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Ask the expert: Energy-efficient windows

by Rhona Melsky on Aug 4, 2017

Our experts are Brian Lajoie, territory manager for Arizona for Milgard Manufacturing and Sean Smith, director of product marketing for the vinyl and aluminum window product line for JELD-WEN Windows & Doors.

Q What are dual-pane windows and their advantage over single-pane?

A Lajoie: Dual-pane windows are two pieces of glass connected through a spacer made of aluminum, stainless steel or foam that creates a void helping to mitigate heat and cold temperature changes. The advantage over single-pane windows is they allow heat and cold transfer to be limited and reduced so the inside of a home remains at a more comfortable temperature thereby reducing energy expenses. They also significantly reduce the amount of sound from external noise. “Most new homes in Arizona have dual-pane windows,” Lajoie said.

Q What is Low-E glass?

A Smith: Low-E, or low emissivity, is a coating technology that helps create more energy-efficient windows and is becoming more standard in homes. It is a thin layer of metallic oxide applied to the interior side of the glass. It enables the insulated glass to reflect and or refract and keep out certain spectrum's of light and certain harmful UV [ultra-violet] rays. 

Q What is the difference between vinyl and fiberglass window frames?

A Lajoie: Both vinyl and fiberglass have been around for decades. Their thermal properties are equivalent in their ability to keep out heat during the summer and keep warmth in during the winter. Vinyl windows are very durable, handle heat well, are inexpensive and available in all configurations. “Fiberglass is becoming more popular as a consumer choice as it is eight times stronger than vinyl,” Lajoie said. “It is very resistant to UV rays and extremes of Mother Nature. Fiberglass will not warp or rot or peel or chip because of its strength.”

Q What is the purpose of tinted glass windows? 

A Smith: Tinted glass can be used for reducing certain types of light entering the home. “Today it has become more of an aesthetic opportunity that can work in conjunction with Low-E glass to offer additional energy-effi ciency options,” Smith said. Types of homes that may prefer a window tint could include a beach home with large windows that let in continuous sun. “A tint would not deprive the owner of the view but would cut down on the glare,” Smith noted. 

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