Windows are ground zero in the war against high energy bills. As beautiful as they are, they let a whole lot of heat in and out. The French palace of Versailles, built to show the wealth of France with as many huge windows as possible, was freezing in the wintertime.
Fortunately, windows technology has come a long way since the days of the Sun King. Now, we can have the light airy homes dreamed of by the richest Renaissance kings, with an energy bill that would meet your grandmother’s approval. Here’s how.
Prefabricated Vinyl Windows
The greatest invention in windows history, with the possible exception of glass, has been prefabricated multi-pane windows. Unlike traditional windows, prefabricated windows are virtually airtight. Very little air moves from between the two panes and from outside to inside. The only way for heat to enter or leave is through direct conduction. Conduction through glass is fairly fast, but conduction through stale, motionless air is incredibly slow. As long as the seals on windows hold, i.e. decades, a window will be an effective barrier to heat.
If you really want to invest in your home, you can also purchase windows filled with an inert gas, like argon. Argon is much more insulating than normal air. A vinyl window filled with an inert gas and with low e coatings , when properly closed, can have an R-value as high as 6
Electronic shades are particularly efficient because they can be set on a timer. Shades on a timer can open and close at the right time to allow sun in. This saves energy all year round. In summer, blinds can be timed to close during the day, keeping the sun from warming your home, and open at night, letting heat radiate out. The result is a house that is cool all day and night. In winter, the settings can be changed to open during the day, letting heat in, and close during the night. This will lead to lower AC and heating bills. You don’t need electronic shades to accomplish this, but it will save you a lot of time opening and closing all the shades in your house every day.
Dense tint is energy efficient, blocking energy from radiating through the windows. This leads to lower energy bills, although it can affect your view. If your home gets too hot, using an adaptive tint that darkens in full sun can go a long way.
If you are like the vast majority of homeowners, you are paying way too much for energy. There is no reason to keep letting money flow right out of your windows. You can upgrade your home right now, making your home more green, more saleable, and more cost-effective.