You have probably heard plenty about double-pane windows and how they can reduce drafts and energy loss in your home. While double-pane windows are definitely an improvement over the outdated single-pane, a builder who prefers superior quality materials is sure to offer triple-pane windows as an option.
It may sound like nothing more than hype, but triple-pane windows actually represent a big advancement in energy efficient technology. There's no doubt that Canadian winters can be harsh and you want a home that protects you from the elements without massive energy costs. Here's how triple glazed windows can improve the comfort level in your home.
What's the Deal with Triple Panes?
Single-pane windows are just like they sound: a window with a single pane of glass. Double-pane windows have two panes of glass that are separated with a gas layer that reduces sound transmission while improving insulation. Triple-pane windows take this concept to a new level with three sheets of glass and greater gas fill.
The good news is that triple-pane windows are a standard feature in all Augusta homes and come with many advantages.
More Low-E Insulation
All windows in Canada have an Energy Rating (ER), which is a measure of the window's overall performance based on its air leakage heat loss, heat loss through the glass and frame, and solar heat gains. Each region in Canada has a specific Energy Star requirement for windows to be considered energy efficient for the climate. Windows in most parts of Canada are optimized to reduce heat loss during the cold months. Zone 1 is the warmest, while zone 3 is the coldest.
Calgary, for example, falls under Energy Star's zone 2. All Zone 2 Energy Star windows are required to have an ER rating of at least 29 and a U factor of 1.40 (0.25).
A UV blocking agent works as an invisible coating of insulation on window panes to block heat loss while allowing sunlight into the home. These UV coatings also blocks harmful UV rays that can damage and fade interior, paint, furniture and flooring. Because triple-pane windows have an additional pane of glass, you have the option of adding an additional layer of Low-E, Sun Stop or Solar Shield. An extra coat of UV blocking on a triple-pane window can boost the ER rating from 34 to 38. A triple pane window with two UV shield coatings versus a double-pane window with a single coat will have a 35% increased ER rating.
While you may feel you have adequate soundproofing with double-pan windows, you'll be surprised at the difference when you are in a home with triple-pane. Having an extra pane of glass works to naturally dampen outdoor noise. Triple-pane windows also feature a soft foam spacer between glazers to improve the energy efficiency of the window while reducing outdoor noise.
In cold climates, triple glazed windows can save up to 3% on heating costs compared to double pane windows.
While it will take a few years to recover the higher cost of triple pane windows, the savings does add up. For example:
Your energy bill per month: $1,000
Number of windows in your home: 20
Energy loss per window: 20%
= $11 per year, per window in wasted energy
It adds up quickly!
Eliminate Drafts and Cold Spots
Some benefits of triple-pane windows are easy to quantify, such as the higher Energy Rating and energy costs. Other advantages may be even more valuable.
If your home develops cold spots during the winter or you feel a chilly draft in certain rooms, your windows may be to blame. Triple-pane windows are very effective at eliminating cold drafts in your home to keep you comfortable throughout the year. Even when the temperature falls below zero, you can sit comfortably next to a triple pane window without feeling the cold air.
Windows with three glass panes work by reducing the temperature difference between the wall and the interior surface temperature of the glass pane. This reduces cold spots that create drafts, convection currents, and discomfort in the winter. For their impact on homeowner comfort alone, an investment in this heat insulating window may well be worth it.
Have you ever noticed condensation on glass surfaces in your home? This happens at the dew point, or temperature for any given relative humidity level at which airborne water vapour condenses. Windows that are not energy efficient tend to be much cooler than the air inside the home due to heat loss.
Triple-pane windows can reduce condensation to maintain a higher indoor humidity level during the cold, dry winter months. They offer better insulation and a higher interior glaze surface temperature that makes it less likely you will see frost or condensation on your windows. This is in part due to the higher amount of Argon gas between the panes. This inert, non-toxic gas reduces frost collection by boosting insulation quality.
While it's true that triple-pane windows cost more than other options, the long-term savings and benefits are very real. If you want the ultimate in energy efficiency and comfort, there is only one type of window worth considering.