly on the surface of one or more of the panes of glass. What are the advantages?
Energy efficient glass also reflects damaging ultraviolet light. Some windows include gas fills between the panes such as argon, krypton or others that are odorless, colorless and non-toxic. These gases provide better insulation than air. Other features include spacers to keep the glass panes at appropriate distances from each other and improved frame materials and frame exteriors.
Andersen® Windows & Doors offers High-Performance Low-E4 Glass that is standard on all 400 Series products and Low-E4® SmartSun™. This glass reduces water spots up to 99%, cuts energy bills, reduces sound penetration, is easier to clean and has a translucent film that protects the glass during construction and installation. Other Andersen options include Low-E Glass and Dual-Pane Glass.
Jeld-Wen® has been an Energy Star partner since 1998 and in 2003 was named Energy Star Partner of the Year. This brand offers Low-E Glass on a variety of products from Custom Wood and Premium Wood windows and patio doors to the Builders Clad Wood line.
Marvin® Windows and Doors offers a variety of glass options including Standard Insulating Low-E II Glass with or without argon to Single Glazing with a removable energy panel. Insulating glass comes standard with all Marvin windows and doors. For greater performance, the manufacturer recommends Low-E II or Low-E II with argon.
Milgard® Windows and Doors offers Low-E and is now featuring their exclusive Low-E SunCoatMAX that reduces solar heat gain by 62.5% over ordinary single-coat, Low-E glass. The product boasts the best Milgard year round advantages reducing interior heat gain in summer and increasing interior comfort during colder months.
Because of the many variations, we suggest that you visit one of our four Bay Area locations and spend time with a window and door expert who can go through the energy efficient options that are offered by preferred name brands in all price ranges. Compare the brands mentioned above and others.
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