Non-Energy Benefits of Efficient Windows
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Efficient windows can make your home more comfortable year-round, reduce condensation, block outside noise, improve fire safety, and cut back on ultraviolet radiation that can fade your carpets and furniture.
Efficient windows can provide more benefits than just energy savings. For example, efficient windows can:
- improve comfort in the winter. Since an efficient window is better insulated from the elements, its interior surface will feel warmer to the touch during the winter. Whereas, the glass of most older, inefficient windows will feel cold to the touch. Cold glass can cause drafts when air coming into contact with the window is cooled and drops to the floor. This creates an airflow pattern that feels drafty and accelerates heat loss. An efficient window, being warmer, will have fewer drafts and less heat loss. You can also improve the comfort of your efficient window by making sure it is properly installed and sealed to reduce air leakage.
- improve comfort in the summer. Efficient windows reduce the solar radiation coming into your home, which means your home will stay cooler in the summer.
- reduce frost and condensation. High-performance windows have warmer interior glass surfaces, which cuts down on frost and condensation. Many efficient windows have improved spacers and insulating frames, which significantly reduce condensation under all conditions.
- make your home quieter by reducing noise entry from outside, by providing sound insulation
- minimize fading of materials (e.g., carpets and furniture) in the home by reducing incoming ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can also have benefits for human health. Low-E coated glass or windows incorporating plastic layers will reduce fading.
- deter forced entry (multiple-pane windows or windows with energy-control films can be harder to break)
- contribute to reduced furnace on-time, reducing the potential for fires from faulty HVAC systems
- reduce glass breakage in fires, windstorms, or earthquakes
If you think that efficient windows significantly decrease the amount of visible light that comes into your house, or look funny from the outside, think again. In the past, people used tinted glazing or shades to reduce solar heat gain, but these measures reduced the amount of light coming into the house and were sometimes not very visually appealing. Now there are glazings, such as spectrally selective Low-E coatings, that can provide better solar heat gain reduction than tinted glass, with a minimal loss of visible light. Views will also remain clearer and without obstruction.