An energy efficient home is a comfortable home, as it is one that is easier to heat or cool. Making sure your home is energy efficient will not only improve comfort, but will also save money on utilities. Insulation, location, and the materials used in home construction will all help to increase energy efficiency. The glass you use in your home is also critical when it comes to energy efficiency. If you’re deciding between single glazed and double glazed windows, it’s important to know the differences, and which option is better for your home.
Single Glazed vs Double Glazed: The Difference
A single glazed window is constructed using a single pane of glass. This means that the only thing separating your home from the outside environment, is that pane of glass. Typical window glass ranges from 3mm to 10mm, which doesn’t provide adequate insulation. A single glazed window can be up to 20 times less efficient than an insulated wall when it comes to energy loss or storage.
Double glazed windows utilize two separate pieces of glass, separated by a vacuum. The vacuum layer acts as an insulative barrier. The glass used can be laminated or UV tinted, but is otherwise similar to the glass used in single glazed windows. When double glazing is retrofitted to an existing window installation, the thermal efficiency can be improved by up to 80%. Factory made double glazed windows can be up to 100% more efficient than a single glazed equivalent.
What Benefits Does Double Glazing Provide?
The most obvious benefit to be gained from double glazed windows, is the increase in thermal efficiency. This means that it will be easier to maintain the temperature inside your home. This is especially beneficial to families with air conditioners, or central climate control systems.
An example would be a home that is using a split type air conditioner/heat pump to warm a living room during winter. Without double glazing, the warmth inside is easily lost. This means that the indoor unit is forced to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room.
With double glazing, heat loss can be reduced by half in optimal conditions. When combined with insulated curtains covering the windows, the heat loss becomes even less.
Are there Disadvantages to Double Glazing?
Because double glazing is more efficient than single glazing, the heat that enters the home during summer months is more easily stored. This means that certain steps should be taken to mitigate the problem during summer when sunshine hours are longer.
- Living areas should be protected by shading. This can be achieved through awnings that block direct sunlight during daylight.
- UV protective coating is another option when awnings or other shade barriers are impractical. Window films, such as those developed by 3M, can block up to 99% of UV radiation. This translates to savings in cooling costs of up to 30%. These films can be retrofitted to existing widows, or installed along with the double glazed windows.
The Bottom Line
Even though the initial cost of double glazed windows is higher than single glazed alternatives, double glazed windows will pay for themselves with reduced energy costs, over time. This makes them the best choice for new homes and renovations.