February 11, 2019 Is Low-E Glass a Solution to the Alarming Energy Crisis in the World Today?
Will we eventually run out of energy given that we rely heavily on coal and gas to fuel over 85% of our needs? Studies reveal that this demand will only double in the next twenty years with the projected population growth and the reliance on energy-guzzling appliances. It’s no wonder then that, besides wood and steel, glass easily occupies top spot as a popular construction material due to its ever-improving insulation and thermal features.
Energy-efficient glass flooring systems are picking up traction in recent times and now command a great deal of attention in architectural circles. So what is low-emissivity glass in particular? To put it simply, there are two kinds of low-E systems – passive and solar controlled low-E coatings. These are engineered to restrict the levels of UV rays and infrared radiations that are able to travel through the glass.
Low-E coatings in no way affect the otherwise normal functioning of the glass and still allow the same level of visible light to come through just as regular glass would.
Are Low-E Windows Really Energy Efficient?
Low-emissivity glass basically pertains to low thermal emissive glass. Because this glass is capable of reflecting, absorbing, and emitting radiant energy, it is definitely energy-efficient.
If you were to install clear glass or high-E glass in your building’s windows, the solar energy emitted from the sun and the heat radiated from the interiors (such as from a heater) would be soaked up by the glass without any of that precious energy being saved whatsoever.
The heat taken in by the glass when the sun is out is simply dispelled at night. If you’ve ever felt that your building or commercial space, for example, is extremely warm in the morning and cold at night, this might be one of the reasons why. In such a circumstance, you will most likely resort to using heaters and air conditioners that rake up massive energy bills in the long run.
Perhaps, two of the most frequently asked questions in this regard are: Does low-E glass keep the heat in? And does low-E glass block out UV rays? The answer to both is a resounding yes!
With low-E glass, a slim coat is added over the surface of the raw glass. This greatly improves its thermal and insulation capacity. When the sun is out, the low-E coated glass system repels most of that extra energy outwards instead of permitting it to penetrate into the room. Likewise, if you have a heater on, the energy emitted from that appliance bounces off the glass and gets redirected into the room rather than escaping through.
This glass is inserted into the inner side of the outermost pane, thus creating a well-insulated unit.
What Are the Kinds of Low-E Glass?
Low-E pyrolytic coatings (hard coat glass), essentially made from tin oxide, are added to raw glass at soaring temperatures. These are medium-level energy-efficient windows but are still much more effective than regular glass. Hard coat glass is easy to handle, resilient and is often seen in single-paned windows. Pyrolytic coatings run the risk of developing a hazy sheen over time because they have a high solar grain.
Soft coat glass, on the other hand, is made when the glass is placed in a vacuum shaft wherein several thin silver sheets (that curb reflectivity) are ladled onto the glass. When stimulated by electrodes, the coating on the side of the vacuum that is filled with Argon reflects heat toward the opposite side. In order to keep it protected, this soft coat glass is enveloped in double pane windows.
Soft coat glass is a high-level energy-efficient glass window and provides magnificent thermal and insulation benefits. This glass allows for the passage of more visible light than hard coat windows because the former comes with nearly invisible coats. So efficient are these systems, in fact, that they prevent UV transmissions by over 70% as compared to clear glass.
What Are the Benefits of Low-E Glass?
Restricts UV Rays and Radiant Heat Transfer: Besides restricting the passage of ultraviolet rays and interior radiant heat, low-emissivity glass offers several benefits when installed in a commercial structure. For one, they significantly decrease your electricity bills.
Melts Snow, Ice and Prevents Condensation: Low-E glass is controlled electronically and is capable of converting electrical power into heat. Especially in areas with extremely chilly climates, this particular aspect is a major boon. Based on its constitution, low-E glass can direct heat toward the interior or exterior thus melting falling snow that collects on a window sill, preventing condensation and serving as a very effective secondary heat source.
Ideal for Several Versatile Applications: Because of its versatile nature, you can install low-E glass in spas, saunas, bathrooms, verandas, atriums, lobbies, office and hotel concourses, malls, airports – the list goes on! Being that it is installed directly on the windows, low-E coating takes up no additional room or floor space whatsoever.
Offers Uninterrupted Views and Superior Durability: This smart low-E glass system is designed so that occupants can enjoy an unhindered view of the exteriors, no matter the weather.
How long do low-E glass windows last? You’ll be pleased to know that they come with superior lifespans – they can maintain their integrity in extreme conditions and have over 20 years’ worth of experience in such climates. These systems can last anywhere between 10 to 15 years (depending on the level of exposure to the elements).
Eco-Friendly: Low-E glass is made from recyclable and environment-friendly materials that minimize thermal loss and also reduce your carbon emissions.
How Much Do Low-E Glass Windows Cost?
The initial investment will depend on the kind of low-E glass you invest in. Accordingly, the cost is calculated per square foot (anywhere between $40 -$60 psf). However, the amount you save in the long run due to pruning your CO2 emissions is much higher than the capital cost. Low-E windows tremendously elevate your energy savings, thus reaping a quick ROI, being that they pay for themselves much faster than you realize!
Is Low-E Glass Right For Your Next Project?
Greenlite Glass Systems designs industry grade low-emissivity glass to offset your insulation and radiant heat control requirements. Start pruning those exorbitant energy bills today. Contact us for a quick quote.