You don’t need to watch home improvement shows to know that energy efficiency already tops most people’s lists of ‘must-haves’ on new home purchases. Windows offer the biggest opportunity to improve the building envelope (i.e. the exterior walls, foundations, roof, windows and doors) leading to improved energy savings and improved comfort.
Comfort means different things to different people. In Canada, there are few debates more divisive than the appreciation for winter. It’s cold. It snows. You find out the hard way, thanks to high bills or a cold house, how energy efficient (or not!) your home truly is. The one thing we can all agree on, is that you want control over what is comfortable to you in your own home.
There are a few things you can do to manage the temperature in your home. Relying on your HVAC system as the sole method of maintaining the temperature can be costly.
Your thermostat should not be in control
When it comes to your home heating bill, the ability to control the heat level within your home is an important factor, but it is certainly not the only factor.
It’s getting humid in here!
Home heating and humidity go hand in hand. When the cold air outside gets into your home, and your furnace heats it, the air expands. While the moisture in the air remains the same, the humidity is reduced, by a lot! The dry indoor air will steal moisture from anywhere it can find it. That means it will draw moisture from your body, making you feel colder (and thus want to crank the heat even higher!). It will also cause a build-up of condensation on the cooler surface of your windows.
Windows don’t consume energy. They do, however, impact heat loss. Quality windows will not only reduce the pressure on the heating system (and your wallet!) but will also better maintain the level of humidity in the house, making everyone inside more comfortable.
We’re going to get a little bit technical but, when shopping for windows, it’s important to understand what matters. U-Values represent the rate of heat loss in a window. The lower the U-Value, the lower the amount of heat the window allows to pass through it.
What U-Values do not express is the amount of condensation that the windows accumulate and the impact of humidity in the home. So, while the U-Value tells you something about the efficiency of a window, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Low-E, or low-emissivity glass, a thin coating on the glass that “reflects” heat back inside where it belongs to keep indoor temperatures consistent. Low-E also limits the infrared and UV rays coming through the window, while not impacting the amount of light that comes in.
Low-E also helps with condensation resistance, a favorable key feature to consider when shopping for windows. Ensuring use of LOW-E glass option will help adding energy efficiency to your home by allowing for a layer of insulation from the outdoor weather elements.
In other words, you enjoy energy savings, lower energy bills, and improved comfort with a modest investment in Low-E glass.
Is more necessarily better? When it comes to number of panes, yes!
As a respected manufacturer of windows and doors in Canada, JELD-WEN ensures that we manufacture products that meet the performance requirements for all weather zones across our nation. Among all North American countries, Canada has the unique challenge of extreme heat to sub-arctic temperatures, depending on where you are and what the time of year is. That is why we suggest various glass options for windows, including double and
tri-pane glass windows, to meet the different demands of Canadian climates.
Double-Pane windows works fine for mild climate zones. Once you add a second pane of glass to a window, you immediately create a space in between the glass panes that exists to trap air, acting as a barrier between the outdoor temperature and the indoor temperature.
You guessed it. Triple-Pane (triple glazing) windows have three panes of glass. And when it comes to those cold Canadian winters, they are, by far, your best choice to maintain comfort in your home. By having three panes of glass, and thus two sections of airspace to trap air, tri-pane windows offer the flexibility to achieve much higher levels of insulation, which improves your home’s comfort level.
A third pane of glass adds about 6 lbs to the sash, the part of the window that holds the glass and the framework around the glass to keep it in place. This puts added pressure on the frame’s hardware, which must be optimized and able to take on the extra load. All JELD-WEN’s Northern Tri-Pane Collection® windows are designed to accommodate the weight requirements for proper insulation.
Add low-E coatings to both layers and you’ll enjoy far superior effectiveness for keeping a house at the optimal zone for humidity. Curious to know what this means in practical, financial terms? Visit KeepOutsideOut.com, and try the energy efficiency calculator, to better see what cost savings actually look like with Tri-Pane windows. These types of windows will become increasingly important for the long-term sustainability, efficiency, and comfort of your home.
The world is changing
Extreme weather events are not new, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity as we struggle to control the very real impacts of global warming.
It is estimated that the temperature on earth will increase between two and nine degrees Celsius by 2100. Predicted increases in flooding, wildfires, storms, and other natural disasters means building construction had to adapt, prompting a review and a rewrite of Canada’s building code.
In 2025, a more stringent building code will come into force. The new code will feature updates and upgrades that will ensure protection from the increasingly volatile elements.
What will that mean for windows? As efficiency is put to the forefront, we can expect windows and insulation to play a large role in fortifying buildings from outside temperatures. That means increased demand for both supply and quality. It also means an overall increase in the capital costs associated with building resilient and efficient buildings, as extra insulation and more expensive windows are most certainly going to be requirements going forward.
No matter where you live in this country, whether you’re in Whitehorse, St. John’s, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver or anywhere in between, you rely on your windows to control the seasonal temperature changes that characterize our wonderful nation. The greatest defense and the best opportunity to maintain a comfortable temperature within your home is your windows. Choosing the right windows today, will help to ensure lower energy bills and added comfort in your home for years to come.