In almost any home, an abundance of natural light is always an asset. This is because large amounts of sun coming in through large windows and skylights make rooms and spaces look larger, more open, and inviting. Additionally, lots of light from the sun shining into your home will cut down on your energy costs during the day. However, opening up your home to the outdoors can make yourself vulnerable to exterior threats. In this case, the more daylight in your home can increase your risk of overexposure to the sun. When it comes to natural light, there are issues such as heat loss, solar gain, and UV infiltration that can present a myriad of potential issues. As a result, when installing replacement windows in your home, it is always recommended to invest in low-e windows.
What Are Low-E Windows?
Low-E glass, also known as low emissivity glass, is simply a window coated in tiny layers of metallic oxides designed to radiate heat away from its surface. The coating is invisible to the naked eye and allows lots of natural light to filtrate into the home. However, this coating does the work of protecting your home from unwanted UV rays that can damage your furniture, fade your carpets, and even burn your skin.
There are 2 types of Low-E glass– hard and soft coat. Hard coating is a metal coating welded to the glass during the manufacturing process, while soft coat glass has metallic oxide particles attached to it through a chemical reaction. This type of glass tends to insulate more effectively, thanks to its better R value. This is why soft E-glass is often one of the leading glass choices for developers.
Low-E Windows also help control infrared light, or radiant heat, as it enters and leaves the rooms in your home. This means that your home will be kept warmer in the winter by reflecting certain sections of the sun’s light spectrum back into the home, and keep your home cooler in the summer by reflecting certain sections back out. As a whole, this will increase the comfort levels of living in your home while also saving you costs on your utility and energy bills.
Today, the large majority of commercial buildings along with an increasing number of residential homes are installing doors and windows with Low-E glass, and it is easy to see why. Although they are more of an upfront investment when compared to its standard glass counterpart, the cost benefits can quickly be outweighed especially in glass buildings or those with many windows.
The Benefits of Low-E Glass
The benefits associated with Low-E Glass can be summarized in the list below:
- Low-E Glass is much more energy-efficient compared to its standard glass counterpart. It’s light reflective qualities have the ability to keep heat in during the cold months of winter while reflecting it outwards during the warmer summer months
- Low-E Glass reflects harmful UV rays from entering your home, which can damage furniture, fade carpets, and even burn your skin
- Low-E Glass prevents window condensation, leading to less moisture damage and wood rot in your window frames
- Most Low-E Glass windows qualify for tax credits, which lowers the amount of money paid upfront
The vast majority of homeowners and business owners tend to choose Low-E glass over standard glass due to its energy efficiency. WIndows and doors equipped with this type of glass do a much better job at keeping the heat out during the summer and in during the winter. It is estimated that this glass can cut energy loss by upwards 25%, and it is easy to see why the savings can amount and accumulate in the long run. For those who live in climates where winters are cold and summers are hot, such as those in the Greater Toronto Area, Low-E glass is definitely worth looking into.
Another major reason why Low-E glass is increasing in popularity is because the special coating prevents harmful UV rays from coming through your window and entering your home. The emissive properties will work to radiate these rays outward, protecting the furniture placed close to windows or in direct contact with the light that comes through. Furniture items such as carpet is known to fade over time with constant exposure to the damaging effects of UV rays, and installing this glass can protect this investment and increase their life.
How Do Low-E Windows Keep Your Home Warm?
Low-E Windows were first invented in the 1980s for one purpose– to keep infrared light in. Originally intended for use in cold climates, they were specially designed to let in as much light as possible and reflect the light from the sun back into the room when heat tried to escape. As a result, the glaze on the windows also acts as an insulator, which works to keep the warmth inside a building, home, or structure. If you stand near a Low-E window, you may even feel the heat emanating off the window pane, even in the cold months of winter! This characteristic of Low-E windows are especially attractive to homeowners who live in the Greater Toronto Area, where temperatures frequently drop well below freezing. This type of glass will not only result in more energy savings, but also reduce condensation buildup on icy days as the glass is constantly kept warm.
How Do Low-E Windows Keep Your Home Cool?
While Low-E windows are fantastic for keeping the warm inside the home during the cold months of Canadian winters, they are also fantastic for reflecting heat outward during the dog days of summer. Specially made glazings are now being incorporated into the window glazing that reflect certain portions of the light spectrum back outside. As a result, less infrared light is allowed into the home, keeping it cooler during the hot months of summer and decreasing the cost of keeping your home cool.
In conclusion, Low-E windows definitely have many benefits that far outweigh the cost associated with installing them. They are almost a standard for any home now, but if an older home is being remodelled or having their windows replaced, the Low-E glazing can save you quite a bit of money on a long term basis. As you research Low-E glass window films and coatings, ensure you hire a professional who has the ability to not only install the units effectively, but also has the knowledge and expertise to advise you on which models would work best for your home in terms of application, strength, durability, and efficacy.