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What exactly are energy efficient windows?

February 21, 2018

There’s no doubt about it – this has been a proper Canadian winter. With temperatures consistently in the minuses and snow falling for days, furnaces have had to work much harder to keep houses warm, often resulting in higher energy bills for homeowners.1

To make matters worse, homes with older windows lose up to 25% of their heat to the outside. One way to increase inside comfort all year round and save on your monthly energy bills is to invest in energy efficient windows.

What makes windows energy efficient?

Surprisingly, there is no official consumer checklist for energy efficient windows – the closest thing available is an Energy Star rating. Natural Resource Canada explains that, “Energy Star certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance.”2

Energy Star looks at several factors before awarding a certification, including special coatings, glass thickness, insulation between panes, and even where the windows are intended for in Canada.

So, if you’re looking to replace your home’s windows with energy efficient ones, here’s what you need to know:

Low-Emissivity Coatings

“Low-E” is a reflective coating that is applied to the window glass to reflect the sunlight from entering the home, helping to keep the heat out in the summer, and preventing indoor heat from escaping during the winter. Made from microscopically thin layers of metal or metallic oxide, Low-E coatings reduce home energy loss by 30-50%.3

Double and Triple Glazing

Older windows tend to be single glazed, meaning they only have one pane of glass. This doesn’t provide very much protection or insulation against the harsh Canadian climate. For windows to be energy efficient, they should be at least double glazed, with two panes of glass. However, to achieve an Energy Star rating, for optimal energy efficiency, windows need to be triple-glazed with three panes of glass.

Inert Gas Insulation

Energy efficient double and triple paned windows are filled with an inert gas between the frames. Inert gas, such as argon, does not undergo a chemical reaction but remains stable under a variety of conditions. Inert gas is an effective insulator, providing greater thermal efficiency and preventing air transfer from the outside in, and vice versa.

Climate Zones

Energy Star has divided Canada into three climates zones with Zone 1 being the warmest. Many windows and doors are certified for more than one zone but it’s important to know which zone your home is in when looking for energy efficient products. Natural Resource Canada recommends buying windows that are certified for a colder zone than where you live so as to optimize the thermal efficiency, and potentially save more on your energy costs.4

European Tilt & Turn Windows are Energy Star rated

If you’re in the market for new energy efficient windows, Energy Star rated European Tilt and Turn windows tick all the boxes.

Tilt & Turn windows are made with glass that is 30% thicker than standard windows, and contain multiple air chambers and steel reinforcement in the frame. Available in a variety of materials, such as vinyl, aluminium and aluminium clad wood, Tilt & Turn windows have a multi-point locking system that guarantees a tight seal around the frame, eliminating cold drafts.

Offering unique functionality, European Tilt & Turn products are versatile, energy efficient and aesthetically appealing; factors that are equally important when it comes to creating the perfect home.

For more information about energy efficient windows or to learn more about Energy Star rated Tilt & Turn products, contact Catana today!


1 https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/pdf/energystar/IWEE_EN.pdf

2 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/energystar/12519

3 https://energy.gov/energysaver/window-types

4 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/categories/fenestration/13954

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