Qualities and Features That Make for an Energy-Efficient Window

When purchasing windows, there is one quality most homeowners look for above all others: energy-efficiency. You don't want windows that leak cold air and drive your energy bills up, which is perfectly understandable. But what qualities and features make for an energy-efficient window? Take a look.

1. Dual-Pane Glass

Dual-pane glass windows are simply windows that consist of two pieces of glass. The two pieces are only spaced about 1/8 inch apart, but that air gap and the second layer of glass work wonders for efficiency. The air itself is actually a good insulator, stopping the flow of heat so much more effectively than a single pane of glass. Most modern windows these days are dual-pane glass windows, but you should still check to be sure. Some cheaper windows sold at home improvement stores are still single-pane, and if energy-efficiency is your goal, you need to steer clear of those.

2. Low-E Glass

Low-E glass is glass that has been coated with a special, reflective, metallic substance. This doesn't change the look of the glass as the layer is very thin, but it does help the glass reflect more heatwaves rather than just letting them pass through. For the highest efficiency, you want to look for windows that have a low-E coating on both sides. This way, the windows will reflect heat waves back towards the outdoors in the summer, and in the winter, they will reflect heat waves from inside your home back towards your home's interior.

3. Vinyl or Composite Frames

Pay attention to the material that the window frames and sashes are made from, too. While wooden windows may look nice, they are not very energy-efficient, and they become less energy-efficient as they age since the wood warps away from the window glass. Vinyl is a better insulator, and so are the wood composite materials that are becoming more popular. 

Which is better — vinyl or composite? That really depends on the look you want to achieve, as both are pretty efficient. Vinyl has a more sleek, modern look, but composite is generally made to look like wood, giving it a more traditional appearance.

Energy-efficiency is definitely a key quality to look for in your windows. If you can manage to find windows made with vinyl or composite frames and dual-pane, low-E glass, you should be well on your way towards more efficient home windows. For more information, contact energy-efficient window ​suppliers.