When you’re building a new home, you may choose the architectural plan and leave the rest up to your contractor, but when it comes time to choose materials, you should require that your builder use energy-efficient windows and doors. Although standard windows would save you money on the initial construction cost, they’ll cost you in the long run. Energy-efficient windows initially cost more, but they are better at preventing drafts and heat transfer, lowering your energy bills and performing to a higher standard for years to come. Energy-efficient windows also add more to the home’s value, making them one of the top remodeling projects. Homeowners see an 80 percent return on investment when they replace standard models with energy-efficient windows, as more and more Ontario homebuyers see the long-term value of energy savings.
Choosing energy efficiency doesn’t mean making compromises when it comes to design, though, especially as Kitchener-based window suppliers like Golden Windows design custom, energy efficient products for homeowners, contractors, and developers who want to improve the energy performance of a home. There are plenty of different style and performance options you can find to fit your home if you go to the right supplier.
With respect to design, you’ll find the same variety of choice in energy-efficient windows that you would in other window grades, ranging from standard casement and slider windows to custom bay & bow, skylight, and architectural windows. The frame material you use plays a major role in the look of windows, but they also perform differently as well and require different levels of maintenance:
Aluminum: This is the lowest cost material you can find for frames, and while it’s zero-maintenance, aluminum allows considerable heat transfer and may not be the most efficient option. For better performance and appearance, you can use a wood-clad frame, where the interior side is clad with wood, a durable but still appealing option.
Vinyl: Also low-maintenance and affordable, vinyl is a classic option that can help conserve power, but it’s not ideal for painting as it will quickly flake off. You can, however, find vinyl that’s been made in any colour from a manufacturer like Golden Windows.
Wood: This is a great option for heritage homes, log cabins, and cottages that use a lot of wood, and while they do require more maintenance, they are also good at keeping the heat indoors when you need to.
When you’re shopping for windows, the term glazing refers to the glass, so, for example, “triple-glazed” would mean three layers. While additional layers can help improve performance, modern efficient technology used by Golden Windows in Kitchener also consists of Low-E coatings and argon gas fills to prevent energy loss. To find better performing products, you will want to look for:
– coatings that affect the U-factor (degree of insulation)
– coatings that reduce emissivity (referring to how much energy they will emit, i.e. lose)
– gas between the glass layers, usually krypton or argon (improves insulation, slows heat transfer)
– spacers between the glass layers (improves insulation, may prevent heat loss and condensation)
When you’re ready to build, your material choices help your home look and perform its best. Look for made in Kitchener windows and doors to build your home with high-quality materials.