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Understanding Low-E Coatings & Tempered Glass WindowsDecember 20th, 2012 by
Discussed in Part 1 of this blog, multi-pane windows have become the standard in the industry due to their insulating power. In addition to having multiple panes, a professional can apply important coatings or treatments to your windows that will affect not only their energy efficiency but also the safety of your home and family.
A low-emittance (Low-E) coating is a thin layer of metal that is applied to one side of the glass by the glass manufacturer. Although the coating is nearly invisible, its effect is to slow the U-factor of the glass. US manufacturers always place the Low-E coating on the inner face of the glass pane to protect it from the elements and physical damage.
Low-E coatings can reflect heat in both directions. They work by suppressing the heat transfer in multilayer glazing. Normally, heat will flow from a warm pane to a cooler pane. By applying a Low-E coating, a large amount of this radiant heat transfer is blocked.
Different types of Low-E coatings have been designed to allow for high, moderate, or low solar heat gain. This innovation helps control the total amount of heat transferred through the panes and allows builders to tailor windows to the needs of the house by considering the overall climate and annual weather patterns.
Higher solar-gain glazings perform better in winter, while lower solar-gain glazings perform better in summer.
Tempered glass is an excellent choice for windows in parts of the home where glass is more likely to be at risk of breaking. Tempered glass has been heat-strengthened, making it about four times stronger than untreated glass. If it breaks, the glass is designed to crumble instead of shattering into shards.
The following must be constructed with tempered glass:
- Windows located near walking paths
- Skylights lower than 12 feet from the floor and/or less than 16 square feet
- Sidelights—windows built alongside entry doors
Choosing the right type of glass for your windows can seem like a minor consideration in the overall project of home construction or renovation, but the decision can turn out to have major repercussions in both your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
A professional glass installer can help guide you to a selection that can provide you with temperate, comfortable rooms year-round and the pleasure of monthly savings on your energy bills—clearly, a winning combination.
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