Architectural Window Energy Efficiency

October 11, 2010

Architectural windows offer homeowners opportunities for creating room accents and complementing their interior decor when they are used as replacement windows. But don't think that using architectural windows has to be a trade-off with the energy savings other replacement windows can provide; architectural windows can be just as energy efficient as any replacement window if you know what to look for before making your purchase.

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Architectural Windows Energy Efficiency Considerations

Most architectural windows have fixed glass panels that are inoperable and are often placed in areas where window treatments aren't feasible or desired. This means the window has to stand alone against the outside elements, and most architectural windows are up to the task. Two architectural windows energy efficiency specifications you should pay particular attention to are:

  • U-Factor.. This is a measurement of the airflow a closed window allows to pass through it over a period of time. Low numbers on this rating are desirable
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)..This is an especially important rating on architectural windows that are often used high on walls without any interior shading protection. The SHGC is a measurement of the amount of radiant heat from the sun that is allowed to pass through the glass. Lower numbers on this rating are desirable, also.

There are options available that can help increase the energy efficiency of your architectural windows such as upgrading to triple pane glass, adding Argon gas between the panes, or having Low-E coatings installed on the windows.

Architectural windows don't have many of the energy efficiency concerns that other replacement windows have because they usually have fixed glass panels, but you should ensure that the sash fits securely in the frame and is properly sealed on all edges. A professional window contractor can help make sure your windows are flashed and sealed correctly during installation.

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