New Home Planning ~ Step 6: Window Selection
Every home needs windows. They are vital for providing light and ventilation but they are also an important architectural selection that effect your monthly maintenance costs for heating and cooling.
There are big differences in windows and their overall performance. Today we've put together a quick guide to window types, helpful links to find the right manufacturer and learn more about the information that will effect your window selection.
WINDOW PANE TYPES
There are three types of window pane types - single Pane, Double Pane and Triple Pane. There are many misconceptions about what type of window is appropriate. For example, some people believe that if they live in the south - where it is much warmer year round - a single pane window would be sufficient. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Choosing the wrong window could mean losing cooling energy in the south or heating energy in the north - but either way you will lose money if you don't choose wisely.
Windows, doors, skylights can gain and lose heat through a variety of ways including:
- Direct conduction through the glass or glazing, frame, and/or door
- The radiation of heat into a house (typically from the sun) and out of a house from room-temperature objects, such as people, furniture, and interior walls
- Air leakage through and around them.
- There is also some great information here regarding solar gain, air leakage, sunlight transmission and more
Windows today come in many types of frames to from Aluminum, Composites, Vinyl, Fiberglass as well as wood. In today’s market, getting a good window that makes energy sense and fits your homes style shouldn’t be that hard with so many manufacturers. You can check out a list of the 2012 top 100 Window manufacturers here.
Another thing that must be considered is the type of window glazing or glass used.
There are many choices so it’s best to be informed.
To improve the thermal performance of windows with insulated glazing, some manufacturers fill the space between the panes with inert gas -- commonly argon or krypton -- that has a higher resistance to heat flow than air.
Heat-absorbing window glazing contains special tints that change the color of the glass. Tinted glass absorbs a large fraction of the incoming solar radiation through a window, reducing the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), visible transmittance (VT), and glare.
Some heat, however, continues to pass through tinted windows by conduction and re-radiation, so the tint doesn't lower a window's U-factor. Inner layers of clear glass or spectrally selective coatings can be applied on insulated glazing to help reduce these types of heat transfer.
Again the right choice of windows helps in saving you money on your energy costs. Orienting your home to take advantage of the free solar gain when the sun is lower in the winter sky and making sure that the high summer sun doesn’t enter your windows is something you should be aware of too.
Now quality windows can be costly but like most things you can pay the up front costs for windows that will save you monthly on your heating/cooling expenses and last for years or buy the cheaper ones that will end up costing you more in the long run in many different ways.
To enhance your window knowledge you can read more here or visit your local window retailer as they can be a great source of information too.
Todd Vendituoli, owner of Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. in Vermont . He also writes for: