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Low-E Glass Windows: Your Key to Energy Efficiency and Comfort

Low-E Glass Windows: Your Key to Energy Efficiency and Comfort

Updated: 05.29.2024

By Nina Tsoy

In today’s world, energy efficiency is a top priority for homeowners. One of the most effective ways to improve your home’s energy performance and reduce energy costs is by choosing the right windows. Low-E glass windows have emerged as a popular solution, offering a range of benefits that contribute to a more comfortable and sustainable living environment.

What Is Low-E Glass?

Low-E stands for low emissivity, referring to a microscopically thin coating applied to the surface of window glass. This coating, thinner than a strand of human hair, plays a significant role in managing heat transfer through the window. While allowing visible light to pass throu

Can I see the low-E coating on the glass?

Low-E coatings are typically transparent and barely noticeable to the naked eye. However, some coatings may have a slight tint, depending on the type and number of glass panes. You can discuss the aesthetic options with your window professional to choose a coating that meets both your performance and visual preferences.
gh, low-E glass reflects infrared light, which is responsible for carrying heat.

How Does Low-E Glass Work?

The low-E coating on the inner pane of a double-pane or triple-pane window acts as a selective barrier. It allows natural light to enter your home while reflecting heat back to its source. This means the following.

Low-E Glass Work

In the summer months, low-E glass reflects heat from the sun away from your house, reducing solar heat gain and keeping your interior cooler. This helps to lower cooling costs and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

In the winter, low-E glass reflects heat back into your house, preventing heat loss and keeping your interior warmer. This helps to reduce heating costs and improve energy efficiency.

Low-E Glass Types: Soft Coat vs Hard Coat

Understanding the difference between soft coat and hard coat low-E glass is crucial for making an informed decision about your windows. Both types offer energy efficiency benefits, but they achieve this in distinct ways and with varying performance levels. Let’s explore each type in more detail:

Soft Coat Low-E

This type of coating is applied to the glass surface after it has been manufactured, using a process known as sputtering. In a vacuum chamber, microscopic layers of silver and other metal oxides are deposited onto the glass surface. This creates a thin and transparent coating that excels at reflecting infrared light (heat) while allowing visible light to pass through. Soft coat low-E glass provides superior energy efficiency, making it ideal for regions with both hot and cold climates. However, it is more delicate than a hard coat and requires careful handling during window manufacturing and installation.

Hard Coat Low-E

This type of coating is applied while the glass is still in its molten state during the manufacturing process. Metal oxides are fused directly into the glass surface, creating a durable and scratch-resistant coating. While hard coat low-E glass offers good energy efficiency, it is slightly less effective at reflecting heat compared to soft coat. However, its durability makes it a suitable option for high-traffic areas or situations where the window may be exposed to more wear and tear.

Soft Coat Low-E vs Hard Coat Low-E

The choice between soft coat and hard coat low-E glass depends on several factors:

FeatureSoft Coat Low-EHard Coat Low-E
ApplicationApplied after glass manufacturing in a vacuum chamber.Applied while the glass is molten during manufacturing.
PerformanceSuperior energy efficiency; reflects more infrared light (heat) while allowing visible light.Good energy efficiency; slightly less effective at reflecting heat than a soft coat.
DurabilityMore delicate; and requires careful handling.More durable and scratch-resistant.
CostTypically more expensive due to the advanced manufacturing process.More budget-friendly.
Ideal ClimateColder climates where heat retention is a priority.Warmer climates or situations requiring increased durability.

Choosing the right type of low-E glass depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider factors such as climate, budget, and durability requirements to make an informed decision that enhances your home’s comfort and energy efficiency.

Don’t Know Which Type of Glass to Choose?

Let Apex Window Werks help you find the perfect low-E glass windows for your home! Contact us for a free consultation and start enjoying the benefits of energy efficiency and enhanced comfort!

Schedule a Consultation!

or call us (847)-443-5145

4 Benefits of Low-E Glass Windows

Low-E glass windows offer a range of benefits that contribute to a more comfortable, energy-efficient, and sustainable home:

#1. Significant Energy Savings

By effectively reducing heat transfer, low-E glass windows minimize the need for heating and cooling, leading to substantial savings on energy bills. This translates to a lower carbon footprint and a more environmentally friendly home.

#2. Enhanced Indoor Comfort

Low-E glass helps to eliminate drafts and cold spots near windows, creating a more consistent and comfortable indoor temperature year-round. You’ll enjoy a cozy living space in the winter and a refreshingly cool environment in the summer.

#3. Protection from UV Damage

The low-E coating acts as a barrier against harmful UV rays from the sun, preventing fading and damage to furniture, carpets, artwork, and other valuable belongings. This helps to preserve the beauty and longevity of your interior furnishings.

#4. Increased Home Value

Energy-efficient upgrades like low-E windows can significantly increase the value of your home. Potential buyers are often willing to pay a premium for homes with features that offer long-term cost savings and environmental benefits.

Choosing the Right Low-E Glass: 4 Factors to Consider

Choosing the right low-E glass windows involves considering several key factors to ensure optimal performance and satisfaction:

#1. Climate and Regional Needs

Different climates have varying demands when it comes to heat retention and solar heat gain. In colder regions, prioritizing insulation and heat retention is important, while in warmer climates, reducing solar heat gain takes precedence.

Consulting with window professionals familiar with your local climate can help you determine the most suitable low-E glass type and coating for your specific needs.

#2. Window Orientation

The direction your windows face plays a significant role in determining the amount of sunlight and heat they receive throughout the day.

  • South-facing windows receive the most direct sunlight while north-facing windows receive the least.
  • East- and west-facing windows experience varying degrees of sun exposure depending on the time of day.

Understanding your window orientation will guide you in selecting the appropriate low-E coating to optimize energy efficiency and comfort.

#3. Energy Performance Ratings

Energy Performance Ratings

Familiarize yourself with key energy performance ratings, such as U-value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).

  • The U-value measures the window’s insulation capability, with lower values indicating better insulation.
  • The SHGC measures the amount of solar heat transmitted through the window, with lower values indicating less heat gain.

Good Low-E glass will have an Energy Star label, indicating that it is energy efficient. Your window installer should also be able to tell you your window’s U-value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.

Both of these Low-E ratings should be low.

#4. Aesthetic Preferences

While most low-e coatings are virtually invisible, some may have a slight tint depending on the type of coating and the number of glass panes. Consider the desired aesthetic for your home and whether a slight tint would complement your design scheme. You can also discuss options with your window professional to find the best balance between performance and aesthetics.

By carefully considering these factors and consulting with a window expert, you can confidently select the perfect low-E glass windows to enhance your home’s comfort, energy efficiency, and value.

Invest in Your Home’s Comfort and Sustainability with Apex Window Werks!

While the initial cost of low-E glass windows may be higher than regular glass windows, the long-term benefits in terms of energy savings and improved comfort often outweigh the initial investment.

By choosing low-E glass windows, you are making a wise investment in your home’s energy efficiency, comfort, and value. Contact Apex Window Werks today for a free quote and discover how low-E glass windows can transform your living space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I see the low-E coating on the glass?

Low-E coatings are typically transparent and barely noticeable to the naked eye. However, some coatings may have a slight tint, depending on the type and number of glass panes. You can discuss the aesthetic options with your window professional to choose a coating that meets both your performance and visual preferences.

Are low-E glass windows more expensive than regular windows?

Low-E glass windows typically have a higher upfront cost compared to regular windows. However, the long-term energy savings and improved comfort often outweigh the initial investment, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Can low-E glass be used in all types of windows?

Yes, low-E coatings can be applied to various window styles, including double-hung windows, casement windows, sliding windows, and picture windows.
Nina Tsoy

Nina Tsoy

With over 15 years of experience in the window repair, replacement, and manufacturing business, Nina is in charge for strategic solutions and exceptional operational performance at Apex Window Werks. This allows her to offer innovative techniques and solutions to address any window-related problem, all while adhering to industry standards and best practices.

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