Installing energy efficient windows is becoming increasingly popular because of the many benefits it has. If your property’s windows are in need of an update or have overtime, become ineffective, it can be much more effective to simply replace the windows entirely, rather than trying to improve their energy efficiency. New energy efficient windows will ultimately pay for themselves through the reduction in your energy bills, lighting and cooling costs. It will also help to reduce your household carbon footprint.
How does the glazing in energy efficient windows work?
Double glazed windows have two sheets of glass with a 16mm gap in between which creates an insulation barrier and keeps in the heat. This gap can be filled with gas to make your windows even more efficient; gas minimises the conduction of heat back out of the building much better than air does. Argon, xenon or krypton are the most commonly used gases; Xenon is the most energy efficient, but argon is significantly cheaper. Double glazed windows will often also have an invisible coating of metal oxide on one of the inner panes; this is to let the sunlight and the heat in but will prevent the amount of heat that can get out.
There are also pane spacers set around the inside edges to keep the two panes of glass apart. The most energy efficient windows are known as warm edge spacers and will not contain any metal. By correctly installing double glazed windows, the problem of condensation that can occur is significantly reduced. This specific glass is protected by a layer of thin metal. The Low-E glass repels condensation that can cause frost to form on windows. It is also essential to ensure that the seals around the windows are seamless; if air leaks back into the gaps, condensation will start to develop. Using compression seals around the frame will help to maximise airtightness.
The Best Frame Materials for Energy Efficient Windows
uPVC is the most commonly used material because it lasts a long time and can eventually be recycled. This is the same for both aluminium and steel which are also long-lasting and recyclable. However, uPVC has a tendency to crack because of its inflexibility and aluminium will conduct heat out of the building, so avoid both. Wooden frames have a much lower environmental impact compared to other materials, but, they require regular maintenance. For the best energy efficient windows, the wood should ideally be sourced from sustainable timber; either hardwood or treated softwood.
Composite frames do not need as much maintenance and are weather-proof. This is because of the design of the inner timber frame covered with plastic or aluminium. The ideal frame for your energy efficient windows should be a well-sealed, doubled glazed sliding sash windows, made only from sustainably sourced hardwood.
Benefits of Energy Efficient Windows
Now that you understand how double glazing works and we have pinpointed the ideal window frame materials for your energy efficient windows, we will run through the benefits of installing new windows. To choose the most energy efficient window, look for the BFRC rating.
1. Better Insulation
Effective energy-efficient glazing will reduce heat loss through your windows, ensuring mean fewer draughs and elimination of cold-spots in your home. These windows will perform a barrier against the cold weather so that you can stay warm in the winter. But, they will also protect your interior from the sunlight and will, therefore, keep you cool in the summer without the use of air conditioning.
2. Reduced Energy Bills
Your energy efficient windows will mean your home and family will consume far less energy when it comes to heating up and cooling down your home; this will, consequently, cut your energy bills. Having shutters or curtains will further prevent draughts around your windows and will save you even more on your bills.
3. Reduced Noise
Not only do effective energy-efficient windows keep the heat in, but they also insulate your home against external noise. Their soundproof ability means the ambient noise such as traffic, alarms and railways noise is considerably reduced. This feature is particularly desirable to those properties built in large towns and cities where noise is inevitable.
4. Protection to your Home
The sun’s ultraviolet rays have the ability to damage the appearance of your furniture, artwork, paints, wood carpets, rugs and fabrics through windows. However, Energy efficient windows are made with a specific coating that blocks out the sunlight. With this coating, 98% of the sun’s rays will be obstructed, and you won’t see any deterioration in your flooring and accessories or fading on your home furnishings.
5. Better for the Environment
In the same way that effective energy-efficient windows will save you money on your energy bills because of you will be requiring the air conditioner or central heating less, it is also better for our world and the environment. Because of your lowered energy usage, your home will require less power generated by fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas-fired power plants. This will, consequently, make your home much more eco-friendly.
6. Reduced Maintenance
Energy-efficient windows minimise the level of energy transfer which, as a consequence, reduces the buildup of condensation. This ensures there is less of a risk of mould and is safer and for people who suffer from asthma. In addition to this, the buildup of dirt and water spots are practically eliminated due to the UV-resistant coating on energy efficient window glass and means your windows will require a lot less maintenance and cleaning.
From cutting down your energy bills to cutting down your carbon footprint, there is an abundance of benefits to installing energy efficient windows into your home. The only disadvantage to purchasing Low-E windows is the initial cost, but with the decrease in heating, cooling and lighting bills, the windows will eventually pay for themselves. With the reduction in the upkeep and maintenance of your property’s windows and the protection of your interior valuables, the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages of investing in energy efficient windows.