Double-glazed, triple-glazed, filled with inert gas (argon or krypton), applied Low-E film… there are plenty of options available to ensure energy performance, comfort, sound-proofing and ultimately, your satisfaction. There are also plenty of options available to help beautify a window: tinted glass, frosted glass, grids, and integrated blinds, etc.
Read the following tips and information on glazing and the many options available:
Compared to double-glazed, a triple-glazed window is heavier, more expensive, and costs more to transport and install. But, it provides superior results at every level: better thermal performance, a higher temperature between glazing for optimal comfort, reduced condensation and improved sound-proofing.
However, a study published by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory revealed that it can take anywhere between 23 and 55 years of energy savings to recoup the extra cost of installing triple-glazed windows. Consult the study (PDF version). Since double glazing offers nearly the same advantages, it is a very popular product, with good reason.
Triple glazing is recommended when the budget allows it or when the weather conditions require it (e.g. north-facing window subject to extreme cold, northern climate zone in Canada, proximity to airport, etc.).
Install double-glazed windows on all windows except those that are north-facing. This is an excellent compromise that will ensure optimal comfort without breaking your budget!
The gap between the glazing can be filled with inert gas, like argon or krypton. Since the gas will take up all, or nearly all, the space, it will prevent the movement of air. Moreover, since these gases are less conductive than air, they will improve thermal insulation and reduce condensation.
This low-emission, invisible, metallic film is applied to the glass. In winter, it reduces heat loss by keeping the light that is reflected off walls and household objects indoors. In summer, it does the opposite; it keeps the light that is reflected by outdoor objects (walls, asphalt, cars, etc.) outside, thereby preventing this heat from entering the home. However, this film can reduce luminosity, especially when it is applied to each pane of a triple-glazed window.
Tinted glass increases intimacy without obstructing the view. Basically, it doesn’t affect visibility from inside the home, but greatly reduces visibility into the home. It’s important to note that this type of glass significantly reduces the thermal gains of a window, which affects its energy performance.
Frosted glass is glass whose surface has been sandblasted or etched with acid to give it a satin look. Even though it remains translucent, it can completely block visibility.
Blinds can be installed in the sealed gap between the panes of a double-glazed window, keeping them entirely dust-free. They can be operated manually or mechanically (internal or external motor). However, they do create a thermal bridge that facilitates hot/cold air transfers and reduces energy efficiency. Once installed, they must be handled with care because they are not easy to get to for repairs.
The advantage of grids is purely esthetic, because they reduce visibility as well as affect the energy efficiency of the window. Think about it!
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