When you and your custom home builder are putting the specs together for your green home, energy-efficient windows could have a big effect on how much energy is needed to heat and cool your house. The materials used for the window frames can make a difference, and so can the glass used in the window panes. As a trusted “green” DFW home builder with years’ of experience under our belt, we’ve got the inside scoop on energy-efficient windows and how you can best put them to use to lower your energy bills. Below are just a few tips that can point you in the right direction when selecting the perfect energy-efficient windows for your new custom home.
Metal and aluminum frames don’t insulate well, so they’re not a good option for windows if used alone. Vinyl coating the metal frames, or putting a plastic barrier on both sides of the metal can enhance their performance. These windows are very low maintenance and don’t need painting.
Many of the most efficient window frames are fiberglass or vinyl frames filled with insulation. However, vinyl frames can melt at high temperatures and may crack at lower temperatures, so check the manufacturer’s warranties.
Wooden window frames are traditional, and have good natural insulating value; however, they are vulnerable to moisture problems if they’re not kept sealed with paint or varnish. Modern composite or laminated wood frames are treated to stand up to moisture, so they are lower maintenance than solid wood frames.
Dual pane or triple pane windows can lower both heating and air conditioning bills, too. The thermal layer created in between the two or three panes of glass prevent the outdoor air from getting in and the inside air from seeping out.
Some windows have colorless inert gasses sealed in between the panes. Argon and krypton gas are used for this purpose as they have greater resistance to heat than ordinary air. Therefore, these types of windows have a higher insulation rating.
Low-E coating, short for ‘low-emissivity’, is effective in reducing energy loss through double or triple pane windows by as much as 50% based on the U.S. government’s Energy Savers website. For homes in locations having either excessive high or low temperatures, this could amount to substantial savings on electric bills.
The Low-E coatings are often applied during the manufacturing process, and this can add 10% – 15% to the cost of windows, but they will recuperate more than this in energy savings over their lifespan. For homes in very hot areas with windows facing South or West, these windows can help to save their homeowners a lot more by reducing the need to replace carpeting, draperies or upholstered furniture that has been faded by the sun. There are also Low-E films which can be placed on existing windows. They are much more affordable than replacing an entire window, and will last about 10 to 15 years, so they’re a smart investment for anyone on a budget.
Contact Bud Bartley Custom Homes, your local DFW home builder, for more helpful information on the cost and energy-saving benefits of building custom green homes.
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