The Truth about Energy Efficient Windows.
At Saving Energy , we have looked at many different options on energy efficiency from insulation to LED lighting. While we know that energy in the form of heat escapes through the roof ,walls and floors in a home , the one area we have not yet explored are the windows.
If you look around your home , see how much glass there is – quite a lot? Those windows are another avenue that energy escapes and while many of us have installed ceiling insulation ,closed up the cracks and gaps in doors and walls, how many of us have considered the windows?
The question is do you have energy efficient windows , or is a lot of your money flying out the window?
Advances in technology and construction materials have spilled over into the realm of energy efficient windows to bring one of the most effective ,safe and sexy products to South Africa.
Before we look at that, just consider the following when it comes to windows in your home.
Since 2007 the price we pay for energy has skyrocketed by over 400%. The solution is not more energy generation, but better, more efficient use of what we have.
As a result the Government now requires all new commercial and residential developments, including renovations, to use energy efficient windows.
Take a look at your windows rather than out them if you want to save energy at home. Approximately one-third of a home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. What lets in light and fresh air may also be letting heat escape in the winter or unnecessarily heating up your home in the summer.
Single paned windows that have metal frames are not well insulated and do not keep the heat in or out very well. The edges of doors and windows account for a large amount of air leakage.
Windows only take up between 5-10% of a homes total surface area that is exposed to outside temperatures but account for as much as 30% of the heat lost in a home. Older homes are more susceptible to heat loss because of the structure of the windows.
As you can see from the image,heat loss occurs in a number of different ways around a window.
How Energy Efficient Windows work
- Around 60% of heat loss in the home occurs through standard, single pane windows. Thermally broken double glazed windows substantially stop heat loss and pay for themselves very quickly in the money you save from heating/cooling bills.
- Energy efficient windows use a concept called double glazing.
- Double glazing is the glazing process in which a window is formed by two panes of glass with a space between the panes. The space between the glass is usually several millimeters thick. Air is trapped between the panes of glass and forms a layer of insulation. Before the unit is sealed, a drying agent is added to ensure that no moisture is present inside the finished glass unit.
- Double glazing is an environmentally friendly material, which when used to replace single pane windows helps to reduce these carbon emissions and combat energy loss. As well as saving on heating/cooling bills, double glazing is very good at cutting down on noise pollution and internal condensation.
Energy efficient windows also have excellent u-Values – which is the measure of insulation efficiency of a material. So, it’s all very well using double glazing, but if the material used for the window frame is not efficient, you are wasting your money.
Energy efficient windows and safety
While many of us are concerned with being energy efficient even with windows, many will ask what about safety? Well, I can tell you that having seen played with these windows first hand, the glass is exceptionally tough and the space between the glass panes presents a formidable barrier to entry and breakage – plus , the workmanship on the hinges and locks is truly exceptional.
Energy efficient windows are another key element in the overall strategy.
As ESKOM struggles with ongoing supply issues, we as consumers need to be as energy efficient as possible and that include having energy efficient windows. To reduce energy loss through our windows will save us all money and every little bit of electricity that we don’t use is one more kWh we don’t pay for.
Plus , these energy efficient windows (and doors – they do those too) look great and they add value to the property as well.
Now, maybe if Microsoft could have an energy efficient Windows too – that would be the icing on the cake!