High performance windows and doors
Up to 40% of heat can escape through windows, and if you add door losses to this, the figure will increase by several percent more. However, technology does not rest on its laurels: new materials are appearing, design features are being improved, which allows a significant reduction in heat loss. In this article, we will discuss high-performance windows and doors; their installation will make your house warmer, and your heating costs will be pleasantly reduced.
What is an energy-efficient window?
According to the belief, the more glazed the room, the higher the heat loss will be: so far, glass cannot compete with gas-concrete or wooden walls in this regard! However, most homeowners wish their apartment to be ultra-light, modern and spacious, which is achieved by installing windows. For this reason, technologists and designers are striving to create windows that will impede excessive (not complete) heat loss to the outside.
An energy-efficient insulating glass unit is a construction with a glass treated with LOW-E technology, an increased number of chambers compared to standard windows, an improved quality of material, certain profile and fittings, inter glass filler, etc. This reduces heat loss by 30% or more.
Let us discuss each component in more detail.
It is better to use multi-chamber designs to reduce heat loss. Windows can have one, two, and three chambers,or sometimes four, five, or six (which is rare). A one-chamber glass window consists of two panes and a space between them, a two-chamber window consists of three panes and two spaces, and so on.
Determining the number of chambers is easy, there are two ways. The first is to count the number of panes and subtract one. The second is to bring a lighter to the glass pane in the dark and count the number of reflections.
Multi-chamber windows have both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are the high weight, reduced light intake (the difference between a one-chamber window and a three-chamber window is 40%), as well as the greater thickness and higher price. Advantages:
- Heat loss is reduced by 50% when comparing one- and three-chamber designs.
- Thermal insulation is improved.
- The heating of the room during the summer heat decreases.
Two or three chambers are considered optimal for our region, a larger number is usually necessary when constructing buildings in the northern regions with extreme temperatures.
In recent years, window manufacturers have been using the LOW-E technology, which involves spraying the surface of the glass with a special coating, consisting of oxides of semiconductor metals (ferrous and nonferrous). This technology works by reflecting waves in the infrared range, due to which the heat remains in the room.
It is convenient that such windows “work” in two ways: in winter, they retain the heat emitted by heaters in the room, and in summer, they protect the apartment from the effects of heat.
The benefits of using energy-efficient windows:
- Cost efficiency: due to the retention of heat, you will not spend a lot on heating the room in winter and reduce the cost of running the air conditioner in summer.
- Transparency: in contrast to other types of coating, the energy-efficient window lets in the same amount of natural light from the outside as a standard design.
- Safety: the thin film will protect you from getting cut if you break the glass, because the pieces will not have sharp edges.
According to studies, the energy-saving properties of such windows increases by 35%.
Quality of materials
The energy-saving properties of the window is influenced by the quality of the material, primarily used in the manufacture of profiles and fittings. The most commonly used is metal plastic. It has a metal frame inside and provides the necessary rigidity, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) protects the steel part against corrosion and makes the window look more attractive. PVC windows are resistant to aggressive compositions – alkalis, acids, oils. The composition selected should have low thermal conductivity, which prevents the escape of heat through the profile.
Fittings should fit tightly to the profile, and not be loose. This quality is endowed with all the windows from reputable manufacturers.
Pay attention to the profile width: the wider the profile is, the less heat will go outside, because, after all, the lion’s share of the heated air goes through glass, and wide metal-reinforced plastic reduces the glass component. Profile width is limited to certain standards. Manufacturers generally make windows with sizes ranging from 70 mm to 82 mm.
Filling the inter glass
The space between the panes of glass in an energy-efficient window is filled with inert gases, most often argon, but also xenon, krypton, etc., rather than just air. Their consistency is more viscous, which increases the level of thermal insulation.
For instance, if you compare air and argon, the thermal insulation of the former is 10% lower. Inert gases are odorless and safe for humans.
Should I replace my regular windows with energy-efficient ones?
Naturally, energy-efficient designs cost more than conventional analogs, but the difference is small, between 20-50%. That is, by overpaying just once, you will keep saving money in the future. Studies show that if you replace all the windows in the room and install energy-efficient doors, you can save up to 30% on heating bills. Thus, you can easily recoup the cost of such glass in a couple of months after installation.
The answer is therefore clear. If you live in a region with cold or chilly winters, as well as in a hot climate, the choice of energy-efficient windows will not be a whim, but a necessity and a cost-saving measure.