Windows provide light, solar heat gains, ventilation and views, but that may come at a high price: windows are a common cause of heat loss, overheating, glare and air leakage.
Windows are responsible for high air conditioning costs in hot climates; and for huge energy loss and energy costs in cold climates.
To prevent it, choose the right type of windows, taking into consideration your climate.
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In new construction consider high energy-efficient windows, but also their size, according to the side of the house (N-S-E-W) and your climate.
Windows are not all equal. Having triple or double-pane windows, with gas between the panes and low e-coatings, doesn't necessarily guarantee much of anything.
You have to take into consideration your climate and the energy coefficients of the windows. And you may have to improve the insulation of your walls, attic and floors.
Energy efficient windows in poorly insulated and sealed homes will not reduce significantly your energy bills, or enhance your comfort.
Prefer high-performace windows, but do not forget the basics about overall insulation and airtightness. There are issues about the type of glass, frame, edge spacers, or type of opening that should be properly addressed.
Typically, Energy Star windows worth the price, but there are better standards.
Fiberglass and vinyl windows are two excellent alternatives to wood or to aluminum windows..
In very general terms, windows with foam-filled fiberglass frames perform better, with foam-filled vinyl windows coming second, followed by wood-frame windows.
Windows must be shaded during the summer, using overhangs, vegetation, devices; and they should be protected from the cold winds through landscaping or by other means.
It's part of passive solar design, in cold climates: properly sized windows on the sunny side of the house, working in conjunction with dark high-mass floors or interior walls to capture and to store solar heat, during the cold weather period of the year.
Clerestory windows are often part of these strategies.
Unfortunately, these strategies are not easy to implement. Their effectiveness depends a lot on design and climate issues.
Spectrally-selective window films can be a very effective and low-priced choice to reduce cooling bills, in homes with poor quality windows.
If you're looking for the best window option for ventilation and to block air leakage, than casement windows is probably the best choice.
Breezes can be found almost everywhere, even if for short periods of time; and windows can bring them into our homes for free, in hot climates.
Many homeowners often feel disappointed with new windows.
Storm windows can be very effective in cold climates, in homes with low-energy efficient windows. Exterior storm windows can reduce energy loss through windows up to 50%, if equipped with low-E glass.
According to the National Association of Home Builders new windows cost about $6.000 on average, that is, about 3,3% of the overall cost of the house.
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