Interest in "green" building technology has led homeowners and builders to install storm windows that feature energy-saving technology, such as "low e," or low-emissivity, glass. The special coatings on low e glass reflect heat created by infrared energy while allowing light to pass through. Not only can low-e glass on storm windows increase financial comfort through savings, it can increase bodily comfort by regulating a home's internal temperature. Low e glass also can reduce your carbon footprint by decreasing your reliance on utilities that generate greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
According to a study published by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009, storm windows equipped with low e glass provided nearly double the energy savings of single-paned, clear glass storm windows. According to the study, single-paned storm windows reduced energy expenditure for heating by 13 percent, savings which paid off the windows' installation and product cost in 10 years. The study indicated that low e storm windows reduced energy expenditure for heating by 21 percent, savings which paid off the windows' installation and product cost in 5 years. Not only did low e storm windows save more energy on a monthly basis during the study but, from a long-term financial perspective, they were a better investment.
Glass Surface Temperatures
Glass surface temperature differences between single-pane and low e storm windows can differ by up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit; low e windows are warmer during winter and cooler during summer. Six degrees can make a substantial difference in comfort when sitting next to or near windows during cold weather.
Although low e glass storm windows are more expensive than standard single-pane storm windows, according the DOE's study, the cost to install them is identical--no special labor costs are incurred for the installation of low e glass. The DOE's study also indicated that the same bulk-quantity purchase discounts applied to both low e and single-paned storm windows.
Reduced Heat Loss
Low e glass loses substantially less heat than traditional single-paned windows. U-factor is a measurement of a window's ability to prevent heat loss. A low e storm window has a u-factor of .36 compared to a standard storm window's .49. The lower the number, the less heat can escape through the window.
- Photo Credit energy pole image by Soja Andrzej from Fotolia.com
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