As a Floridian, you know how hot your home can get in the middle of summer. Even with air conditioning, light that passes through the windows can make your rooms feel much warmer. Sun exposure can also cause detrimental and irreversible damage to your furniture— something no one wants.
Fortunately, we may have your solution: low-e glass.
Low-emissive (low-e) glass is a window that’s been treated with an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating, creating a surface that reflects heat while still allowing light to pass through. These specialized coatings were developed to minimize the amount of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light that can pass through the glass.
Let’s take a look at some of the perks of choosing low-e glass when upgrading your storm protection:
1. Low-e windows can greatly improve energy-efficiency.
Windows can be responsible for up to 25-30% of a home's heat gain and loss in residential heating and cooling energy usage, according to Energy.gov. Although we don't deal with the heating issue in Southwest Florida, we do have an even bigger problem: keeping cool air in and preventing over-excessive heat from entering our homes.
If you have a sliding glass door or a high number of windows, chances are your home feels warm during the summer, even when using the air conditioning. That’s where low-emissivity glass can help. Low-e glass improves energy-efficiency by letting in visible light and brightness, all while reflecting heat-producing ultraviolet and infrared rays away from your home.
In addition to preventing most of the harsh sun rays from penetrating inside and increasing your interior temperature, low-e windows help to control the temperature inside. The double-paned glass combined with the stronger seals and framing of impact windows help to control the climate of your home, without costly air leakage.
Interested in learning more about what components make up an energy-efficient window? Check out our post on how to choose the most energy-efficient hurricane windows here.
2. Low-emissivity windows are often the better choice over glass tinting for cooling savings.
It is a common myth that a less expensive roll of tinted film will help make your interior environment cooler by reducing the glaring light. While tinted glass does indeed reduce glare in a room and can certainly make it darker, window tints will not contribute to a cooler interior since it does not reflect back heat-producing infrared and UV rays.
Not only does the lower cost of tinted film attract many homeowners, but it’s also often viewed as the easier solution, as a tint can be applied to their current window setup rather than having to replace the glass (a requirement when installing low-e windows).
But although tinting your windows can seem like the more simplified solution, it’s not always the best option for homeowners who care about their electric bill. Plus, installing a tinted coating can void the warranty of your storm windows, so oftentimes you’re better off choosing low-e over tints.
3. Low-e glass is also a great alternative to sometimes tedious hurricane shutters.
While hurricane shutters can be opened and closed to allow light into your home when not engaged, it’s just another step pre and post-storm to set up and re-open them. Typically, when a homeowner decides to purchase hurricane impact windows over hurricane shutters, it is because they want their home to look more inviting year-round, without the hassle of tinkering with shutters.
Unlike storm shutters, low-e windows give your rooms that natural light feeling, allowing as much visible light as possible to pass into your home— all the time. Increasing this visible light also increases the clarity and natural appearance, giving you the feeling of being outdoors, every single day.
4. Low-e glass reduces UV damage to your belongings.
When the sun comes into your home, it can cause damage to your household items, such as fabrics, photos, and carpeting. Think of how much your furniture is worth or how much your family photos mean to you. Can you afford to have these items damaged from exposure to harsh sunlight?
As Floridians, we know that the sun can be powerful, and many of us have experienced its damaging effects. By blocking UV radiation, low-e glass windows help to protect fabrics, leather, carpeting, artwork, and finishes from the fading effects of sunlight.
5. Low-emissivity windows dramatically reduce glare.
How often have you been watching TV in your living room or bedroom only to notice that there's a glare on the TV? Chances are, it's happened on several occasions. Low-e glass windows work to reduce sunlight glare in a room by deflecting infrared and UVs from entering your home. That also means less glare on your beautifully hung pictures and artwork, or on your computer or phone screens while using your devices.
6. Low-e glass doesn’t retain as much condensation.
During the summer, condensation can build up on glass windows as hot air comes in contact with cold window glass. Although this may not seem like a big deal, excess water can lead to larger problems down the road. Low-e glass minimizes or eliminates the unwanted condensation from windows so that you don’t have to worry about moisture causing mold or mildew build-up or water intrusion from your hurricane windows.
7. Low-e glass is a relatively cost-effective option.
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase hurricane impact windows, it’s a small upgrade to ensure they include low-e protection as well. While it’s true that low-e glass typically costs about 15% more than ordinary glass, they reduce energy use by as much as 30-50%, especially during hot summer months.
The initial investment will pay for itself in no time by lowering your electric bills, keeping your air conditioning from working so hard and substantially reducing your risk of hurricane damage.
Estimating the Cost of Low-E Windows
It’s clear that low-e windows are worth the investment for Florida homeowners.
Ready to see if low-emissivity glass is within your budget? Use our free Impact Window Pricing Calculator to get an estimate for how much it would cost to upgrade your windows with low-e, today.
Rather schedule an in-person assessment and get a quote, directly? Call at (239) 288-0894 to request one.