The technology behind creating thermally insulating windows

The technology behind creating thermally insulating windows

Keeping the warmth in our homes is really important from various aspects.  In Blackpool and along the Fylde coast and as far in as Preston, sea breezes will blow and attempt to reduce the heat you have expensively put into your home.  So we have the plan to install new double glazing as our old windows are damaged or worn or just plain old.  The frame is important but then we need to consider the glazing unit, double glazing or triple glazing, and then what about the glass that we use in the units themselves?


Thermally insulating glass (also known as low-emissivity or low-E glass) usually forms the inner pane of an Insulating Glass Unit (IGU). The glass has a transparent metallic coating that reflects heat from radiators or fires back into the room, rather than allowing it to escape through the windows. At the same time it controls solar gain and maximises natural light.


In easier terms, using thermally insulating double glazing is the best way to improve the energy efficiency of your windows and make the insides more comfortable.


This thermally insulating glass can also be combined with many other products such as low-maintenance, solar control, noise reduction, decorative glass and enhanced safety and security.


So from a comfort aspect this type of technology can, basically, keep heat in and the cold out while at the same time give the inside of the room a lot of natural light which will be softened a little.  The heat gain will be reduced by the solar protection it gives but on the other hand it also reduces the cold wall effect.  This is basically where you have a difference in temperature between the outside and the inside and the outside cold sucks the heat from the inside panes.

In reducing this effect there are also energy savings to be had as you are not then trying to maintain the temperature in the room by increasing the heating.


As our climate changes it is becoming increasingly important to think about our solar exposure.  The windows in our homes let light in, as well as the solar radiation.  With the use of technology we can reduce our solar exposure by making efficient use of these technologies.  So if we have windows which are facing away from the path of the sun we can make use of double glazing panes that have a low solar exposure, basically those windows looking north or east.

If, on the other hand, we are looking south or west then the solar exposure is going to be increased so we may want a higher solar protection, especially for larger double glazing units which may be installed in picture windows, conservatories, or large patio doors.


One thing that is good about thermally insulating windows is that we have a free heat gain.  This is where solar energy heats up your room, which in turn helps you by allowing reductions in energy use by preventing heat loss by between 50% and 80%.  If you have energy efficiency and good insulating properties then the room will have a positive feeling for living in as you can allow more natural light into the room.  You do not have to keep the curtains closed to keep the heat in or the glare from the sun out.


There are other options for thermal insulation.  Triple glazing for example is another option if you are looking at making the most of your heat gain and thermal efficiency.  The standard double glazing unit has two panes of glass with a gap between, which may or may not be filled with a gas.  A triple glazed unit, as the name suggests, has three layers of glass with gas between.  This provides a good amount of protection from the outside world in terms of heat, noise and security.  


But we can go further with the glass that is used too.  As mentioned earlier we have low-emissivity or low-E glass, normally placed as the inner pane of glass in the unit, it has a reflective surface which causes heat energy to bounce back into the room.  Low-E glass also helps with UV protection as it dramatically cuts down or stops the longer wavelengths of the sun, this means that the amount of UV light is dramatically reduced and textiles within are less likely to fade.


There are advances in glass technology coming along all the time so we may have only scratched the surface here a little.  For example, who would have thought that coating a surface with silver would help with heat loss?  Or putting a gas between the panes rather than just having an air gap would increase the double glazing unit efficiency further, OK these things may  increases the initial cost of the glazing unit but the longer term gains are likely to be worth it.  If all you are after is the cheap option but need an insulating warmth then you can opt for bubble wrap.  If you opt for the larger bubble type of wrap and apply it to the window with the bubble facing the glass then you will have some gain in thermal efficiency and with an ability to still see out.  The smaller bubble type, applied the same way, would be OK but provide less viewing.  Though the wrap would need to be replaced every few years otherwise it is likely to stick to the glass.

If you’re interested in replacing a window for your home, take a look at our New Door packages. Alternatively, just take a look at our other services for more!

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