Which type of glass is the right choice for creating an energy efficient home?
Choosing the right type of glass to help save money on your power bills is not always easy.
It is estimated that 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost, and 87% of its heat can be gained through its windows (https://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/glazing), so it stands to reason that your choice of glass could have a significant impact on your home’s energy use.
When it comes to energy efficient glass, it pays to know there are three main types:
- Double Glazing
- Low-E Glass
- Toned Glass
Jason Windows Sales Manager Mark Regan advises “glass has a major impact on the comfort levels of your home, so it’s important to choose the right glass solution”.
Double Glazed Windows
Double Glazing is a process in which two panels of glass are separated by an inert gas or air vacuum. The space between both panes of glass has an optimal distance to maximise performance depending on whether it is air or an inert gas, and can have a significant effect on heat transfer both into and out of your home.
Jason Windows uses Argon gas because it is more effective than air when preventing heat transfer due to its increased density and reduced thermal conductivity. Mr Regan explains, “Argon gas is known to create a more effective insulation break than air by greatly reducing both heat flow and thermal conductivity through the glass due to argon gases lower thermal conductivity”, meaning it is even harder for heat to transfer in or out of your home.
- There is also the added benefit of noise reduction with double glazing, as only a percentage of the sound vibration on the outer glass pane is transferred on to the internal glass pane, thus reducing what can be heard inside
- The effects of Double Glazing can be enhanced further by combining Low-E and Laminated Glass
- Combining Laminated Glass with your Double Glazing reduces UV transmittance by up to 99% and provides improved security as it is harder to break
To find out more about double glazing, read our article What is Double Glazing?
Low-E Glass is glass that is fitted with a thin, transparent metallic coating that prevents temperature transfer through the window or door.
Low-E glass helps your home stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter and can potentially be just as effective as Double Glazing in this regard.
“Low-e performance glass has a coating that allows natural light through without emitting radiant heat, maximising light and energy efficiency,” Mr Regan explains.
- Laminating your Low-E glass may assist with sound reduction
- Low-E glass may exhibit a slightly hazy view from some angles and requires special care when cleaning (refer to our maintenance guide)
Toned Glass/Tinted Glass
Toned Glass (sometimes also referred to as Tinted Glass) is glass that has had colouring additives applied during the manufacturing process. The pigmentation absorbs sunlight and therefore reduces the amount of heat gained from the sun.
Toned Glass is ideal for rooms that get too hot in the summer and can help you save on your air-conditioning bill.
- Toned or Tinted Glass can reduce the benefits of maximum Solar Heat Gain in winter – thus increasing the need to use energy to heat your home in winter
- Toned Glass will also slightly affect visibility and natural light availability
Which Energy Efficient Glass is best for my budget?
The short answer is ‘it depends’.
- Double Glazing can be the most effective but also most expensive option for energy efficient glass and can take a longer time to recoup the cost through energy saving
- Low-E is cheaper than Double Glazing but does not provide the same soundproofing benefits, unless the Low-E coating is between a laminated glass which may also include an acoustic interlayer
- Toned Glass is the most cost-effective option for beating the heat. However, it is not as effective as Double Glazing or Low-E
To help determine your budget, consider how different rooms may benefit from different types of glass and their respective energy performance capabilities.
How to decide on the best Energy Efficient Glass for your home?
Choosing the right glass to help you save on bills and increase your homes energy efficiency depends on your budget, design choices and needs.
It is recommended that you get an independent energy efficiency assessment to better understand how to reduce your energy usage and increase your thermal comfort. Qualified assessors will provide you with a final list of appropriate solutions. Reputable assessment providers can be sourced from the Australian Building Sustainability Association (ABSA).
“A glass expert will take into account the home’s orientation, the function of each room and the surrounding environment, and match the perfect glass and frame type for each room in the home,” Mr Regan added.
To compare more glass types and get a better idea of what glass is best for your home, check out our comprehensive Glass Guide or come into our showroom and speak with a Jason Windows product specialist for advice.
About the Author
Peter den Boer has worked in the Australian Glass Industry for over 38 years and is well respected for his experience and knowledge within the industry.
Peter has been the past President of the Glass and Window Association of WA since 2014 before being merged in 2018 and had been a board member of the Australian Glass & Glazing Association since 2015. Now a board member of the merged entity – Australian Glass and Window Association.