Energy-efficient windows retain heat better than standard structures, which makes them popular in North America and other regions. By installing energy-efficient double-glazed windows, you can save some heating costs. However, you should also remember that they cost a bit more than standard windows, due to a more complex structure, the use of special glass, and other features. We suggest reading through the information so that you can make a better choice.
What makes an energy-efficient window different?
Like we mentioned before, energy-efficient windows have a more complicated structure than conventional products. Differences:
- Several chambers.
- Use of pre-coated glass.
- Use of wide profiles.
- Gas injection
Needless to say, it has to be installed in the right way; we also recommend buying eco-friendly products, such as Ecoline windows from Edmonton, which, based on reviews, meet all quality standards and are absolutely safe for people. Now, let’s discuss differences in detail.
A chamber is an air gap between panes of glass. Single-chamber designs have two panes, dual-chamber designs have three panes, and so on. The gap between the panes is up to 1 cm in multi-chamber windows and up to 16 mm in single-chamber ones.
If you compare the thermal insulation between a single- and double chamber windows, in the latter case it is increased by 40%. Therefore, three-, four- and five-chamber windows are even more energy-efficient.
The application of a special glass coating helps to retain heat inside the room. The film is 10 times thinner than a human hair. It can consist of tin oxide or silver oxide. When you compare both types, you can see that the silver coating is thinner, but it is about 5 times more energy efficient.
The material used in energy-efficient structures profile is PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It is the best option in terms of thermal insulation characteristics. The width of the profile also affects energy efficiency – the larger the profile, the better. There are standards, though, so it’s not always possible to choose it yourself.
Before you buy Ecoline windows in Edmonton, check to see if it is regular air or inert gas that’s pumped into the glass space. If you want to improve energy efficiency, you should choose the second option, which is usually argon, can also be durable krypton or xenon.
Advantages and disadvantages of energy-efficient windows
The main advantage of an energy-efficient window is reduced heating bills in the winter and air conditioning bills in the summer. In only a month, you will see how the sums you were paying before go down, while the room temperature stays comfortable.
Another great advantage is improved sound insulation: even if you set a two-chamber window, you won’t hear the sounds from the street, and if you add inert gas to the space between the windows, you will forget about the street noise at all.
Other advantages include minimum condensation and interior protection from burnout.
Needless to say, there are downsides as well. Energy-efficient windows are much more expensive than conventional designs, but this will be quickly recouped by a reduction in utility bills: keep in mind that up to 40% of heat is released through the windows, so by installing high-quality double-glazed windows you can reduce your expenses.
Besides, multi-chamber windows are heavier, and a poorly applied coating may last less than the window itself. Although, if you purchase windows from reputable manufacturers, you can avoid trouble with low-quality coating. For instance, Ecoline windows in Edmonton have a long-lasting coating with a lifespan comparable to that of the insulating glass unit itself.
Ways to test insulating glass units for energy-efficient coating
Would you like to know if a salesperson is lying to you about the use of energy-efficient coating? A simple lighter can help you do this: bring it to the glass surface and look at the reflection. If the fire changes color from yellow to red (or has red in it), that means that the glass is energy efficient.
If it does not, do not make a scene at once, but try to check the window using an additional technological method – with a detector. This technique is more informative, but requires additional costs.
The detector’s operation principle is based on the change of conductivity coefficient: its value will increase even if you apply a single thin layer. This is because glass is a strong dielectric, which delays the passage of current, while the metal layer increases electrical conductivity.
Will single-chamber glazing be enough for energy-efficient windows?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors and, first and foremost, on the region’s climate. In Canada, it is varied. Winter temperatures in Vancouver, for example, are higher than in Edmonton by 15°C on average. Thus, the number of window chambers will differ. In the first case, it would be enough to install a two-chamber glass unit, and in the second – a three-chamber one.
However, you should also consider the type of glass here: sprayed surfaces increase energy efficiency. Let’s see one example:
- The window area is 2 sq. m.
- The temperature outside is -10°C.
- The air temperature in the apartment is +20°C.
Therefore, the loss of heat will be 200 W through an ordinary single-chamber window, 127 W – through a two-chamber window, and only 100 W through a single-chamber coated window. In other words, a single-chamber window with a coating is more energy-efficient than a double-chamber window with plain glass.
If you additionally inject inert gas into the interglazing space, the indicators will improve by about 10% more.
Bottom line: single chamber windows can be used in regions with cold winters, but they must have a coated glass and should preferably be injected with an inert gas. In cities with cold winters like Edmonton, it is best to use two-chamber insulated glass windows with coating..