When you think of energy efficiency, you usually think about your devices that run on electricity or gas. It may surprise you to know that one of the bigger factors affecting the energy efficiency of your Coastal Bend-area home is the glass you have installed in your windows.
It makes sense if you stop and think about it: Windows are basically large holes in your wall. Air will flow in and out if given a chance. Heat or cold from the outside transfers through glass to affect the inside temperature of your home. If your windows aren’t designed to be energy-efficient, they’re likely contributing to your energy bills.
Choosing the Right Window Glass
Over the years, the options available to homeowners wanting energy-efficient windows have grown. When comparing options, it’s helpful to keep a couple of things in mind:
- Energy Star Certification. Windows have to meet a certain standard of energy efficiency in order to be certified by the federal Energy Star program and carry an Energy Star label. Some Energy Star-certified windows are better than others, but looking for that label is still a good place to start.
- U-Factor. This calculation helps you understand how much heat will be transferred through a window. Lower U-Factor ratings mean better insulation from the window glass.
- SHGC. This stands for Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. This shows how well your windows block heat from the sun. Again, lower is better.
One of the most popular options we’re seeing in energy-efficient windows is the use of double- or triple-paned windows, with gas inserted between the panes. The gas used is either argon or krypton. Both of these gases are nontoxic and help block heat transfer through the glass. Krypton has a higher cost but blocks more heat. Argon gives a good balance between cost and benefits.
Low-e (low emissivity) coatings are another option. This is an incredibly thin coating that lowers heat transfer. Some coatings can be applied to windows that are already installed, making them a good choice if you’re wanting more energy efficiency but you’re not ready to replace your windows.
If you have more questions about energy-efficient window-glass options that will work in your Corpus Christi-area home, contact CCAC today.