The technology involved in making windows is constantly evolving as people learn more about what makes windows inefficient and what can be done to improve their efficiency. Older windows used a single pane of glass, which is effective in keeping wind and wet out while letting light in. On the other hand, a single pane of glass is mostly ineffective in preventing heat transfer through your window. If you have older windows, you should consider replacing them with a newer window technology. You have the choice, for example, between triple-pane windows and windows treated with a low-e window film. If you have the choice, go for the low-e windows.
An Analysis of Triple-Pane Windows
After people realized how inefficient single-pane windows are, they began looking for improvements. They quickly realized that by sandwiching a buffer layer of gas between the panes of glass, they could vastly improve the insulation in a window. Triple-pane windows are an evolution of this same idea. While a double-pane window has an r-value of around 3.7, triple-pane windows will top out with an r-value of 5. While this is an impressive improvement, there is a still better way to improve the energy efficiency of your home. While installing triple-pane windows will improve your home's ability to retain heat, it can take two decades or more for you to recoup the cost of installing the windows in the first place. Considering this reality, there is room for a better option.
An Analysis of Low-E Window Film
Low-e windows work on a similar principle to that which drives the efficacy of an emergency blanket. A layer of metal film can reflect heat back outside during the summer and toward the inside of your home during the winter. Stretching an emergency blanket over your window would block off your view, but window manufacturers can create a transparent layer of film which will still achieve the same results as you could get with a solid layer of metal foil. In this way, window film can decrease your cooling costs by 23% and your heating costs by 25%. Because window film can cost as little as $6 a square foot to install, it is one of the most cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your windows.
While both triple-pane windows and low-e treated windows will decrease your heating and cooling costs, there is a big difference in cost between the two options. The construction involved in manufacturing a third pane of glass and building a frame to hold the three panes used in a triple-pane window drives up the cost. On the other hand, there is much less labor and manufacturing involved in installing a layer of low-e film. Thus, low-e windows are more cost-effective than triple-pane windows. However, if you have the budget and the need, you should consider installing triple-pane windows that have been treated with low-e film, which will give you the best efficiency that money can buy. For more information, talk to a professional like Ken Caryl Glass, Inc.