Although "windows" and "eco-friendly" may not sound like two concepts that go together easily because windows are so notorious for energy leakage and are manufactured with non-renewable resources, window efficiency has recently increased considerably. Recent advances in technology and manufacturing practices have made it possible to have windows that actually help you use less energy and live a greener lifestyle. Here are three ways you can convert your windows into a more efficient, greener part of your home.
1. Add a coating or tinting
Tinting is a great window solution that can help your windows repel harmful UV rays, making your home a safer place for both you and your belongings. However, it can also help reduce energy waste by limiting the amount of sunlight that comes through each window, reducing the greenhouse-like action of the glass. This limitation saves energy by lightening the load on your AC unit, which then uses less electricity and consequently less fossil fuel because it doesn't have to run as often. Lightening the load on your AC unit can even keep it from being overworked into an early landfill grave.
Just as tinting helps save energy in summer, weatherizing helps save energy in winter. But you may not have known that weatherizing can actually save energy in the summer as well; the less air exchange there is between the inside of your window and the outside, the more energy you save whether you're trying to keep your house colder or warmer than the outside air. Use weatherstripping and caulking to seal any cracks, gaps, or drafts that may allow outside air in around your windows. You can also insulate the glass itself by using bubble wrap.
3. Use triple panes
Double-paned windows are practically the standard now, and they're great because the inert gas between the panes helps prevent thermal transfer of heat from one side of the window to the other. But triple-paned windows have two voids filled with inert gas rather than just one, drastically increasing the energy-saving effect of that feature. Of course, you don't want to run out and buy all-new windows just to save a bit of energy this winter, but keep it in mind next time you need a window replacement (or next time you give your house a green makeover) and consider having triple-paned windows installed then.
These three tips will help you make the most of your choices for insulating and optimizing your windows so the glass will transfer less energy from inside the house to outside (or vice versa) and help your house stay as warm or cool as you need it to be.
For more information and options, talk with a residential glass or window company, like Central Glass Company.