Saving energy is the watchword when it comes to home construction, and energy-efficient windows are the vanguard of the trend. Think about it: without windows, you would literally have holes in your walls. And with the wrong windows, you might as well be throwing money out of a hole in your wall. Why?
How Windows Cost You Money
Okay, let’s just admit that installing energy-efficient windows will cost money. That’s a given. But over time, using a single-pane window (think the kind in old houses, with wooden frames) or older double-pane windows will wind up costing you more than the price of new windows.
This may not make sense until you think about your heating and cooling bills. The missing factor is all about the transfer of heat – out of your house in the wintertime, and into your house in the summertime. Glass and metal are pretty efficient at moving heat around, and since wood and other materials tend to warp, shrink, or crack, gaps can open up between the window’s components or between the window and the wall. And air, as we all know, loves to go through gaps.
Bottom line: if your windows let air in, though, or around, you’re losing money via your heating and cooling bills. And in a Canadian winter, those heating bills really add up. You don’t want to be heating the whole outdoors, right?
How Energy Efficient Windows Save Money
Here’s the simple answer: Energy efficient windows save money by reducing the amount of energy it takes to heat (cool) your home. These savings can be considerable; one source estimates that you could pare 40% off your heating costs if you replaced single-pane windows with energy-saving models. Even replacing older double-glazed windows could bring down your energy bill by several hundred dollars.
Now, here’s how these windows reduce the amount of energy used: by minimizing heat transfer. Clever engineering has produced windows that are insulated both in the frame and between the glass panes. These buffer zones slow the movement of hot air, much like an insulated lunch bag does. The frames are built to be durable and to resist changing with the weather, so there’s less of a chance of pesky gaps opening up. And on the glass there’s often a special metallic substance called low-e coating that reflects heat back towards itself – so hot air stays in the house when the weather is cold and out of the house when it’s hot.
Add energy efficient windows to the list of under-appreciated things we love. Few of us will turn up our noses at saving a couple hundred bucks. And even if we did, nobody likes the idea of their hard-earned cash literally blowing out the window.