In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, Low-E windows were ranked as the top materials utilized in energy efficient remodels (survey covered the last quarter of 2011).
What is a Low-E window? Low-E stands for “low emissivity.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, window panes are coated with a microscopic layer of metal or metallic oxide to control heat transfer. Typically, in hot climates, the coating is applied on the exterior of the panes. While in cold climates, the coating is applied on the interior of the panes.
What are the costs and benefits of installing Low-E windows? Low-E windows will cost 10-15% more than non-coated windows (materials only, according to the Department of Energy). The resulting benefit is a 30-50% reduction in energy loss.
In addition to comfort and fiscal benefits, new windows add an immediate and powerful aesthetic update to any home.
Bottom line: When we think of remodeling, most of us are tempted by the “flash” factor above more practical necessities. Low-E windows meet both needs: aesthetic improvement and a more efficient home.