This past week in southern Ontario, we got our first heat wave, with a near record high of 32 degrees Celsius. It was definitely a nice break from the long rainy weather we’ve been having. Did you enjoy it? Last week, I provided tips on saving energy during the hot months, but it’s also important to take note of the windows in your home.
Windows can be the most attractive part of your home, as they offer outside views and sunlight into your home. Windows are an important feature of your home, especially when it comes to being energy efficient. Energy efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills, letting you save more money and help the environment too!
Have you ever what makes a window energy efficient? Here are some of the features, courtesy of Energy Star, that improve your home’s energy efficiency:
- Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass has a unique coating to reduce heat and contains a tint that allows it to absorb as much as 45% of the incoming solar energy and reduces heat gain throughout the home.
- Reflective Glasses are coated with a reflective coating that helps control solar heat gain during the summer.
- Glass Layers and Air Spaces Standard are unlike single pane glass windows which have very little insulation and contribute to heat loss and gain. Double or triple pane windows have insulated air or gas-filled spaces between each pane that resist heat flow and transfer less heat, although they are costlier.
- Framing is also important when it comes to adding energy efficiency in your home. A variety of framing materials are available. Frames can be made of a single material or made with a combination of different materials such as wood, aluminum, clad, and vinyl. Each framing material has its advantages and disadvantages.
If your home isn’t energy efficient or if you’re looking to upgrade your windows to energy efficient ones, the easiest way is to look for the Energy Star logo on the windows. You can also look at the manufacturers’ label for U-value and R-value on the windows. The higher the R-value and the lower the U-value, the more efficient your windows will be in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
For more info, you can check the ratings of all Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights as rated by Natural Resources Canada, and to learn more about buying new energy efficient windows, please read the consumer’s guide.
Environment Canada has predicted a long hot summer coming this year, so keep yourself cool and make sure the cool air doesn’t leak out of your home. If you’re going to turn on the air conditioner, remember to close all your windows tightly!
Lastly, don’t forget to get outside and stay active this summer!