Clera Windows + Doors Blog

What Is Low-E Glass And Why Is It Important?

If you have been looking at getting replacement windows in Toronto, you may have noticed the term “low-e” glass.

This feature is standard on many modern window styles, and offers a range of benefits over traditional windows.

But what exactly is Low-E glass and why should you care?

This important window addition is something to look out for for any homeowners looking to add value and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. We break down everything you need to know about low-e glass in Toronto and how it could help you save money. Read on to find out more!

Woman inside in winter with low-e windows in Toronto

What does Low-E mean?

First off, we need to explain exactly what low-e means before we can get into why it’s so important.

Low-e stands for “low emissivity”, which essentially refers to the amount of the sun’s radiation that is allowed to be emitted through a glass window. Non low-e glass would let through most of the sun’s rays without filtering out any of the more harmful components. Sunlight is made up of visible light, as well as infrared and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. While visible light is obviously used to illuminate spaces, infrared radiation transmits heat and UV light causes sunburns and damages certain materials like wood and plastics.

Low-e glass in Toronto has a special coating applied to it that allows it to reflect more of these infrared and UV rays so that less of them are allowed into the home. This enhances heat insulation, as less heat is allowed to radiate into the home and less is allowed to radiate out. Similarly, preventing UV rays from entering will help protect internal fixtures like wood, carpets, furniture, and plastics. All of these combine to creating an extremely useful feature to have on any new window.

How is Low-E glass more energy efficient?

As mentioned above, the special coating on Low-e glass allows it to be significantly more energy efficient than regular glass.

The coating applied to low-e glass is specifically designed to reflect infrared and UV radiation from the sun back outside so they do not enter the home. Infrared radiation is the main source of heat conduction from the sun, causing the sensation of the warmth on your skin when out during the day. While this can be pleasant at the beach, when you are trying to keep your home cool during the summer you do not want any extra heat entering your home through your windows. Non low-e glass allows this radiation into your home, forcing your climate control system to work harder to counteract the additional heat. This uses more energy, and can lead to a higher hydro bill. Low-e glass keeps heat transference to a minimum, and can help you save money by giving your HVAC system a break.

UV radiation is another main component of sunlight, and is responsible for photosynthesis with plants and giving us a tan. It is also the cause of sunburn, and material bleaching associated with repeated sunlight exposure. You may notice furniture, carpet or wood that is placed near a window that receives a lot of sunlight may begin to change in colour and fade. This can damage your home and require you to replace fixtures and furniture after a while. Low-e glass helps protect your home from the damaging effects of UV radiation at the same time as helping insulate your home from heat loss.

What are the different types of Low-E coating?

There are two main types of low-e coatings that are applied to most modern replacement windows. These two coatings offer various advantages and disadvantages based on the climate in which you live, which will affect the kind of solar radiation you are exposed to and your heating and cooling requirements throughout the year. Low-e windows in Toronto are usually either:

Hard-coat low-e glass

Hard-coat low-e glass, also known as passive coating, is applied during the manufacture of the glass for the window. The special coating is applied to the glass ribbon as it is extruded onto the float line and bonds to the hot glass in a process known as pyrolytic bonding. Hard-coat low-e glass is extremely durable as it is bonded directly to the glass, however, it does allow some infrared radiation in.

Soft-coat low-e glass

The other main type of low-e coating is soft-coat. Often referred to as solar control low-e glass, this coating applied after the glass has been manufactured. The glass pane is sealed in a vacuum chamber and the coating is applied using Magnetron Sputtering Vapour Deposition (MSVD). This soft coat then needs to be sealed inside an insulated space like the gas layer in a double pane window. Soft-coat low-e glass offers the highest solar control and the lowest emissivity with the trade off of durability.

Low-e windows in toronto during winter

Which low-e coating is right for me?

The type of low-e coating you will want will depend on where you live. Different coatings work better in different environments, so you’ll want to pay attention when choosing your next set of replacement windows.

Extreme cold climates

If you live in an area that would be classed as extremely cold, such as anywhere in Northern Canada, then a hard-coat low-e coating would work best for you. These areas typically have very cold winters with mild summers, and so heating and heat retention are of paramount importance. The hard-coat low-e glass allows some infrared radiation through the window, providing some additional heat from the sun. It also reflects some longer wave radiation back into your home, keeping more heat inside. If you do not have to worry too much about keeping cool during the summer, the hard-coat is the one for you.

Hot and cold climates

For anyone that lives in an area that experiences cold winters and hot summers, which includes the rest of Canada and the United States, then a soft-coat low-e glass is the preferred option. Soft-coat offers superior solar control and UV protection, keeping homes cool during the summer and warm during the winter. By having soft-coat low-e windows in Toronto, you can save on your heating and cooling expenses by insulating your home better from the outside elements.

Are you looking for new low-e windows in Toronto? Clera Windows + Doors is the leading provider of low-e glass in Ontario, custom making all of our windows in our local manufacturing facility. Our expert installers take pride in arriving on time and installing your new windows quickly and professionally. All of our windows come with an extended warranty to give you peace of mind. Contact us today and find out how you could be saving hundreds on your hydro bill in no time!

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