Not all low-E is equal: A closer look at energy efficient glass

Window glass can vary in terms of its glazing content.

In window glass, low-E means a good seal that keeps heat from leaving your home. If you're trying to "go green" or simply just save money in the long run, you'll want these kinds of windows, since the Department of Energy says they can cut as much as half of energy loss. They can also be save money from the cost of future overhauls that might be more expensive.

There's more to these windows than this, though. The quality of the window, as well as the type of film applied to it, impact how effective it will be. A major part of this equation is the amount of silver that goes into the coating.

Why silver works
If there's not much, the performance is generally low. Higher silver content could mean more retention but also an increase in price. So the ideal option will strike a balance between the two, being both affordable and efficient with a suitable level of silver.

Traditionally, silver coatings were relatively simple, but advances have taken the benefits of low-E technology to a new level. One of these advantages has been adding additional elements to windows for the same possible effect.

"New advances have taken the benefits of low-E technology to a new level."

The DoE site also said that metallic oxide and zinc can function as low-E coatings as well to make windows just as efficient. Another option is a tint, which can absorb heat, albeit with some negative side effects, such as reduced light passing through the window and a lower energy-saving impact than the standard low-e selections.

Other things to look for
What are some other signs that a window has a coating worth paying for? A different page from the DoE site also describes the environmental factors that may affect glazed window performance. For example, there may be differences depending on where the window is in the house and which direction it's facing.

The department said that the silver content will matter the most to windows that face to the east and west, which makes sense since the path of the sun during the day. Consider the significance of windows with the coating applied as opposed to films you have to install yourself as well.

This can save money but lack the assurance that comes with professionally manufactured pieces. Take the type of window, the presence of possible insulation and the amount of use and wear it will probably get all into mind before you make your decision. Also, window frames can inadvertently lead to heat leaks and make the ultimate savings relatively low.

NewSouth Window Solutions can guide the use of home windows that don't just stand the test of time but fit all of the goals you want.

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