The most popular types of energy efficient windows will
create a more comfortable atmosphere inside your home, keeping in your heating
and air conditioning while also blocking outside heat and cold. Today’s
replacement window styles are meant to last for years, if not even decades,
before they need repair or replacement.
The 3 most popular
types of energy efficient windows include:
Triple-glazed vinyl windows
Double-glazed gas filled windows
Triple-glazed wood trim windows
While the most popular types of energy efficient windows might be a bit more expensive than low-quality, single pane windows, investing in upgraded windows means lower utility costs over time. You’ll also enjoy a more comfortable environment inside your home and improved curb appeal outside as well!
Before you start shopping for new replacement windows, consider a few vital details about what makes windows energy efficient and why upgraded windows are a good investment for your home. Be sure to discuss your options with a window installation contractor, for personalized recommendations that would work well for your home in particular.
What Types of Windows
Are the Most Energy Efficient?
To better understand the best choice of energy efficient windows
for your home, it’s helpful to know more about the composition of windows
overall. You can then decide the best combination of glazing, frames, and window
opening or operation for needed window replacements.
Glazing is the glass or panes of a window; double-glazed windows have two panes of glass back-to-back. Triple-glazed windows have three panes of glass.
Energy efficient windows are typically coated with a microscopic film. These coatings offer added protection from the sun’s UV rays and help to insulate window glass against hot sunlight and outside heat and cold.
Gas fills or spacers are installed between window glazing. For example, the gap between double-glazed windows might be filled with argon gas rather than air.
A window’s operating type refers to how it opens and closes and this operations affects a window’s overall insulating properties. A homeowner might choose various operating types for different windows in the home depending on desired air circulation and the window’s appearance.
Homeowners often fail to realize how a window frame adds to its overall insulation! Some window frame materials conduct heat and cold whereas others are dense and durable and keep a home better insulated overall.
Consider some added details about each component of a window
so you can decide the right type for each room of your home. Note that you
might opt for various operation types, frame materials, and coatings depending
on the direction a window faces, how often you occupy the room, and other such
Are Energy Efficient
Windows Worth It?
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows translates into added
savings on your utility bills and a more comfortable home environment, making
them well worth the window replacement cost. Perhaps the most important factor
in various types of energy efficient windows is the glazing or panes, as well
as the filler between them.
While many homes today have double-glazed windows, triple-glazed
panes offer added insulation and comfort. In addition to upgrading to
triple-glazed windows, consider various coatings and fillers between those
panes and how to choose:
Argon gas prevents heat from escaping through
the gap between window panes more effectively than air.
Krypton gas offers even more insulating
properties than argon properties and is used for smaller gaps between panes, such
as for triple-glazed windows. Krypton gas if often more expensive than argon
but triple-glazed windows with krypton gas offer maximum comfort inside your
Low-emissivity or low-E coatings block heat
transfer through the glass pane. Low-E coated glass is typically more expensive
than standard glazing but can reduce energy costs by some 40% to 50%!
The U-factor is the rate at which a window or
door allows heat to transfer. The lower the U-factor, the better the insulating
quality of a window or door. For maximum insulation in the home and especially
in extreme climates, look for windows with the lowest U-factor you can find and
fit into your budget..
Most Energy Efficient
When choosing window frames, consider the overall insulating
properties of the various materials available. Vinyl is tough, durable, and
dense, so that it blocks outside heat and cold. Wood is also an excellent
insulator and provides lots of visual appeal, although wood window frames need
consistent stripping, painting, and sealing.
Composite frames consist of a mixture of materials, often
wood and bits of plastic. Composite frames offer the look of real wood but with
added durability and insulating factors. Composite window frames also resist
moisture and resultant decay, mold, mildew, and wood rot.
Aluminum and metal window frames are often the most
affordable option but metal does conduct heat and cold, making aluminum frames
poor insulators for your home. In extreme weather conditions, aluminum frames
might even be overly hot or cold to the touch! Rooms that don’t need much added
insulation are the best candidates for aluminum frames; otherwise, opt for a
more dense and durable vinyl or wood.
Most Energy Efficient
A window’s operation refers to how it opens and closes.
While you might not think that a window’s operation affect its overall energy
efficiency, some window styles close more firmly than others, keeping out more
heat and cold. Some operational styles also allow for more air circulation into
the home, keeping your house cooler during summer months.
Single-hung windows have a bottom pane that slides
up and down; the upper pane of double-hung windows also slides up and down.
While these windows are very common, they also have high air leakage rates and
offer very little insulation for your home.
Awning windows have a hinge at the top of the
pane so that the bottom of the window pushes outward. As the sash of an awning
window sits snugly in the window frame, awning windows usually have low air leakage
rates and high insulating factors. Coated glass of an awning window also deflects
sunlight when opened while allowing in fresh air, creating a more comfortable
environment inside the home during warm summer months.
Casement windows have a hinge on the side and
the pane opens outward, like a door. As the entire pane of a casement window
opens, these window styles allow for maximum air circulation in the home. As
the sash closes snugly against the window frame, casement windows also have low
air leakage rates and offer lots of interior insulation.
Sliders, as the name implies, have at least one
pane that slides to the left or right. While sliders offer little air leakage,
opening just one pane at a time also reduces fresh air circulation into the
Fixed or picture windows don’t open or close.
While fixed windows don’t allow fresh air into the home, they also offer
excellent insulating properties with little air leakage. Consider fixed or
picture windows above or next to other windows in rooms where you need added
sunlight but don’t want to worry about losing heating and cooling throughout
While choosing from the best types of energy efficient
windows is an excellent way to reduce your utility bills while creating a
comfortable interior environment, you might note some energy efficient window attachments
that also help keep inside temperatures comfortable year-round.
Insulated cellular shades are made of a pleated
material with one or more layers of insulating air in a honeycomb pattern
between the shade panels. This insulating air blocks heat transfer through the
windows, keeping hot air out during summertime and heated air in the home
during cold winter months.
Not all curtains and drapes offer the same amount
of interior insulation! Densely woven fabrics block heat and cold air while
blackout drapes block sunlight and resultant heat. Loosely woven drapes and
sheers allow more heat transfer and offer little insulation in the home.
As with drapes and curtains, not all window
films are alike. Some tinted films only block sunlight, which might help to
keep a home’s interior cool during summertime but which does little else to
keep out heat and cold. Insulating films are made with a thick polyester middle
layer, to block heat transfer and keep a home’s interior insulated properly.
Metal blinds might conduct heat and cold and
offer little insulating properties other than to block the sun on warm summer
days! Wood and fabric-covered blinds offer some protection against heat and
cold loss while also providing shade inside the home.
Awnings are an excellent choice for blocking
harsh sunlight and for keeping cold snow away from a home’s windows. Ensure you
choose awnings large enough to provide shade for the entire length of a window
rather than decorative awnings that provide visual appeal but little protection
Exterior shutters offer added insulation as well
as shade inside a home. Choose hurricane or rolling shutters for maximum
insulating properties, versus decorative hinged shutters.
Are triple glazed
windows worth the cost?
Triple-glazed windows with krypton gas are often worth the
cost for bedrooms or living rooms where you spend the majority of your time, as
those upgraded windows offer maximum insulation and added comfort inside your
What brand of windows
are the best?
To choose the best brands and types of energy efficient windows, note how long a window manufacturer has been in business. Check their online ratings and warranties offered for all their windows, so you know you choose durable replacement windows that last.