Besides the people who fill it, consistent comfort is one of the most important qualities that help make a house a home. Keeping it comfortable, however, can be a bit challenging at times. After all, whether its summer air-conditioning or winter heat you’re looking to fill your home with during the different seasons – it’s always looking for a way out, which can rob you not only of your comfort but it can also cost you some serious cash.
Fortunately, there are plenty of improvements you can make to your home – helping to make it more efficient and keep you more comfortable for less money. One of the biggest changes you can make is installing energy efficient windows. New windows can make a significant impact on how much energy you use as windows are one of the places where air is most likely to escape. To help you understand why energy efficient windows are such a great choice, here is a little information for you to consider.
What Are They Made Of?
Like most windows, energy efficient windows are made of glass. However, it’s what surrounds the glass that sets energy efficient windows apart from others. That’s because most energy efficient windows are coated with a material that reflects UV rays, preventing them from entering your home. In addition, energy efficient windows usually have two, and sometimes even three panes of glass that make up the unit.
These multiple panes of glass reduce UV transmission even further, plus the space between the panes can be filled with a gas, often Argon or Krypton, which prevents energy transfer. The sashes, which hold the windows and the frame in place, are also made from high-efficiency, long-lasting materials to ensure that no air escapes from the area around the window.
How Do They Work?
The loss of conditioned air from your home is based on the scientific principle known as thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy always move from an area of greater concentration to an area of lesser concentration. In the case of your home, the air that is more highly concentrated is the warmer air. So, in the summer, this is the air outside. In the winter, this is the air inside.
What you’re trying to do is prevent the higher-energy air from being transferred to space where the lower-energy air is. Energy efficient windows accomplish this by placing physical and chemical barriers between the air outside your home and the air inside. The more physical and efficient barriers you’re able to put in place, the slower the transfer of energy occurs, and the more comfortable your home stays.
What Is The Price Difference?
As with any home improvement project, the price you can expect to pay for energy efficient windows can vary widely. Factors that influence the price include the coatings you select for the windows, the number of panes of glass, the materials you choose for the sash, and whether the windows are being installed in new or existing construction.
Triple-pane windows typically cost at least 20-30% more than their double-pane counterparts, given the higher amount of materials and higher potential energy savings. Most new windows you can buy are geared to be energy efficient in some way, so the price you pay truly does depend on the features you select. Like they always say, “You get what you pay for.”
What is the Time of Payoff?
As with the price of the windows themselves, the time it will take you to recoup those costs through energy savings will also vary depending on a number of factors. One of the most important factors is the climate of the city or town where your home is located. If you frequently experience extreme weather where you live, then upgrading your windows will pay off sooner.
Additionally, the cost of the windows, the price of energy, and the overall efficiency of your home will factor into the time it takes to pay off your windows. The single most important factor, however, that determines how fast you can recoup the cost of your windows is what type of windows you’re replacing. If you currently have single pane windows throughout your home, you can expect to see a quick return whether you select double- or triple-pane windows. If, however, your windows were decent and you’re replacing them more for aesthetics or a slight comfort increase, the time to recoup your costs will be longer.
As with any type of energy we use, it is how we use it, and using energy more efficiently will help as energy demand continues to grow. The easiest things you can do to reduce energy waste and increase efficiency is to start doing little things around your house that not only help reduce energy costs for your household but ultimately help reduce the energy you use and lessen your impacts on the environment.