Shield Your Home With Heat-Reflecting, Low-Energy Windows

Many of the home improvements owners are turning to these days are geared towards improving the energy efficiency of their homes. And while upgrading to a line of more efficient appliances is among the most common, it is by no means the only improvement homeowners are seeking out.

Substantial investments like replacing a home�s insulation or making the switch to a geo thermal system to power the property are on the rise � but when it comes to making an affordable and practical home improvement, homeowners need look no further than the home�s transparent features � the windows � to impact not only the home�s level of efficiency, but also the level of comfort found within.

Letting Sun Into Our Homes: A Catch 22

One of a home�s biggest selling points is the amount of natural light that enters the living space. It�s no secret that people love a sunlit room; sunlight not only creates an inviting ambience within the home, but the large windows that allow said light to enter also do wonders for creating the illusion of space.

While large windows certainly accomplish the goals of creating more light and space, conventional windows can be quite ineffective at promoting effective home insulation. Traditional windows have been designed to allow light into your home � but where light can pass through, so too can heat � unless you take steps to prevent it.

Allow Light To Pass Through, Keep Heat Where It Belongs

Oftentimes, people think of sun light and sun heat as one and the same. Knowing exactly what differentiates light from heat can go a long way in helping to determine what sort of window homeowners should consider when speaking to a window contractor.

Light is a spectrum. There are visible wavelengths of light and invisible ones like infrared and ultraviolet. The infrared wavelength is the property of light that emits heat while the short ultraviolet wavelength is the property of light that can damage color finishes and cause sunburn. Conventional windows not only allow visible light to enter the home, but also subject the home�s interior to the sun�s less desirable properties.

Modern heat-reflecting windows have been designed to treat the unique properties of light differently; resulting in windows that maximize the amount of visible light permitted to enter the home, while preventing infrared and ultraviolet light from entering.

How Do They Work?

While the science behind heat-reflective windows may be complex, the idea is a relatively simple one to grasp.

Heat-reflective windows are generally made up of a sealed, two-pane system. The two panes of glass are separated by a noble gas, which acts as an insulator, and the inner surface of one of the panes is lined with a microscopically thin layer of metal or metallic oxide, giving the window a tinted look.
The layer of metal allows visible light to pass through while reflecting the heat emitting rays back into the sky. The benefit of these types of windows are pretty obvious when considering the scorching heat of a July sun � heat-reflective windows excel at keeping heat out while allowing light in, which means the required amount of energy to keep the home cool is significantly reduced.
This principle of heat blocking in the summer is reversed in the winter where heat-reflective windows prevent heat generated from a fireplace or wood burning stove from passing through the window, and into the frigid air.

While these types of windows may be priced significantly higher than conventional windows, it�s important to remember that many home improvements come with a significant cost. That being said, the initially high cost quickly becomes justifiable when one considers the reduction of energy costs over the life of the home, not to mention the boost they will have on the home�s resale value.

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