Windows or perhaps the “eyes of the home“ allow a person to see what is going on outside. They provide sunlight, an emergency exit and have come a long way in the past 25 years. Thanks to more insulation and better design, windows are more energy efficient than ever.
In recent years Canadians have spent more on renovations than on new construction – these renovations include windows. Canadians are now paying as much attention to energy efficiency as they do to aesthetics and architecture.
A high-performance window, when properly installed, can reduce energy consumption and save money on bills, amounting from eight percent all the way up to 40 percent in cost savings. Newer homes are typically going to save more, as they are usually larger with more windows.
These windows can cost more at times, but not always – and the end savings on bills will amount to more than the initial cost of the window. Switching to this type of window can also increase the resale value of a home.
Improved energy efficiency also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which contributes to climate change. When a consumer chooses an energy efficient window they can reduce their GHG emissions by one tonne, or about 20 percent.
Additionally these windows increase comfort by providing warmer windows to sit by with fewer drafts, have less condensation and help protect floors, furniture and drapes from discolouration and fading, along with reducing outside noise.
Windows, along with doors are two of the most important factors contributing to comfort and energy efficiency of a home.
Specifically some of the design upgrades these energy saving windows have include double- or triple-glazing, with a sealed insulating glass unit, inert gas, such as krypton or aron, in the sealed unit, low-conductivity, or “warm edge” spacer bars, low-E coating on glass and insulating frames, sashes and door cores.
Low-E, or low emissivity glass is coated with low-emittance material with the purpose of reflecting heat. These windows repel ultraviolet rays that create heat during summer months but also absorb the heat and let it in during winter. Low-E coating is a major factor in lowering energy bills.
Air, heat and solar radiation are the three main factors that affect the performance of a window. The purpose of a window – that functions properly – is to minimize heat transfer.
There are two types of windows – operable and non-operable. Operable open in some type of way, either by sliding or hinges, and non-operable, also called fixed, do not open.
Non-operable windows are the most airtight but most homeowners prefer to have a window that opens as a means of escape and for fresh air.
The most airtight of operable windows are hinged windows such as awning, casement, hopper or tilt and turn models. The closing mechanisms help pull the window tight to the frame.
Windows can last around 20 years so it’s important to make a wise choice when selecting what’s right for a home. Cost savings, overall comfort and helping lower GHG emissions all point toward choosing an energy saving window.