If you’re looking for energy-efficient windows for your home, you might want to consider low-emissivity glass, often referred to as simply, “Low E.”
What is Low E Glass?
Advancements in technology over the years have ushered in an array of high-performing products that help your home become more energy efficient. This includes special window coatings that help absorb light energy and improve insulation.
Made from metallic oxides, Low E coatings are so thin they’re transparent, which means natural light will still flow in. But, even though this feature is invisible, it works hard to control radiant heat, which keeps your home warmer in the cooler months and cooler in the warmer months. Ultimately, this helps maximize solar energy and lower your utility costs.
Another benefit of Low E windows is protection of your home’s interior features, such as wall coverings, carpet, and furniture fabric. With less UV and infrared light getting through, the less likely they are to fade.
Each home is different and manufacturers offer an array of Low E options. You’ll need to ask a few questions to find out which is best for your needs. One major factor to consider is climate.
Climate Considerations for Low E Glass
In a climate such as Arizona, you most likely spend more cooling your home than heating it, so blocking heat is key. Conversely, in places like North Dakota, you will likely spend more heating your home than cooling it. In fact, there are only a few months where air conditioning is even necessary. So, retaining heat in the winter may be your primary goal. There is a Low E option that caters to each of these climates.
Most manufacturers offer at least two options: For the sake of simplification, these are Low E 2 and a Low E 3. Generally speaking, the Low E 2 product is made with two layers of silver oxide, while Low E 3 has three layers. While the Low E 3 has a slightly darker tint, it’s usually not noticeably different.
Low E Windows in Arizona
Low E 3 packages are better fit for homes in Arizona because they’ll block more heat from the sun.The additional layer of silver oxide will better reflect the outside light from coming into the home, which means your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool your house.
Low E Windows in North Dakota
Low E 2 packages are a good fit for North Dakota because they’ll allow passive solar heat to come through the glass, which will help heat the home. And, from the inside, the Low E glass can also reflect the heat back into the home, preventing it from escaping through the glass. This can save on your heating bill.
Those are two extreme climates, what about a climate like Colorado?
Low E Windows in Colorado
In a more moderate climate like Colorado, one with a mix of both sun and snow, you can customize your Low E to best fit your home. For example, if your windows are mostly west- or south-facing, you might have more of an issue cooling your home than heating it, in which case you’ll likely benefit from Low E 3 glass. However, if most of your windows are on the north- or east-facing side, LowE 2 might be the better choice.
When installing or replacing windows, make sure to discuss your home’s specific energy needs so that you can get the best Low E glass. Asking the right questions will help you save money and feel more comfortable in your home, year-round.