Energy Efficient Impact Windows and Doors
Protecting your home and your wallet
Impact windows and doors offer much more than an attractive and convenient alternative to hurricane shutters; impact windows and doors also help improve a home’s energy efficiency. Homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency should take frame materials, tint, and insulation options into consideration when choosing impact windows and impact doors for their home.
Starting with the frame, homeowners have two basic options to insulate their home and reduce heat/cold transfer, vinyl or fiberglass. While some manufacturers offer thermally broken aluminum frames, the thermally broken aluminum frames tend to be more expensive and not as readily available.
Vinyl frame options are available for windows, sliding glass doors, and French doors, however, this option is not available for entry doors. For entry doors, homeowners can choose fiberglass as an energy efficient option. Both vinyl and fiberglass are very strong and have been tested and proven to withstand hurricane force winds. Both materials are naturally poor conductors of heat and are slow to transfer heat and cold, making them energy efficient.
The actual glass used within the window and door frames comes with many readily available energy efficient options starting with tint. Tint comes in a variety of colors and is one of the most common ways to help reduce heat penetration. Tint works by absorbing incoming solar radiation, reducing the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), visible transmittance (VT), and glare; however, most tints are not spectrally selective and some heat will continue to pass through tinted glass. To combat this, homeowners may opt to add a LoE (low-emissivity) coating. LoE coating is a microscopic layer of metal/metallic oxide that lowers the U-factor of the glass – in layman terms, LoE reflects heat waves, and reduces energy loss by as much as 30%-50%.
For further energy efficiency homeowners can install insulated impact windows. Insulated impact windows consist of two panes of glass with a gas-filled space sandwiched in between. To insulate the window, the glass panes are spaced apart and hermetically sealed, leaving an insulating air space. Insulated window glazing primarily lowers the U-factor, but it also lowers the SHGC.