Glass, Glazing and Gas: 3 Factors of Energy Efficient Windows

Advanced window technology can minimize heating and cooling costs.

For anyone interested in one of the best unions of all time, it's important to look at the marriage of gas and glass in window and door units.

Why is such a marriage of importance to the average homeowner? Because it can either save you — or cost you — hundreds of dollars each year on heating and cooling bills. The union of gas and glass firmly stands together to block harmful ultraviolet sunrays and heat transfer, major causes of high energy costs, faded flooring and condensation buildup.

Homeowners selecting windows and doors for new homes or as replacement units need to fully understand the construction of fenestration products and their potential cost-saving benefits. That's the advice of Bill Lazor, senior product manager at Simonton Windows.

"In this age of advanced technology, it's unthinkable and unwise for anyone to have just plain glass in their windows or doors," says Bill. "[Plain] glass offers no protection at all from ultraviolet rays coming into the home that can cause fading of carpets and furnishings. Plus your heater and air conditioner work harder to keep the home comfortable when only plain glass is used in windows."

According to Bill, the ideal selection for homeowners is to specify an IGU (insulated glass unit) made of at least two pieces of annealed glass sandwiched together with a thermal spacer and then filled with either an argon or krypton gas. Denser than air, these odorless, nontoxic gases act as invisible barriers to prevent damaging UV rays and extreme temperatures from entering the home. Similarly, the IGU helps prevent the comfortable, climate-controlled air in the home from escaping to the outdoors.

"If you want to have a highly energy-efficient home, consider glazing and gas options when thinking about your windows," Bill says. "Low E glass is a 'must' if you want to maximize the energy efficiency of your windows. Tinted and clear glazings (or coatings) help prevent the transference of heat, cold and sunlight into the home. That's one reason why Low-E coatings are so popular. A gas-filled insulating unit, where the invisible gas is hermetically sealed in the window unit using spacer systems, is an excellent barrier." And the more barriers that separate the inside of your house from the exterior, he adds, the stronger the protection from heat gain or loss.

Concerned about the idea of having gases in your windows? Don't be. The two most popular gas fillers for windows, argon and krypton, already are present in the air we breathe. Furthermore, the units are carefully sealed so the gas won't leak out. Furthermore, the gases help reduce heat transfer between the glazing layers, cutting the chance for condensation on the interior and exterior of your windows.

"Homeowners need to fully understand the construction and options involved with windows before making a major purchase," says Bill. He encourages contractors and homeowners to visit the websites, and to determine what will work best for in their areas.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Choosing Energy Efficient Windows for Your Home

Consider these four factors that can affect a window's performance.

Energy Efficient Window FAQs

Get to know these key terms before buying windows, doors and skylights.

How to Read a Window Energy Efficiency Label

Do the homework when it comes to all those codes and numbers on window energy-efficiency labels.

Maximum Value Energy Efficiency Projects: Windows and Doors

Just by replacing your windows and doors with more efficient models, you can save energy, improve comfort, minimize condensation, increase natural light, reduce fading and lower HVAC costs.

Tips for Choosing Efficient Windows

Learn more about choosing energy efficient windows for your home.

Retrofitting an Existing Roof for Energy Efficiency

The lid of Jeff Wilson's Cape Cod was leaking big time. A new roof bolstered with insulation more than doubles its energy efficiency.

Maximum Value Energy Efficiency Projects: Solar

With energy costs soaring and an increase in environmental concerns, homeowners are now looking to solar power to benefit the planet and their wallet.

Pro Building Tips: Flexible Window Flashing Cuts Moisture Penetration

If window flashing isn't installed correctly, water can leak behind the window and get into walls. New flexible window flashing products now on the market significantly reduce the potential for moisture penetration around windows.

Maximum Value Energy Efficiency Projects: Appliances

Make cooking, cleaning and entertaining in your home easier and more functional with energy efficiency appliances.

Maximum Value Energy Efficiency Projects: Water Heater

Water heaters that are more than 10 years old are doing your home more harm than good.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.