In Southwest Saskatchewan, where we experience both frigid winters and scorching summers, energy efficiency is a top priority for conscientious homeowners. At SunRay Fiberglass Windows and Doors, we offer a comprehensive selection of Low-E windows designed to maximize your comfort and minimize your energy bills throughout the year.
What are Low-E Windows and How Do They Work?
Low-E windows feature a thin, transparent coating of metal or ceramic applied to the glass surface (learn about the technical aspects of SunRay’s window glass, made by Cardinal, here). This coating acts like a thermal barrier, reflecting heat away from your home in the summer and retaining it inside during the winter. This results in several key benefits:
Reduced Energy Costs
During the summer, Low-E windows reflect away unwanted solar heat, reducing the reliance on air conditioning and lowering your cooling bills. Conversely, in the winter, the coating helps trap heat inside, minimizing the need for heating and decreasing your energy consumption.
Protected Furniture and Carpets
Harmful UV rays from the sun can cause fading and deterioration of your furniture and carpets. Low-E windows filter out a significant portion of these rays, protecting your valuable belongings and extending their lifespan.
How to Maximize the Effectiveness of Low-E Windows for Your Home
Most homeowners have heard that insulated glass units with Low-E coatings and argon gas are best, however, the key to optimizing energy efficiency lies in understanding the different sun exposure each side of your house receives throughout the year. It’s important to recognize that placing the appropriate type of Low-E window on each side of your house makes a big difference.
Using a Compass to Choose Your Windows
- North-facing windows require a high R-value for insulation. This is because there is minimal opportunity to leverage the sun’s heat, as northern windows are less exposed to direct sunlight throughout the winter since the sun’s path is predominantly in the southern hemisphere.
- Consider a mid-range Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for northern-facing windows.
- South-facing windows, bathed in the winter sun’s low rays, should prioritize solar heat gain and visible light, while also considering summer shade from roof overhangs or trees. Of course, if you have no shade or overhangs, then a balanced window should be considered in place of energy savings.
- Consider a high Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for southern-facing windows.
- East-facing windows should resist letting the heat from the sun through by maximizing insulation with a moderate R-value while still allowing light through.
- Consider a mid-range Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for eastern-facing windows.
- West-facing windows, facing the summer’s afternoon sun’s heat, need to minimize letting the sun’s heat through the window to avoid excessive cooling costs.
- Consider a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for western-facing windows.
Taking the context of your home into account when selecting windows will help you maximize your return on investment. SunRay recognizes the unique requirements of the orientation of your home, and we are excited to help you select the very best windows for your context (learn more about custom solutions here).
Single vs. Double Low-E Windows
Another important decision when choosing Low-E windows is whether to go with single Low-E or double Low-E. Single Low-E windows have one layer of Low-E coating, while double Low-E windows have two. This additional layer provides better thermal performance, leading to greater energy savings and improved comfort.
For homeowners seeking the best possible R-value in their windows and maximizing the benefits of an Energy Star Greener Homes Grant, triple pane windows with double Low-E are highly recommended. Triple pane windows with double Low-E provide a 25% improvement in thermal performance, for a minor cost increase. Learn more about the technical aspects of Low-E windows based on Duxton’s spec sheet here.
Potential Drawbacks of Low-E Windows
While Low-E windows offer many benefits, it’s important to be aware of some potential drawbacks before making your selection. Depending on the type of Low-E coating chosen, you may experience the following scenarios:
Diminished Visibility with Low Solar Gain Windows: Some Low-E coatings, like those with low solar gain, can slightly reduce the amount of visible light entering your home. Most people won’t notice this, but in applications where crystal clear glass is essential, it is better to choose an option with less tint.
Unexpected Warmth with High Solar Gain Windows: High solar gain coatings are designed to capture sunlight for warmth during cooler months. However, this can sometimes lead to unwelcome overheating in specific situations, particularly in:
- Smaller rooms with large windows
- Spaces with limited overhangs for sun protection
- Rooms that experience significant sunlight during transitional seasons like spring and fall
Finding the Perfect Balance:
If there is doubt about which type of low-E window to choose, medium solar gain coatings offer a balanced performance, making them a popular choice for most applications. However, for spaces prone to overheating, such as those featuring large glass walls, south or west-facing orientations, or shallow room depths a low solar gain coating might be a better fit to maintain comfortable temperatures year-round.
SunRay Fiberglass Windows and Doors: Your Source for Energy-Efficient Solutions
At SunRay Fiberglass Windows and Doors, we are committed to providing Southwest Saskatchewan homeowners with the best solutions for energy efficiency and year-round comfort. Our knowledgeable team can help you choose the ideal Low-E windows for your specific needs and climate, ensuring optimal performance and substantial energy savings.
Contact SunRay Fiberglass Windows and Doors today to schedule a consultation and discover how our Low-E windows can enhance your home’s energy efficiency, comfort, and value.