Energy Efficiency

One of the main benefits of replacing your windows, is energy efficiency and saving money on utility bills. Florida is the Sunshine State after all, and just because your home was built with inefficient single pane aluminum windows, or the jalousie windows of yesterday, doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with grossly inefficient products.

Back in the days before air conditioning, jalousie windows offered a form of ventilation in the hot, Florida climate.

Advances in window technology such as materials and construction keep Florida homes cooler and utility bills lower. Below are the elements that result in energy performance for a window or door.

What are uPVC windows?

uPVC, or unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, is a strong and rigid vinyl made without plasticizers. Unlike PVC, common to plumbing and pipes, uPVC does not flex, is durable and functions well in a wide range of temperatures and operating pressures. Incredibly stiff, uPVC can stand up to outdoor environments and a variety of chemicals without corrosion, pitting or oxidation. Because of these qualities, uPVC is ideal for window frames and sashes.

What is the advantage of a vinyl or a uPVC window in the state of Florida?

Vinyl windows or uPVC windows are superior for energy performance, making them a perfect choice for Florida’s endless summers. The uPVC material blocks thermal transfer, so the outside temperature is not conducted or brought to the interior. Contrast this to a metal material such as aluminum that is known for conducting heat or cold.

uPVC Windows and Water Intrusion

Another great benefit of uPVC vinyl windows is the resistance to water intrusion. By way of construction, the vinyl window has fusion welded corners in the sashes and frames, in which the mitered corners are adjoined together through a high heat bonding process. This makes the window impervious to water seepage from the corners, and protects your home from water damage. This is crucial for daily storms during Florida’s rainy season as well as major tropical storms and hurricanes which often result in massive amounts of precipitation. Compare this performance to aluminum windows in which the mitered corners of the sash and frame are adjoined with mechanically screwed joints, which readily allows for water penetration a few years after the caulking has dissolved.

How Important is a double glazed or a double pane window?

A window with two panes of glass is crucial for energy efficiency. The unit in which the two pieces of glass are held is called an IGU, or an insulated glass unit. This unit contains the pane of Low-E glass, a spacer system and argon gas. The level of efficiency a window or door can reach is determined by the investment in the IGU, which is the key to a high performance window. There are many levels of investment that a window manufacturer can put into their IGU, and consequently varying levels of performance. For reference, a monolithic window, which consists of a single sheet of glass, does not have an IGU.

A window cut in half to show the areas of the IGU (insulated glass unit) and the spacer system.        

What is a window spacer system, and why is it important?

A spacer system is the material that separates the two glass layers in an IGU. The material that the spacer is made of is important for energy performance. A spacer that is cheaper or made with aluminum or metal will decrease the efficiency of the IGU due to thermal transfer. If a metallic spacer system separates the glass, the heat from the outside will be conducted into the IGU and consequently the home.

 

NewSouth’s quality spacer system which contains no metal for superior warm edge performance.

What is Low-E Glass?

A crucial element of the energy performance for the Florida window or door is the glass component and whether the glass will absorb, transfer or emit heat. Low-E, or low emissivity glass is a glass with coatings applied, designed to allow visibility while deflecting near infrared and ultraviolet light. The key ingredient in Low-E coating is silver, which can make Low-E glass expensive. Due to this there are varying degrees of Low-E glass, resulting in a wide range of window performance levels.

NewSouth manufactures our windows with our eVantage 366 glass, the ultimate performance glass, which contains 3 layers of silver, yet provides extraordinary visibility. It blocks 95% of the sun’s UV rays, which will save your carpets and furnishings from fading and keep the heat out. Because of our investment in a superior glass as well as our other energy saving components, NewSouth windows meets and exceeds Energy Star requirements for most stringent Southern zone.

Energy Star requirements change according to the zone in which you live. The further south, the more difficult the criteria for windows and doors.

What is argon gas, and why is it important for my window?

Argon gas is an inert gas that is a colorless, odorless, non-flammable, non-toxic and is characteristically 38% denser and heavier than the air we breathe. Argon gas is the third most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. Due to the density of argon, the insulation properties improve the energy performance of a window and help reduce sound transmittance. Argon is inserted in between the panes of glass in an insulated glass unit (IGU), while a monolithic or single pane window will not have argon gas.

All of NewSouth’s windows contain argon gas. After vacating the air out of our IGUs, the argon gas is inserted and sealed inside. This process contributes to the superior energy performance of NewSouth Windows.

How is the energy performance of a window measured?

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) operates a rating system for the energy performance of windows, doors and skylights. The rating system determines the U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and Visible Transmittance of a product. These ratings are mandatory for the product and must be included on the product’s labeling.

An example of the NewSouth Window NFRC sticker showing performance in SHGC and U-Factor.

SHGC, which measures the amount of heat that is transmitted through the window, is more pertinent for Florida and southern climates. The lower the number, the better performing the window or door is on deflecting heat, and therefore, for energy savings.

U-Factor, which is more pertinent for northern climates, measures the amount of heat that escapes the interior of the structure. Again, the lower the number, the better the performance.

NewSouth Window Solutions has won the coveted DWM Green Award for our work in saving energy and reducing costs in the state of Florida. Our commitment to manufacturing products that meet and exceed the energy star criteria has helped tens of thousands of Florida homeowners save money on their utility bills while reducing their carbon footprint.

 

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