According to Natural Resources Canada, “windows, doors and skylights can be a significant source of energy loss in your home—up to 25%.”
With the massive increase in household bills, it’s essential to reduce energy consumption, saving you money to spend on other bills. One key way to lower heating costs is by investing in high-performance, energy-efficient windows, which can lower your energy bills.
Sliding windows are the most energy-efficient units that can help you cut down on your annual energy bills. Curious why and to what degree? Keep reading to find out.
Which Windows Are Considered Energy Efficient?
The material of the window frames is vital to determining whether your windows will be energy efficient. Some materials offer lower maintenance, while others are better insulators. Here’s an overview of different types of window frames that are both popular and come with a great thermal performance.
Modern Vinyl (UPVC) frames come with a high R-value and can help to reduce the cost of utilities. They are most often preferred by homeowners due to the number of benefits they offer:
- Easy maintenance. Vinyl frames won’t rot, corrode, rust or need repainting. Just occasional simple water cleaning is needed for them to maintain a great look.
- Affordable but durable. These units are much cheaper than wood, but their durability is very good. It is a great pick for regions with harsh weather conditions.
- Configuration opportunities. Vinyl frames come in many colours, styles and sizes to complement any house exterior. Custom frames, however, might have an additional cost.
Wood is a well-known natural insulator. Moreover, this material is environmentally friendly when it comes from sustainably managed forests, so many homeowners who want a traditional look for their windows go with wood frames.
- High energy efficiency. Wood is the best option when it comes to increased thermal performance since the material perfectly resists extreme weather and ultimately lowers your utility bills.
- Amazing appearance. High-quality, well-maintained frames can be painted or stained to match any exterior décor and serve you for years. On the other hand, wood requires frequent maintenance if you want it to avoid rotting, scrapping and mould and maintain the original, beautiful look.
Aluminum is one of the most durable materials for windows frames, so homeowners who live in regions with extreme weather conditions often choose aluminum windows to keep their houses secure.
- Customization opportunities. Aluminum comes in different shapes, and because of its light and flexible structure, it can be easily adjusted to perfectly match your preferences.
- Little-to-no maintenance. You needn’t be worried about frequent cleaning or painting. These windows do not require much maintenance to keep a nice original look.
- The main downside of aluminum windows is that they are prone to forming condensation during cold months due to poor heat transfer. However, different window experts claim that this issue can be minimized by using a spacer (non-conductive material).
How Glazing Impacts Your Energy Performance
While single-pane glass windows were standard for years, Canada’s introduction to Energy Star guidelines in 2001 made it easier for consumers to buy energy-efficient products that would reduce household costs and save energy. Some of these energy-efficient features include:
Windows with Double or Triple Glazing
In areas that see extreme winters, windows with at least two panes of glass are required if you really want to see a significant increase in energy efficiency for your house.
Triple-glazed windows offer even better insulation compared to double-pane units and reduce heat loss by up to 55%. But they are also approximately 15% more expensive, so make sure you analyze your climate, utility bills and overall house insulation before making a final pick, since the ROI might take longer and not be sufficient for you.
The main objective of this glass type is to minimize the amount of infrared and UV light coming into your space through the glass without compromising on the amount of light that enters your rooms.
Low-E glass windows come with a super-thin coating that reflects heat. That coating helps maintain a comfortable temperature within your home, keeping it warm during cold periods and cool during hot seasons.
Glass Injected With Krypton or Argon
Krypton and argon gas usually come in combination with triple-glazed windows to dramatically increase protection from heat loss and make sure condensation does not occur on your new windows. Krypton or argon significantly reduce heat conduction when injected between panes of glass and can insulate better than air.
ENERGY STAR Ratings
ENERGY STAR is a certification system that identifies energy-efficient products. After a credible independent laboratory has successfully tested a product, the ENERGY STAR symbol is placed on the product to confirm that it exceeds the required standards.
Windows are measured based on their U-Rating, measuring the overall energy rating or heat loss with their passive solar heat gain to get an overall air leakage and heat loss amount. ENERGY STAR certified products must have a U-rating of 1.22 W/ m2 or lower.
The Most Energy-Efficient Window Styles
There are three main window styles that are popular for their efficient design and visual charm:
These are very modern windows that slide along a track and fit almost any house exterior perfectly. They are easy to operate, feature amazing energy efficiency and bring a modern touch to your house, boosting its market price and curb appeal.
Double-hung windows pair modern benefits with traditional styling to create an energy-efficient option.
They tilt for cleaning while also moving simultaneously for optimum ventilation (they’re built with two sashes). Special energy-efficient glass coatings, insulating gas fillers and soundproof glass are also available.
Casement windows open both left and right while offering easy cleaning and ventilation. They fit tightly against the window frame and seal tighter during extreme weather, making them highly efficient. Occasionally, maintenance may be needed on seals and hinges so the unit can continue to operate smoothly.
How Much Can These Windows Help You Save?
BC Hydro estimates that “ENERGY STAR certified windows can save an average of 8% of your energy bills as compared to a standard window.” They suggest that home renovation and building projects are the perfect time to replace your windows to take advantage of these savings.
The Bottom Line
If your windows are old and drafty, you could save money by investing in more energy-efficient windows. So do not overlook this significant home improvement project, and make sure to go with the options that will work best for your house and wallet.