More Than Panes: The Role Of Gases And Films In Window Making

Posted on: 25 June 2015

When glass was first used to seal off windows while still providing natural light to a room, one single-pane of glass was used. People understood little if anything about insulating a house. As people understood more about insulation, they began to use double-pane windows. For a time, double-pane windows were the standard, but today even if you have older double-pane windows, you should consider replacing them with windows that use special gases or films to boost efficient. 

How Gas Insulates a Home?

Ordinary double-pane windows are filled with oxygen, and then the space between the windows is then sealed. This sandwich of air will help to reduce the amount of air that flows through your windows. If you want to further improve the insulation value, you should look for windows that are filled with a noble gas such as argon. These gases are denser than air, which means even less heat will transfer through your windows. Window insulation is rated using a U-factor, which is given as a decimal. The closer the social is to 1 the worse the insulation of the window is. A double-pane window will have a U-factor of -81 and an argon-filled window will have a U-factor of .53. Thus, using argon-filled windows can significantly improve the insulation of your window, but you can further improve your energy savings by looking for windows that have been treated with a low-e window film. 

Heat Mirror Films

The right gas will help to prevent heat transfer through glass, but it will do nothing to stop the sun's UV rays. Buying windows that have been treated with a low-e film will help. Around 20% of the summer heat inside your home comes from sunlight passing through your windows. Low-e films will reflect the sun's UV rays away from your home, and thus help to keep your home cooler during the summer. The same film will also reflect heat back into your home. Thus, during the winter, you should have lower heating costs. While window films do not insulate your home in the traditional sense, they can still increase the energy efficiency of your home. In fact, window films can cut your HVAC costs by around 25%

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and/or decrease your HVAC costs, you cannot ignore your windows. When your old windows reach the end of their life, you should look for gas-filled windows with a low-e film. Such windows should give you the most savings.