Energy Efficient Windows
Today's energy efficient windows offer home owners an opportunity to improve the aesthetics of their dream home while saving money on their monthly energy bill.
There was a time when the term window meant little more than a pane of framed glass, built along a wall, that served as a mediating device between the inside and outside world.
Those days are long gone.
In fact, window technology, for want of a better term, has reached a point that almost requires home owners to have an engineering degree to understand their window replacement options.
Consider how many of your acquaintances understand a discussion that includes the terms, double-glazed, low-solar-gain, low-E glass, argon/krypton gas fill? It sounds similar to a superman conversation.
An English translation of window phrases informs us that the phrases refer variously to the amount of heat and light a window allows to pass through the outside to the inside of a home.
Current window production technology focuses on maximize window energy efficiency according to location. Some windows are built to lower cooling costs in the south, while other windows are built to lower heating costs in the north.
A relatively new site, Efficient Windows Collaboration, attempts to bridge the gap between window technology improvements and home owner glass knowledge by covering the gamut of energy efficient window information, from the latest technologies to the latest building codes and tax policies.
One particularly useful section, the Window Selection Tool, provides information allowing the consumer to:
- Compare how various window or skylight types affect estimated energy cost for a typical house in your location
- Find manufacturers who offer windows and skylights within the categories shown
- Learn more about manufacturers' specific product options
The glossary provides a handy reference for understanding the new language of windows. Low-E Coatings, for example, are chemical coatings on windows intended to reduce the window's U-factor, or amount of heat that flows through a window, either outdoors to indoors or indoors to outdoors.
While the new high tech windows still do not make breakfast in bed or bring the morning coffee or newspaper, they provide an environment that makes those tasks more enjoyable.
Types of Windows: Take a look around your home and note the number and types of windows, along with the function(s) they perform. They can fall into one of two general categories:
- Fixed Glass Windows: The term refers to a piece of framed glass that does not open. They come in a variety of sizes and function as aesthetic and lighting devices. Pictures windows, often large windows on the front and/or back of houses, are a very common type of fixed glass window.
- Operable or Movable Glass Windows: The term refers to glass fixtures that move in some direction (up, down, left, right, in or out) for ventilation as well as aesthetic and lighting purposes. Standard window names derive from movement types. For example, single hung and double hung refer to windows that move up and down. In single hung windows, only one pane of glass moves, in double hung windows, both panes of glass move. Casement, awning and hopper windows are hinged to frames and can open either inward or outward. Sliding windows move left and/or right.
Both fixed glass and movable glass windows fit flat, along walls.
Other types of windows, such as bay windows, bow windows and garden windows, build out from the walls with three or more attached sides. These multiple sided windows come in a variety of both fixed and movable styles. The typical bay window, for example, can have a fixed panel in the middle and single hung, double hung or casement windows on the side panels.
© 2010-2012 Patricia A. Michaels