Natural light always makes a home look larger and more inviting. However, the more light you allow in your home, the more the risk of overexposure to the sun. Solar gain, heat loss and UV infiltration will always be issues when you have natural light coming through your windows. Low-e windows help solve those issues.
What Are Low-e Windows?
A low-e window (low-e stands for low emissivity) is a windowpane that has been treated with microscopic layers of metallic oxides. The coating is completely invisible to the naked eye, which allows as much natural light into your home as possible. Even though the coating is transparent, it limits the amount of UV rays that come through the glass, which protects your skin, your carpets, and your furniture or artwork. It also helps control radiant heat as it enters and leaves your home. It keeps your house warm and winter and cool in summer, which helps you save on utility bills.
The layer of metallic oxide can be applied in different areas of the window. Soft coatings are applied on the interior surface of the pane. Soft coatings are the most energy efficient, but they aren’t strong enough to hold up under extreme physical conditions, which is why they are on the inside of the pane. Hard coats are stronger, so they can be applied on the outside of the window, but they are less energy efficient. The most common application is not a coating at all, but is a thin sheet suspended between the panes of glass. This effectively turns the window into a triple-pane, which allows it to be a form of insulation against drafts and heat loss, as well as a reflective low-e window.
How Do They Keep Your Home Warm?
Low-e windows were intended originally for cold weather climates. They were designed to let in as much light as possible while also reflecting the radiant heat back into the room, instead of letting it escape out the windowpane. This reduces energy bills and keeps the glass warm, which lessens condensation buildup on cold, icy days.
These windows have also been found to be effective in warmer climates and during the summer. Just like they keep heat in during the winter, they can reflect heat back out in the warmer months. There are now spectrally selective glazings available which can identify and refuse entry to portions of the light spectrum. Less radiant heat will enter the home, which will decrease the cost for AC.
So, Are They Worth It?
Low-e windows are pretty standard now, but if you are replacing the windows in an older home, these windows can save you a lot of money in the future. As you look into investing in low-e windows, you will want to speak with a professional who can give you advice about the best models for you, as well as install the units for you. These windows are definitely worth the investment in the long run.
To learn more about low-e window options and installation, contact the experts at Mozzone Lumber.