What Is the Best Energy-Efficient Window Type for Cold Climates?
During winters, a lot of energy is being consumed to keep the home warmer, but with the best energy-efficient windows, you can reduce your home's energy consumption. If you live in a place with a cold climate, it is necessary to prevent heat loss from your home. This can be done by choosing the proper window type.
Window Frames for Increasing Efficiency
For a window to be energy efficient, it must have no air leakages. Window frames form an important part of the windows. Air leakage also depends on the type and design of window frames used. The conductivity of the window frame material affects the energy efficiency of windows.
The different materials used for window frames include aluminum, wood, vinyl and fiberglass. Aluminum, though very much durable has low efficiency and hence is not recommended. Wood frames provide good energy efficiency but are expensive and require too much of maintenance. Fiberglass is considerably efficient and vinyl frames provide excellent efficiency.
Choose Window Glasses that Reduce Heat Loss
Window glasses form an important part of the windows. The proper selection of glass can be extremely useful in saving energy consumption for heating the rooms. When selecting the glasses for windows it is important to consider three factors SHGC (Solar heat Gain Coefficient), U-value and VT (Visible Transmission). SHGC is a measure of fraction of solar heat that can pass through the window glass and its recommended value for cold climates is 0.55. VT is the amount of daylight that can pass through the window glass. Glasses with higher value of VT are recommended for energy efficiency since they eliminate the necessity of using energy consuming lights. The recommended U-value for cold climate is less than 0.33.
You can increase energy efficiency of windows by going for multi-pane windows rather than single-pane styles, which are not energy efficient. Double or triple-pane windows are being used for saving energy consumption. The vacuum created between the different panes works as insulating material and hence eliminates energy loss. Since it is difficult to create a perfect vacuum between the panes, insulating gases are often filled between the panes to reduce energy losses. Some of such gases used are argon, krypton and xenon, although the widely used is argon.
Another way of improving efficiency is by using low emissive glass panes which have a metallic oxide coating on the inner surface. The metallic oxide coating prevents the transfer of heat from warmer to colder climates. For cold climates, the low-e coating needs to be applied on the outer side of the innermost glass. High solar gain, low-e glasses are best suited for cold climates.
Installing storm windows can also help in reducing energy losses thereby increasing energy efficiency. Storm windows are mounted either on the inner side or the outer side of the main window glass and provide excellent thermal efficiencies. Using warm-edge spacers reduce condensation caused due to extreme cold climate and also improve the U-value of the windows. Looking for NFRC rated windows is one of the best ways of selecting windows.