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What is Low E Glass?

Wednesday February 1st, 2023
One of the most important things to know before purchasing a new or replacement window is how you can maximize the window’s energy efficiency. There are a few ways to make your window more energy efficient, but one of the best ways is by using low e glass. With this simple upgrade, your home or business windows can efficiently stabilize internal temperatures, save money on energy bills, and more!

8 Benefits of Low E Glass

  1. Insulation
  2. Energy Efficiency
  3. Reduced Energy Bills
  4. UV Protection
  5. Allows Natural Light
  6. Glare Reduction
  7. Minimizes Condensation
  8. Reduces Carbon Footprint
Purchasing a new or replacement window can be an exciting experience. After all, you’re giving your home or business a much-needed upgrade. However, there is much to know about windows, including the different glass types available for them.

Low e glass is a type of glazing that every home and business owner should be aware of, as it’s the most energy efficient glazing on the market today. With that said, let’s dive into what low e glass is, the benefits it offers, and whether low e glass is worth it for your home or business.

What is Low E Glass?

Low e glass, short for low emissivity glass, is a type of window glaze created to enhance a window’s insulating performance. Glazing simply refers to the window glass, also known as the window panes.
To make low e glass, a metallic oxide coating is applied to regular glass. This coating is microscopically thin, non-toxic, and invisible to the naked eye. It effectively minimizes the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that comes through a window without minimizing the amount of natural light coming into the space.

As a transparent coating, Low e glazing reflects heat away from the glass. In summer, it reflects the external heat away from the home, keeping internal temperatures cooler. In winter, it reflects the warmth from your house back into the home so that it doesn’t escape through the glass. This specialized window glazing is the top choice for energy efficiency and keeping the internal house temperature steady.

Hard Coat vs Soft Coat Low E Glass

When choosing low e glass, there are two types to consider: passive low e coatings (hard coat) and solar control low e coatings (soft coat). The difference between them lies in how the coating is applied to the glass, and they both have unique advantages.
Hard coat low e window glass, also known as pyrolytic glass, is applied during glass production and is remarkably durable. Soft coat low e glass is applied after the glass is produced and cut. Then, the coated glass is sealed to ensure durability and longevity.
Hard coat low e glass doesn’t reflect external heat from the sun as well as soft coat low e glass. Because of this, hard coat low e glass is preferable in cold climates with mild to cool summers where heat from the sun is welcome.

For those who live in the United States, the soft coat low e glass is recommended (except for Alaska). This coating offers the highest-performing solar control, which means it performs better than the hard coat at keeping the sun’s heat away from the home.
Low e glass can be applied to any window glass, including tempered glass or laminated glass. It can also be used with any window style, such as the common double hung window. There are many types of windows, and all of them can benefit from low e window glass.

8 Benefits of Low E Glass

There are many benefits to opting for a low e glass glazing. These benefits include:

1. Insulation

The greatest benefit to low e glass windows is that they can insulate your home or business. If you have a double pane window, which is a type of insulated glass, you are maximizing your home’s insulating performance.

With the low e coating, the window effectively reduces heat transfer. This means that during the winter when you want your home to stay comfortably warm, the low e glass coating prevents heat loss through the windows. Instead, it reflects the heat back into the home. During the summer, the low e coating reduces solar heat gain in the home by reflecting the sun’s heat away from the house while keeping the cool air inside the home at a steady temperature.

The standard with modern windows is to have two panes of glass, also known as a double pane window. The panes are separated by an open-air space filled with a nontoxic gas to increase the glass’s insulation.

If you add low e glass to your standard double pane window, you are exponentially increasing your window’s insulation performance, which means a drastic decrease in heat loss or heat gain through your windows.

If you decide to purchase low e replacement glass for your replacement windows, you will be amazed at how steady the temperatures stay in your home or business.

2. Energy Efficiency

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, energy efficiency is “the use of less energy to perform the same task or produce the same result.” Energy efficiency is also described as energy saving.

When it comes to energy efficient windows, these windows insulate the home or business better than regular glass windows, thus reducing the amount of energy the home or business uses to heat, cool, and maintain a steady temperature throughout the building.

Low e glass coating is the best way to increase a home’s energy efficiency, along with double or triple pane windows. Not only will this help you save on energy costs, but decreasing your home or business energy use has a ripple effect that impacts the environment and your community. This benefit of low e glass on the environment and local community is discussed in more detail below.

3. Reduced Energy Bills

Although it’s an investment up front, Low e glass will pay for itself through lower energy bills, as the building’s heating and cooling system won’t have to kick on as frequently. It’s estimated that about 90 percent of window heat loss occurs through the glass. Because of this, you are guaranteed to save quite a bit on heating and cooling bills with Low e glass.

Moreover, when you switch to low e glass replacement windows, you are increasing the lifespan of your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. When your HVAC system has to constantly kick on to heat or cool the house, the regular wear and tear will eventually cause it to break down. When this happens, you’ll have to spend a good amount of money to get your heating and cooling system working again.  
By using energy-efficient, low e glass windows, you reduce the likelihood of your HVAC system breaking down. In this way, low e glass windows will indirectly save you money in the long run by reducing utility bills and increasing the lifespan of your HVAC system.

4. UV Protection

Because low e glass blocks both infrared rays (sun’s heat energy) and most of the sun’s UV rays, it provides UV protection for your family and home’s furnishing.

UV stands for ultraviolet radiation, and it is naturally produced by the sun. While it’s beneficial in that it provides vitamin D to the skin, overexposure to UV rays can cause risks such as sunburn, skin aging, and cancer. UV rays are able to easily penetrate regular glass windows, which can be a problem if you like to sit in the sun in your favorite chair next to the window. Plus, UV rays cause home furnishings, such as wooden furniture, colorful carpets, and couches to fade over time.

Low e glass prevents UV rays from entering the home. While it can’t completely prevent them from coming in, it greatly reduces the amount coming through the window glass. This means you can still enjoy your sunny window seat and protect the vibrancy of your home’s furnishings.  

5. Allows Natural Light

A common concern with low e glass coating is that it will prevent natural light from entering a room. But rest assured, low e glass coating still allows plenty of natural light to enter through the window.

As you probably know, the light spectrum includes light waves we can see and light waves we can’t see. Low e glass prevents and redirects infrared and UV rays, which are both light waves invisible to the naked eye. However, it does not prevent visible light waves from entering through the window.

The fact that low e glass coatings can perform in such a manner is incredible, as that means we don’t have to sacrifice the joy of a sun-filled room to increase our home’s energy efficiency. Plus, if you have indoor plants, they’ll still receive the visible light they need to stay happy and healthy.

6. Glare Reduction

Because low e glass windows reflect ultraviolet and infrared rays away from the home, they can help reduce the glare on windows, appliances, and electronics.

However, low e glass still allows natural light, so it doesn’t completely block the glare in a room. If you need to significantly reduce glare from the sun, such as in an office, you’ll want to consider low e tinted glass windows. With the combination of the low e glass and the custom tinted glass, you’ll be able to work on a computer or watch tv next to the window without the worry of sun glare.

7. Minimizes Condensation

One of the problems home and business owners face during the winter is a buildup of condensation on the window glass. Condensation on the interior window glass occurs when the cold outside air meets the warm inside air. This problem is especially prevalent in humid climates or if there’s humidity inside the home.

While condensation may seem like a minor annoyance, over time, it can cause damage to the window casing and frame, especially if your windows have a metal or wooden frame. Because low e glass coatings reduce heat transfer, they can significantly minimize or even eliminate window condensation. Thus, it increases the lifespan of your window casing and window frame.

8. Reduces Carbon Footprint

Given the growing climate crisis, many home and business owners are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the ways you can do this is by using low e glass for your windows.

Low e glass reduces your carbon footprint by improving your home’s energy efficiency. Fossil fuels provide electricity to your HVAC system, and it’s estimated that the energy and fuel it takes to provide power to homes and businesses contribute up to 40% of carbon emissions. About 28 percent of carbon emissions come from the energy it takes to power HVAC systems alone.

When we improve our home’s energy efficiency with insulated glass windows, we reduce our carbon footprint. This protects our environment and community from global warming and pollution.

Is Low E Glass Worth It?

The most significant concern with low e glass is the price, as low e glass costs more than ordinary glass. With this in mind, many homeowners and business owners wonder, “Is low e glass worth it?” 

At Rustica, we believe the initial investment in low e glass is more than worth it, as the benefits greatly outweigh the expense. Because low e glass will impressively decrease your home’s utility costs, low e glass windows pay for themselves over time. You are also increasing your home’s energy efficiency, which benefits you and the environment as a whole. Furthermore, with low e glass windows, you are increasing the lifespan of your HVAC system, protecting the vibrancy of your home’s furnishings, and reducing glare and condensation on your windows. We say that’s worth the price!

If you’re interested in using low e glass for your windows, don’t hesitate to contact Rustica’s design team today! We can’t wait to help you bring your next project to life! 
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