Changing the Windows in Your Home: Make an Eco-Friendly Choice
Making environmentally friendly choices when renovating is always a wise decision, whether it’s to take care of the planet or to reduce your energy bill. Little by little, you are improving the components of your property to avoid wasted heating and air conditioning, especially when it comes to changing the windows.
There are several types of windows, some of which are more efficient at retaining heat than others. The most popular type are casement windows, which open to the left or right and offer excellent performance. Sliding windows, either single or double, offer the simplest opening system and are perfect for small areas, such as basements.
Guillotine style windows, also single or double, are a classic option with their movable and fixed sashes. Older models were less efficient in terms of insulation, but newer models are tested for watertightness. Fixed and architectural windows offer maximum air and water tightness, as they cannot be opened. For a European look, tilt-and-turn windows are popular, as they can swing in or tilt inwards, depending on the position.
The choice of framing material will also have an ecological impact, which can affect the efficiency of the window. Wood has good insulating properties, but requires rigorous maintenance to prevent moisture from damaging it. Aluminum is an environmentally friendly choice due to its very long lifespan, but its insulating properties are far from optimal. PVC is a popular choice because of its resistance to moisture, corrosion and insects. However, its colour can be affected by the sun's rays.
Mixed frames, also known as hybrids, seem to be gaining ground because of the combined qualities of each material. For example, the structure is made entirely of welded PVC, but the exterior face of the window is covered with factory painted aluminum.
The most popular windows today are made with double glazing or triple glazing, making the window even more efficient. It’s possible to add argon or krypton gas between the panes of glass for better insulation. It’s also possible to integrate a low emissivity film, called "Low-E". Although it can slightly reduce the room’s brightness, this metal oxide film allows the sun’s rays through while retaining infrared heat inside.
Glazing should be chosen according to the location of the windows, which is a much more environmentally friendly practice than simply choosing a window based on the type of material.
The Energy Star® indication
Despite the popular belief that the Energy Star® rating is for appliances only, windows can also have this label that certifies that the product will save up to 10% on heating costs. The Energy Star® label is also an ecological and economical choice. Ultraviolet rays will also be filtered out.