What to Consider About Energy Efficiency When Replacing Multi-Family Housing Windows
If you own a multi-family housing unit, it is inevitable that the windows will need to be replaced at some point in time. There are a wide variety of factors that will impact the energy efficiency of the new windows that are installed, and it is important to keep factors in mind when considering which windows would be the best investment in your property. While heating and cooling costs are variable, windows that provide the most energy efficiency are capable of saving you a substantial amount of money in energy costs. Here, the commercial window installation experts at Acadia Windows and Doors explain what to know about the factors that impact energy efficiency in replacement windows.
Thickness of Air Space
Double-glazed windows are constructed with two sheets of glass that have a gap in between them to better insulate the window. The amount of space that exists between the glass panes has a direct impact on the energy efficiency of the window. Double-glazed windows were traditionally made with only 1⁄4 inch of space in between the panes, but many manufacturers have increased this to 1⁄2 inch or more to boost energy efficiency. If the panes are too far apart, however, convection loops occur between the panes of glass and energy efficiency plateaus or decreases. Ultimately, double-glazed windows will only boost energy efficiency if the panes are spaced no more than one inch apart.
Low-Conductivity Gas Fill
Another way windows can be installed to boost energy efficiency is by fixing windows with a low-conductivity gas fill. Sealed and insulated glass windows were traditionally filled with air, but now there are styles that are filled with argon, which is denser and less conductive and therefore more energy efficient.
By far, the single most effective improvement in terms of energy efficiency has been the development of low-emissivity, known as low-e, coating for windows. Low-e coating is a thin, transparent coating, made from titanium silver or tin oxide, that allows visible light to pass through the window, but keeps infrared heat radiation trapped inside. This both reduces heat loss when it is cold and heat gain when it is hot, greatly improving energy efficiency regardless of the season. The latest developments in low-e coating have allowed for a variety of coatings that accommodate different climate zones and applications for specific locations. This includes low-e windows with high solar heat gain coefficients, which work best for northern climates where passive solar heating is advantageous, and “southern low-e” windows with low heat gain coefficients, which are appropriate in milder climates where summer cooling is more important than winter heating.
Edge spacers hold the panes of glass apart in a window and provide an airtight seal in an insulated glass window (IGU). These were once made with aluminum, which was then filled with desiccant beads to improve insulation. Unfortunately, aluminum is very conductive, which allows indoor heat to escape and reduces energy efficiency. Window manufacturers responded to this concern by developing edge spacers in a variety of new materials including steel, silicone foam, butyl rubber, plastic composite and more. At Acadia, we use energy-efficient, environmentally friendly DuraliteR spacers, which are designed to be the most thermally effective. DuraliteR spacers are made without metal and are instead constructed using a polycarbonate spacer element. These spacers contain insulated chambers, a three-sided moisture barrier and a moisture-resistant adhesive to allow for the most effective window insulation. Choosing more efficient edge seals is an easy, low-cost option to improve your property’s energy efficiency.
Choose Acadia Windows and Doors for Your Next Commercial Window Installation Project
Due to the nature and scope of commercial installation projects, it is critical to choose a team with extensive experience and knowledge. Acadia Windows and Doors has served as a leader in the commercial window and door replacement industry for the last 20 years, and has the skills and know-how necessary to handle any commercial project, large or small. To learn more about our exceptional commercial service, contact an Acadia specialist today.
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