Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows

 

 

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows

One of the biggest draws on your energy usage is maintaining a constant temperature through heating and cooling. Heat exchange can be caused by a myriad of different things. For example, you can have heat exchange through gaps around windows and under doors. An absolute vital part of any energy audit is to go around and identify all the “leaks” in the house and plug them. But this doesn’t stop the heat exchange through the windows themselves. One option is to upgrade to double glazed windows. However, this may not be a viable option for many people and even if you have double glazed windows, it does not stop all the heat exchange. So a very important step in introducing energy efficient heating is to make sure the heat exchange of the windows is kept to an absolute minimum.

1. North and South facing windows. Believe it or not, only windows that are on certain aspects of your home cause a significant problem. North facing windows receive the least natural light and are therefore don’t concern me that much. While South facing windows receive light all day, they have a significant advantage in that during summer the sun is too high to really impact on you. Conversely in winter, the angle of the sun is much lower meaning that you will actually get a lot of benefit from them for heating. For both South and North windows it is still important to stop heat exchange at night time. Curtains/internal blinds with good insulation would be more than adequate for minimising heat exchange.

2. West facing windows. These are definitely the aspects of your home that needs a lot of attention. In my home I have a large living area overlooking a pool. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? The only problem is that this is on the western side of the home. Of course we want to keep as much of the aspect as possible, but I tell you that 6 metres of windows on that side of the house means that the house warms up very quickly in the mornings. By the midmorning the sun has moved enough, but left unmitigated the house becomes hot and unbearable for the rest of the day. In this instance we have used shade sails to reduce the direct sunlight hitting the windows. This has made such a tremendous impact, but also allows us to leave the blinds open so that we can enjoy the views of the pool. This also allows us to leave the windows open as we regularly get a lovely breeze off the bay which helps to naturally cool our home.

3. East facing windows. My biggest problem in the home. While I only have one sliding door on this side of the house, it makes a tremendous amount of heat. Our saving grace on this side are the large trees that give natural shading to the house in the late afternoon. Here, I have also implemented shade sails and to take it one step further, I have tinted the windows just to stop the sun that little bit more.

4. All Windows. The only point that I wanted to make here is that each window needs to be adequately covered. Mainly for night use, this will not only stop heat escaping but will also give you privacy. I find that black out curtains in combination with blinds work well. The reason for this is if you just have curtains, while you will block out the light, you create a layer of air between the glass and the curtain which acts as a medium of heat exchange. By introducing a blind that is fitted close to the window, you will reduce the layer of air and hence reduce the heat exchange.

 

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