In the first two parts of our series, we discussed the advantages of having energy efficient windows, as well ways to make your existing windows more energy efficient. Today, we cap off the series with the ultimate method of switching to energy efficient windows: full replacement.
If you are not sure whether your window needs a full replacement, check for these signs:
- Issues with opening or closing
- Condensation between window panes
- Sound penetration
- Physical damage
If you ticked off most of the issues cited above, then you do need a full replacement. Here are the various considerations for energy efficient window materials that you’ll need to know about to maximize functionality, and curb your energy loads.
Composites. Composites such as vinyl, engineered wood, and fiberglass are great at weathering temperature extremes without cracking. They also limit the transfer of heat. Fibrex, a proprietary composite material offered by a major reputable manufacturer, is the best choice available on the market today.
Wood. Natural wood is a good insulator, and it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing framing options on the market. When not maintained properly, however, it can become easily damaged, which is why composites that are able to mimic the look of wood are still a smarter choice.
Metal. Metal frames with thermal breakers are designed for low conductivity, which means less heat can pass through the material. They also reduce formation of condensation on the panes.
Multi-pane system. Double- or triple- glazed window units have better thermal performance over single-paned windows. Their panes are separated by a spacer, which is designed to limit heat transfer, as well as reduce condensation on the entire unit.
Low emissivity. Low emissivity or low-e glazing reflects the temperature of the interior, and keeps it that way. Low-e-glass windows, therefore, can more easily keep cool, air-conditioned air indoors – minimizing the need to boost or power up the energy in your home on a hot day.
When commissioning a full replacement, make sure to remember these pointers.
- Choose the right energy performance values for your specific climate zone. ENERGY STAR and the National Fenestration Rating Council rate window products according to U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visible Transmittance, Air Leakage, and Condensation Resistance. Find products that are recommended for your region.
- Hire the right help. Energy efficient windows are great investments, and professional installation will ensure that you are able to take full advantage of the features you selected. Hire a local installer or contractor who has a lot of industry experience, understands your building codes, and offers comprehensive warranties.