What is the Most Energy Efficient Window Style?
There are some great reasons for trying to make your home more energy efficient, for instance saving money on utility bills and keeping your household budget under control. But there’s also the larger picture to think of, which is the fact that you will actually be helping the planet by lowering your energy usage, and conserving more for future generations. Whatever your reasons are for seeking energy efficient windows, your windows would be a good place to start. So you might be wondering – exactly which kind of window is the most energy efficient?
The champion energy efficient window
Among those windows which are designed to be opened, the clear winner is a casement window. It should be mentioned that picture windows are actually slightly more efficient than casement windows, but they are designed to remain closed at all times, so they have an entirely different functionality. What makes casement windows so efficient is the fact that they have a very strong seal on all four sides. This of course, keeps conditioned air inside, and prevents unconditioned external air from penetrating to the interior.
Whenever you close a casement window, it causes the sash to be pressed against the frame tightly, so that it becomes airtight and does not allow for the exchange of air between interior and exterior. Many other types of windows simply cannot achieve this level of tightness, because they open and close by sliding along a fixed track. If you have older windows installed in your home, they probably were not designed with energy efficiency in mind even from the outset, and more than likely they have lost some efficiency along the way, simply because of exposure to the elements and because of heavy usage.
When you don’t have a tight seal between the window frame and the sash, it can allow air from the outside to come inside, and vice versa. You’ll find during the winter time that you have to turn the thermostat up to keep a room warm, and you’ll find just the opposite during summer – you have to increase cooling in the room in order to stay comfortable. Both of these necessities will increase the amount of energy you use, as well as the amount of money you pay your utility company each month.
Increasing your energy efficiency
Even though casement windows are already designed for energy efficiency, you can make them even better by including some additional features that enhance their capabilities. For instance, you can have the windows coated so they have Low-E glass, which means that the sun’s rays will be bounced off them, rather than absorbed by the window and requiring more cooling on the interior. You can also purchase double-pane or triple-pane glass which significantly increases energy efficiency by adding extra layers of insulation between glass panes.
If you look for the Energy Star label on any window you’re thinking of purchasing, you can be assured that the window was designed with the best energy efficient principles in mind, so they will provide maximum performance when installed.