When you’re installing new windows, Low-Emissivity (or Low-E for short) styles are almost standard. They will cost you somewhere around 10 to 15% more than traditional windows, but you can count on shaving 30 to 50% off your energy losses, which will also shave down your utility costs.
What Is Low-E, Anyway?
Low-Emissivity windows have a transparent metal coating on the inside or outside of the glass panel that does some funny things with UV rays.
Low-E windows were originally designed for those of us in more northern parts of the world, developed to cut down on our heating costs by reflecting the solar rays back into the room as they try to escape. The coating acts as an insulator, cutting down heating costs with the added bonus of reducing condensation during those icy winter months.
They also work for hotter climates by bouncing those infrared rays back out to reduce the level of heat in your home and cut down on cooling costs. That metal coating is very picky, actually singling out certain spectrums of light and blocking their entry through the panes–like a bouncer for your windows.
The great thing is that you can’t tell at all when looking through them.
Can You DIY or Retrofit This Technology?
If you’re feeling up to installing new windows, by all means go for it. Visit window retailers to shop their selection, paying special attention to the climate that the Low-E windows are made for.
You can also find them with gas fillings between the panes to cut down even more on utilities. In four-season climates you should opt for double-pane and even triple-pane glass.
So what if an entire window replacement isn’t in the budget, but you want to check out how this method works to green your home and cut costs? Try a high-quality window film on your largest windows and track how much less your heating or cooling costs are. Window films are fairly easy to put up with a little patience and can be the best solution for older or starter homes.
You’ll find that this technology and design really does work to cut down on energy costs. Keep your house more comfortable and more green with Low-E windows.
Photo courtesy of Oast House Archive