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Energy-efficient windows

by David M. Brown on Jun 3, 2016

Energy-efficient windows help create a consistent, comfortable atmosphere in the home, while helping to reduce overall energy costs,” said Brian Lajoie, territory manager-Phoenix for Milgard Windows & Doors Corporation, a Masco company based in Tacoma, Washington.

Efficiency features

The majority of windows today are dual-pane insulated: two pieces of glass held together by a perimeter spacer. “These units are much more energy-efficient than single-pane units that were used in the past,” Lajoie said.

In addition, quality windows today are also Low-E (Low Emissivity) — an invisible metallic coating, typically on the interior side of the exterior glass pane, has been applied to reduce the ultra-violet light passing into your new home. To this component, you can add tinting to reduce glare and visible light transmittance as well as to provide privacy and aesthetic appeal.

Be cognizant of airflow

“You can control the flow of fresh air by selecting operable window styles such as single-hungs or casements,” Lajoie said.

A casement window allows for maximum airflow, while a sliding window limits the airflow to one half of the window, according to JELD-WEN, an Oregon-based company that has manufactured doors and windows for several decades. Meanwhile, double-hung or single-hung windows with the tilt-in feature allow for easy cleaning.

Check out the framing

The framing material should also be considered. Vinyl frames are made primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) making them almost maintenance-free. 

Aluminum windows can be configured into a wide variety of combinations including multi-panel door systems for indoor/outdoor living. These windows are lightweight, strong and cost-effective and are most frequently selected for homes in warmer climates where heat loss is not as much of a concern, according to JELD-WEN.

Fiberglass framing can replicate the look and feel of wood while helping to resist swelling, rotting and warping. “While fiberglass frames do not require repainting for upkeep, the material can be repainted if you prefer to change colors,” Lajoie said.

Wood has been the most common choice for homes for years, also allowing painting or staining to highlight wood grain.

“Wood is strong and easy to work with, is a natural insulator and complements many forms of architecture,” Lajoie said. However, it’s important to be aware that wood frames require regular sealing, staining or painting as well as periodic touch-ups to prolong their beauty and performance. 

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