Most of us know that energy efficient windows have plenty of benefits. Lowering your monthly energy costs and helping protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint are just a couple of them. However, many of us don’t know how or why they work. To help you understand, we’ve created a short explanation that includes everything you need to know.
Old Materials, New Process
It’s easy to take windows for granted. Installing glass windows in homes is about 2,000 years old. However, today’s windows are a far cry from those used by the Romans. Instead of a single pane of glass, modern windows feature double paned glass. The first double paned windows were produced less than 75 years ago.
The reason double pane windows are efficient is that a vacuum seal is created between the two panes. Why is a vacuum seal so important? It eliminates convection. What is convection? Well, you may own a convection oven. That simply means the oven has a fan that circulates the air, so the oven heats evenly. When convection occurs in a window pane, the hot or cold from the outside passes into the home and vice versa by the movement of air molecules. In the vacuum, there are no air molecules. No air molecules mean no movement which means no convection.
Now it’s impossible to create a total vacuum unless your windows are produced in outer space. Currently, there are no window plants on the moon. To get around this problem, manufacturers use Argon gas between the windows. Argon is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas. The biggest asset in windows is being inert. That means it is heavier than the air we breathe. By creating a vacuum and then filling it with Argon, the movement of molecules is greatly reduced. Some manufacturers will use an even heavier inert gas, Krypton. If Krypton can stop Superman, imagine what it will do to the summertime heat.
Low Emissivity Coating (Low-E Coating)
Insulated glass technology took a huge step forward when Low-E coatings were introduced. Despite being thinner than a human hair, metallic Low-E coatings can reflect long-wave energy or heat. This means that ultraviolet and infrared light is blocked without compromising the visible light. The light or heat energy is either absorbed by the glass or re-radiated by the surface of the glass.
Low-E coatings are designed to block the angled or reflected heat that occurs in the summer when the sun is high in the sky. In the winter the sun is closer to the horizon and produces a more direct wavelength. Then the coating allows it pass into your home maximizing the passive energy of the sun. It always blocks UV light which helps to prevent your flooring, furniture, and window treatments from fading.
Thermally Efficient Window Spacers
One of the greatest advancements in windows is the glass spacer. The spacer seals the two pieces of glass together and creates the vacuum. Initially, spacers were made from stainless steel or aluminum. While providing the needed strength, they had significant drawbacks. Metals are conductive to heat and cold which defeats the purpose of an energy efficient window. Also, metals expand and contract at a different rate than glass. The seasonal temperature changes can cause the seal to break. The result is a loss of vacuum and moisture occurring between the two panes of glass.
The latest spacers have eliminated metal. The most advanced product is SuperSpacer. It employs a dense structural foam. The conductivity is extremely low which boosts the energy efficiency of the glass and window. More importantly, it’s expansion and contraction rate is similar to glass. Thus, the vacuum seal stays intact.
Designed for Superior Protection
Vinyl Design MountainView windows have incorporated the latest technology in all their windows. The best glass and spacers plus interlocking, air-tight seals that help keep your home’s temperature consistently comfortable while improving energy efficiency. Regardless of how close you sit to your windows, you’ll never have to contend with that blast of cold air that sends you running for cover during the winter.
With temperatures frequently climbing to record-breaking highs and excruciatingly cold lows, there has never been a better time to consider updating your old windows for new energy efficient windows. Not only are you sure to see a big change in your home’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature, but you will also appreciate the drop in your monthly energy bill.