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How to Choose the Energy-Efficient Windows in Canada

Your house aesthetics are essential, but energy efficiency is a vital concern when you’re about to install new windows. By selecting energy-efficient windows, you’ll not only reduce your heating and cooling bills, but you’ll also get a significant return on investments. But with so many aspects that determine your home’s thermal performance and comfort, you might get lost when it comes to energy-efficient factors, standards and overall different windows performance.

That is why we have recently talked to experts from Ecoline Windows – replacement company from Canada, and this post will elaborate on everything you need to know when choosing the best energy-efficient windows for your house.

Not All Windows are Equally Energy-Efficient

You may have noticed that your old windows allow air to flee or enter through tiny cracks, poorly installed sealing, or inefficient glass. Your home’s heating or cooling system should then compensate for that loss by operating harder to preserve a comfortable temperature. So homeowners might end up with more enormous energy bills and a more significant negative impact on the climate.

This is where energy-efficient windows come into play and help resolve performance difficulties to lower these effects. When you replace your time-worn windows with new, energy-efficient ones, you get 2 main benefits:

  • Increased comfort – Diminishing air leakage from the outside makes your home comfortable, eliminates drafts, and minimizes noise pollution.
  • Keep your energy costs lower – Old windows are one of the most significant issues you get high energy bills.

But while all this sounds great, you should keep in mind that not all of the windows are equally energy-efficient. So, it is vital to choose the window style that not only fits your exterior but also provides excellent thermal performance. While you can love sliding windows or bay & bow style, most experts agree that the most energy-efficient and reasonably priced options are casement & awning windows. They are optimal not only when it comes to high energy-efficiency but also can be located strategically so that even a 2 to 3-inch opening would make ventilation of no issue.

Window Energy Efficiency in Numbers

When it comes to analyzing energy efficiency, one of the most essential factors to consider is the number of panes your potential windows are equipped with. To make it easier to understand, let’s determine what a pane is. A window pane, or glazing, is quite literally the sheet of glass separating the inside of your home from the outside. Double-pane and triple-pane windows come with two or three panes, respectively. An additional pane always makes your window more energy efficient. But whether it is the right investment? Let’s find out.

All windows have to value which provides the picture of their overall performance:

  • R-value. It is an overall insulative value. Simply put, the higher the R-value, the better your window performs as an insulator.
  • U-value. This explains the amount of heat that escapes via a window. In other words, the lower the U-value, the better the insulating properties of your windows.

Double-pane windows provide an R-value ranging from 3 to 3.8. In contrast, triple-paned windows usually offer an R-value of 5, making them more efficient when blocking heat flow. Basically, if you replace the double-paned units with triple-paned ones, it will reduce your heating costs.

For instance, the average heat loss through the window is reduced by 30% to 40%  if you change double glazing Energy Star windows with an R-value of 3 to the R-value of 5. Moreover, when specifically designed for new construction, the triple-paned windows with certain LoE and Argon combinations can go as high as R-value of up to 7, depending on window types and glass packages. This partly explains why triple-glazed products can be up to 50% more efficient compared to windows with only double glazing.

Style Layers of Glazing U-factor “R” Value
Casement 2 0.26 3.8
Casement 3 0.20 5.0

The average monthly heating bill for Canadian homeowners hit somewhere between 125$ and 200$ and the average price for double and triple glazing you can find in the table below.

Average Price by Style
Small, $ Medium, $ Large, $
Double Glaze 591.73 853.19 1439.26
Triple Glaze 651 977.13 1547.25

Source: Ecoline Windows

The average house needs 8 medium sized windows and if we calculate the extra you need to invest to get triple-glazed windows instead of double-glazed it would make and additional investment of (977-853)*8 = 992$.  Unfortunately, there is no way to calculate precisely how much money triple-pane windows can save you if you decide to go with that option. Why can’t you make precise calculations? It stems from your house’s conditions: the wall structure, the temperature you consider comfortable, and even your furnace’s condition. To make a proper decision, calculate your monthly heating bill in different seasons and go from there.

Other Energy-Efficiency Factors to Consider

So which factors make excellent energy-efficiency? Your window type, thickness and style of glass all contribute to it. While salespersons can make you go mad by speaking about tons of different aspects that affect the thermal performance of your windows, it is vital to keep in mind the main factors (besides number of panes) that contribute to the energy efficiency of the window the most. These are the features the energy efficient windows should have.

  • Low-E coating. Through the winter it preserves the heat inside and keeps the cold air out.
  • Insulating gas – Argon and Krypton gases conduct up to 50% less heat than air. Utilizing these gases to fill the spaces between double or triple-pane windows protects against heat loss, condensation and cold weather. In this way, your energy cost savings and overall comfort are increased.

Warmer in the winter – Cooler in the summer

Top Energy-Efficiency Standards to Rely on

Okay, so you know which style and glazing you need, have considered all the factors that make windows energy-efficient and now you want to order and get your new windows installed. But how do you know that the product you deal with is really of the highest quality and provides that energy-efficiency you need? Here come the standards every Canadian manufacturer should follow in order to call their products energy-efficient. Look at them below.

  • Energy Star Rating

ENERGY STAR is a government program that testifies energy-efficient windows, doors, and other home products. From 2020, you do not need to talk about the specific climate zone when deciding if a particular window is ENERGY STAR certified for the area where you reside.

You have here just one single standard to follow, which is an energy rating (ER) of 34 and higher. ER Rating is a number assigned to windows based on a consideration of various performance aspects. It covers things like the U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. The ER rating has been formed to ease consumers’ lives when it comes to understanding and comparing window thermal performance across different manufacturers.

  • National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)

If ENERGY STAR gives consumers assurance that a window is up to energy efficiency standards, NFRC ratings equip you with deeper details about performance so that you can truly analyze the energy performance of various windows.

NFRC is an organization that formed an energy rating program just to certify energy-efficient windows and doors as a whole unit, not just the performance of the glass. If a window company has their windows NFRC certified and uses its label, it means the products are really of high quality, and the windows keep up with the energy standards.

The Bottom Line

Windows replacement is one of few things homeowners usually do once in a lifetime. It is a big decision. Energy-efficiency can’t be underestimated since it directly impacts your energy bills and the comfort of your house. So, make sure you properly research the market and consider all the crucial aspects when shopping for new windows.