Energy-Efficient Windows: Know the Parts

Energy-Efficient Windows: Know the Parts

Windows would be a house’s charmer. They add that touch of character that completes the house’s style, particularly if they’re windows.

But if your windows are a little gray around the edges, and it’s not possible to update them for efficiency, then it’s time to select new windows. And as you’re already replacing them you may as well choose energy-efficient ones that will help save you money.

The very first step is trapping all of the acronyms regarding energy-efficient windows. The second step is knowing how they contribute to the efficiency of a window — and the parts of a window — frame, operation and glazing.

Window Frames

A window frame can be made from aluminum or another alloy, composite, fiberglass, vinyl or wood.

All have their advantages and disadvantages, but the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends wood, vinyl, fiberglass or combination. (Aluminum is easily heated, therefore it isn’t a great insulator.) Wood has efficiency issues due to expansion and contraction, so contemplate aluminum- or vinyl-clad windows. But if you select vinyl, then consider a insulated version, based on your climate and home requirements, for greater thermal insulation.

Our acronym manual did not inform you about all the parts of a window. Here’s a diagram in the DOE.

Tracy Stone AIA

Window Glazing

You will find a variety of options for your window glass, also: gasoline matches, heat-absorbing tints, insulated (double- or triple-glazed), low-E coatings, reflective coatings and spectrally selective coatings.

Gas fills. The most common gasses utilized are argon, which is comparatively less expensive, and krypton, which is more expensive but has a much better ability at reducing a window U-factor.

Heat-absorbing tints. All these come in colours like blue, black, green, gray, black or bronze. Tint does not lower a window U-factor, but inner glass layers or spectrally sensitive coatings can be added to assist with this. Gray and bronze decrease light and heat; blue and green allow more visible transmittance (VT) but just slightly reduced heat transport.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Insulated. Double-glazed, triple-glazed, or storm windows allow distance and air between panes (see the above mentioned.) This enhances the U-factor in addition to the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). In addition to air, space can also be added to lower the U-factor more.

Gas fills or low-E coatings can also be inserted to insulated windows to additional increase efficiency.

Low-E coatings. These coatings raise a window’s price by 10 to 15 percentage, the DOE says, but they can decrease energy reduction by about 30 to 50 percent. The coatings reduce the U-factor but can also decrease visible transmittance unless it’s spectrally selective. For hot climates or windows that get a great deal of sunlight, the low-E coating should be on the exterior of the glass. For keeping heat in the home in the winter, the coat should be on the inside of the glass.


Reflective coatings. These coatings block solar radiation but additionally VT and warmth. They do decrease SHGC, however, which is a plus. The DOE says that this type of glazing works better in warm climates, but since it does raise the need for indoor lighting, the energy savings can be minimal. This type of coating is good for applications.

Spectrally selective coatings. These coatings are excellent because they cut out 40 to 70 percent of their heat but still allow the light through. This means a low U-factor and SHGC but high VT.. Spectrally selective coatings can be utilized to decrease the electric-based heating needs of new houses in hot climates by over 40%, the DOE says.

Window Types

Last, consider the type of window you want in terms of how it operates, as some window types allow more air leakage than others.

Awnings, casement and hopper windows have lower air leakage than sliding windows. Fixed windows don’t have any air passage in any way, which isn’t good if you occasionally want venting.

And for the future, keep your eye out for windows that pop from the wall entirely. I recently talked to Denis Hayes, among the organizers of the first Earth Day, and he has discovered that windows that pop out have the smallest air leakage, particularly because the seal will not wear down over time like the other windows. He worked with a window manufacturer to produce a few of these windows on a one-off basis, but they might be on shop shelves in a few years.

When you have made it through studying all the window jargon, you can go out and select the style of your new windows to match the type of your house. Every one these explanations will not make you a professional, but they should give you.

Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

Are you replacing or repairing your old windows? Please inform us.

Replace vs. Restore: The Great Window Debate
Update Historic Windows for Charm and Efficiency
Energy-Efficient Windows: Decipher the Ratings
Contractor Tips: How to Choose and Install Windows

See related

Comments are closed.