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There are few home improvements you can undertake that will do more to improve the energy efficiency of your home than replacing old windows with energy efficient windows. In order to get the most out of your new energy saving windows, it's important to educate yourself on the technology that makes these windows such a wise purchase.
Energy Efficient Window Basics
It's no mystery why a new energy saving window is such a huge improvement over the windows of old. A host of new technology has been incorporated into their construction, making them more efficient in a number of ways.
Edge SpacersLet's start simple. One of the most inefficient aspects of old windows were the edge spacers that held the panes of glass apart. Aluminum was the most widely used material, and there are few metals that conduct heat and cold more efficiently than aluminum. New edge spacers made from insulated steel, butyl rubber, silicone foam, and vinyl, make a huge, if unseen, difference when it comes window efficiency.
Tinted Glasstinted glass has been used for a long time in commercial construction, where large windows can really heat up a room. Realistically, however, tinting has traditionally been too dark for most residential uses. Thanks to new technology, that's no longer the case. Lighter, less noticeable, tinting is now available, and can be a real energy saver in sunny, warm climates, such as the South and Southwest.
GlazingNothing does more when it comes to an energy efficient window than glazing. Glazing simply refers to the practice of using multiple panes of glass in a window to create a thermal barrier between the climates inside and outside your home. Generally, the more glazing you have, the better, and the thicker the glazing (i.e. the wider the space between the panes of glass and plastic), the more efficient your energy saving window is going to be.
Glass FillBesides glazing and thermal barriers, filling the space between glass panes can make a difference as well. Multiple paned windows are high-tech contraptions, and the area between the panes is so well sealed that it can be filled with a less conductive gas than regular air. Argon is the most popular gas used as fill to increase the energy saving properties of an energy efficient window, though there are other options to choose from.
Low e-coatingThe invention, and application, of low e-coatings transformed the efficiency of windows almost overnight. A low e-coating is simply a clear coating applied to the glass that lets in light, but keeps radiant heat in. Low e-coatings come in different grades, so be sure to get the best energy efficient window for your climate. A coating perfect for Nome, Alaska, is going to turn your house into a tinderbox if you live on the Gulf Coast.
Energy Efficient Windows are Economical and Environmental
An energy efficient window is one of the most effective weapons we have when it comes to creating more energy efficient living spaces. That means more money in your pocketbook with energy savings, and doing some good for the environment at the same time. Talk to a window installer or contractor about choosing the right window, and window options, for your home and situation.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.