Your Toronto home is an investment, and anything you can do to save money is going to help you in the long run. Energy efficient windows are an easy way to do just that. The right windows can save you up to 15 percent on your energy bills. So just what makes an energy efficient window work to save you all that money? Here’s a little crash course.
What Makes Energy Efficient Windows Work for Your Toronto Home?
Energy efficient windows all do basically the same thing. They insulate the inside of your home from the outside. How well they accomplish this task is indicated by an efficiency rating, which is a number listed on the packaging. Your replacement window professional can help you understand what these numbers mean, and help you choose the right windows for your home or office.
Some of the numbers to look at when choosing the right energy efficient windows for your application are –
- U-Factor – This is the rate that your window transfers heat from one side to the other. The lower this number is, the better.
- SHGC – This stands for solar heat gain coefficient, and represents the amount of solar energy transmitted through the glass in the form of radiant heat. Again, the lower the better.
- VT – Visible Transmittance indicates how much visible spectrum light is allowed to pass through the glass of your windows.
- LST – Light to Solar Gain is a ratio between SHGC and VT and provides a gauge of how efficient a window is at transmitting daylight while blocking heat gain.
Energy Star claims the right energy efficient windows can lower your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent, which means your windows should be able to pay for themselves over time. Taking advantage of a window’s particular properties can make a big difference as well. For example, in passive solar applications, the south facing windows in a home are intended to aid in heating the home during the winter months. This same concept will help your energy consumption if you use windows with a higher SHGC that will allow more solar heat into your home in the winter. Overhangs or awnings over these windows will cut down on solar heat transmission in the summer.
Visible transmittance is important for your home application where your main window concern is natural lighting. Your home’s various rooms will have different lighting needs, some of which may be met most of the year with natural light, so the right VT windows in the right places will also be useful to you.
Light to Solar Gain rating will be the most important factor to consider for the summer months with regard to the rooms receiving the most natural light. These areas of your home will be brighter in the summer, but a good LST will prevent unnecessary heating.
The Right Energy Efficient Windows for the Job
As you can see, there are a great number of things that will go into choosing the right energy efficient windows for your Toronto home, and these factors may be slightly different for each different area and application of your house as well. The way energy efficient windows are constructed also affects how well they do their job, so be ready to ask pertinent questions before you make your final selections. Again, a qualified window replacement expert can help you make these decisions.
The construction and material of the window’s frame is a detail that affects the window’s U-Factor, because this is the place where the window can conduct the most heat. Glass is not particularly conductive in its own right. Most energy efficient windows are framed in aluminum or other metal alloy which is then vinyl coated to reduce the conductivity.
Besides its inherent non-conductive tendencies, the panes of the windows themselves can be coated in various compounds that either reduce visible transmittance, raise the insulation quality or provide additional solar heat gain coefficient to the windows.
Multi-pane applications basically sandwich an inert gas, like krypton, between the layers, producing non-conductive “dead air” space that virtually stops heat conduction entirely. Multi-pane windows generally have a higher U-factor and lower SHGC. These are among the more expensive windows on the market but, generally speaking, they are well worth the price.
Of course, one very important point to remember is, you can spend a fortune on the most energy efficient windows on the market, taking the time to hand pick every window for your home, making sure it will be the best one for that particular application, and none of this will do you any good if they are not properly installed. The windows must be properly sealed with caulk when they are placed in the walls, and quality weather stripping should be used as well.
And you should also put a little thought into the operation of these energy efficient windows. Some places around your home will be perfectly suited to windows that don’t open at all, while others may need to be used for lighting and ventilation during the warmer seasons. There are several different applications to consider here too. Casement windows are hinged along one side, and swing outward when they open, while awning and hopper windows do pretty much the same thing, except they swing out from the top and bottom respectively. These types of windows are more efficient than others because, the window is pressed firmly against the frame when closed, so there is less air leakage.
Sliding and hung windows are the more commonly recognized types that raise and lower, or in the case of sliding windows, open like a patio door. These generally allow a lot more air leakage, and are less energy efficient.
So it’s obvious at this point that a lot of different factors will influence your choices when selecting the right energy efficient windows for your Toronto area home. When you are ready for assistance choosing your energy efficient windows, call the pros at Toronto Doors and Windows, and we’ll be happy to help.