Energy Savings Simplified: How the Right Glass Can Keep Your Wallet Happy

calculating energy savings for home

Energy costs are high and only seem to be getting higher. To solve this problem, many people close the curtains to keep out the heat and then are left sitting in the dark. Fortunately, modern windows have energy-efficient glass, which means you can have natural sunlight and affordable energy bills.


Heat Transfer Through Windows


Heat enters the house through the walls, doors, roof, floor and windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling use.” The same Department of Energy also recommends either upgrading older windows or replacing them with new ones that have the ENERGY STAR label.


Heat is transferred through windows in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation.


  • Conduction – molecules in the outside air heat up the glass
  • Convection – when air molecules get hot, they speed up and spread out moving cold air down and warm air up, leaving the room cold in the winter and the upstairs excessively hot in the summer
  • Radiation – sun rays go through the window and directly heat the room



How to Deal with Heat Transfer Through Windows


What can reduce the heat transfer? Windows with more than one pane and low-e (low emissivity) glass. This type of glass is specially made to either absorb ultraviolet rays and heat coming from infrared light or reflect the UV rays back into the atmosphere.


Why the Right Glass Is So Important


When standing near a window, the only thing between you and the outdoors is glass. Older, traditional windows are single-paned and not very energy-efficient. As a result, air seeps through, and the room stays hot, sometimes unbearably hot, during the summer, and cold during the winter. Usually, you try to fix this by lowering the temperature on the thermostat or cranking up the heat. That costs money.


A better option is to install energy-efficient windows and/or window treatments. Examples are:


  • Insulated windows
  • Low emissivity glass
  • Film tinting on the windows
  • Sunscreens



Each of these options reduces the amount of heat that enters your space which, in turn, increases your overall comfort and reduces your energy bills throughout the year. The upfront cost pays off in the end.


Keep the Right Dimensions in Mind


While glass can be effective or ineffective at reducing heat transfer through the windows and doors, depending on how it’s made, it can also allow air to seep through if it’s not fitted properly. Custom home glass can be installed to ensure a tight fit into the window frame so that air does not seep through, and your home stays cool in summer and warm in the winter.


The Beauty of Natural Light


What is the first thing you notice when you walk into a house for the first time? If you’re like a lot of people, it’s lighting. More specifically, you notice how well a room is lit up. Nothing lights up a room better than natural light from the sun. To get this gorgeous glow from the sun, you need to highlight the windows. This means you need the curtains drawn back so that the natural light can flow through the window into the room.


How Energy-Efficient Windows & Window Treatments Save You Money


Unfortunately, for many, the problem with sunlight is that even though natural light may be beautiful, it can heat a room and, therefore, increase the need for air conditioning. This, of course, leads to higher energy bills. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Energy-efficient windows reduce heat transfer while energy-efficient window treatments absorb or reflect the sun’s rays before they can enter the house.


This means you can allow natural light to flow through your home while still saving money on energy bills.


Benefits of energy-efficient windows and window treatments include:


  • More consistent room temperature
  • More efficient air conditioning
  • Increased protection from UV rays
  • Lower energy bills
  • Peace and quiet



Energy-efficient windows insulate better than older windows, reduce noise from outside, and make the HVAC system more effective because less heat enters or escapes from the house.


Old vs. New Windows


Modern technology allows for insulated double and triple-pane windows with Low-E glass that dramatically reduces the amount of heat coming through the windows. Less heat means less air conditioning because the room doesn’t get as hot. The same can’t be said for older windows.


Windows usually last for about 20 years. This means older homes oftentimes have old windows that are less effective at reducing heat transfer. That heat quickly builds up during the summer making the house incredibly uncomfortable.


While you can use caulk, weather strips, and film to reduce the heat transfer of older windows, it might be best to upgrade to new energy-efficient windows. The up-front cost will pay off in the form of lower energy bills later on.


How Do Energy-Efficient Windows Work?


Energy-efficient windows are insulated with two or three panes that have air or gas in between. The gas is usually argon or krypton, both of which are effective because they are poor conductors of heat. This gas-filled space acts as insulation that prevents heat from passing through.


Aside from double or triple panes with insulating gas in between them, energy-efficient windows have specially coated glass. This is glass that is covered with a low emissivity coating that reduces the amount of radiation coming through the window, including both infrared light and UV rays. This type of glass is more expensive, but it filters out a considerable amount of the sun’s rays and reduces energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%.


Protection Against UV Rays


Low emissivity glass offers more than reduced heat transfer through the window. It can protect you and your home’s interior from the sun. Unlike standard glass, Low–E glass offers moderate protection against UV rays and significantly reduces the amount of solar heat gained through the window. This reduces the amount of heat that builds up in the house and protects your skin and furniture from some of the damage caused by UV rays.


What to Look for In Energy-Efficient Windows


Look for the ENERGY STAR label and then check the U-factor and the SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient). The U-factor is the ability of the window to insulate against non-solar heat. It’s better to have a low rating, such as 0.20 – 0.40, for the best insulation. SHGC protects against the sun’s rays. It’s best to have the highest rating you can afford if you live in a warm climate.


Other Benefits of Energy-Efficient Windows


Aside from reducing the need for air conditioning, energy-efficient windows add soundproofing you don’t have with older, standard windows. Not only does this mean more peaceful quiet for you to enjoy, but you won’t need to turn on a fan or white noise machine to drown out whatever it is your neighbors are doing. This is another way energy-efficient windows will save you money on energy bills. Plus, you’ll get better sleep at night and maybe even start that meditation practice you know you’ve been wanting to do.


Window Treatment Options


Aside from double and triple-paned glass with low emissivity coating, you might want to consider window tinting and/or sunscreens to cool off your home without lowering the air conditioning settings. Both dramatically reduce the amount of sunlight and, therefore, heat that enters your home.


Film Tinting


Window tinting, or film tinting, for your home or business, will prevent up to 99% of UV rays from coming through the window. UV rays can damage the floors, furniture and even your skin. You have options with the kind of film you choose.


Whether you choose clear or darker film, your view through the window won’t be obstructed, but the temperature around the window will be cooler and more consistent. However, darker film will prevent more heat from entering the room than clear film. In fact, darker film is nearly twice as effective:


  • Clear film reduces heat entering the room by up to 47%
  • Darker film reduces heat by up to 85%



It is also possible to have privacy film installed in areas where privacy is necessary.




Sunscreens can be installed in different colors and textures to absorb or reflect sun rays. Overall, they prevent around 80% to 90% of the heat that would otherwise penetrate the windows from entering your home. This leads to a cooler space and less need for the AC. Some utility companies offer a rebate if you opt to install sunscreens to reduce your energy bill. Check with the utility company in your local area to see if this is an option.


Custom Home Glass


Our technicians understand that there’s no use having energy-efficient windows if something doesn’t fit right. Whatever windows or window treatments you choose, it is vitally important that they’re properly installed.


This makes it incredibly important that the glass fits perfectly, no matter the shape or size of the window. For this reason, we’re experts at custom glass cutting. You can trust that we have the tools and experience to tailor the glass to your exact measurements. You will have windows that look beautiful and prevent air from seeping through.


The Right Glass is the Key to Comfort and Savings


No matter how beautiful your home’s décor, nothing adds to it like natural light. This is why it is so important to have the right windows installed in your home. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows and window treatments adds beauty to your home without sacrificing indoor comfort and an outside view. Furthermore, you can stand next to the window and enjoy the view while feeling comfortably cool and confident that you and your interiors are protected from UV rays.


Call Us for Your Home and Commercial Glass Needs

Since 1998, we have been offering both residential and commercial services. You can rely on our trusted technicians to handle a multitude of services including:

  • Window glass replacement and repair
  • New window installations
  • Patio doors
  • Shower doors
  • Commercial partition walls
  • Storefront glass replacement
  • Glass tabletops
  • Custom mirrors
  • And more!


Reliable Glass is a local, Arizona family-owned and operated business that has been satisfying customers since 1998. We offer much more than repairs and replacement. We pride ourselves on being able to custom-build energy-efficient and money-saving installations to fit your needs. Our goal is to help you stay comfortable and content throughout the year.


Reliable Glass is Arizona’s number one choice for home and commercial glass for a reason. Call us today. You won’t be disappointed!

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