The Northern Virginia and Metropolitan Washington DC area is a region of significant temperature and weather variations, though not typically to utterly unreasonable extremes. Springtime weather may change from very hot and humid to cold and rainy in a single day, while mid-winter temperatures in the 70’s (for January!) tend to occur every few years. Therefore, your choice and options for replacement windows in Northern Virginia should take into account the rapid changes and variations of weather, without necessarily focusing solely on seasonal averages. Your new or replacement windows should assist your overall energy conservation goals by effectively separating warm from cold air at all times, whether the cold air is outside the window, or inside the home. These objectives are relevant for any kind of window, from vinyl windows to wooden, from double-hung to single-pane patio doors or enclosures, and from home windows to commercial siding.
This time of year (late spring) is an especially good time to have your Northern Virginia windows examined, repaired and/or replaced. (Note that window repair should be considered for any type of window scratch, crack, stain or other factor that would decrease the effectiveness of heat transfer or reflectivity). Long rain events occur with decreasing frequency, thunderstorms are not yet into their summer cycle, temperatures are moderate and both heating and air conditioners are likely not being utilized as much. Installing during the time will allow you to set a baseline from which your energy cost savings resulting from installation of new, energy-efficient windows can be more accurately measured over the coming years.
Energy Advantage Low-E Glass is a high performance, energy efficient window glass made with an invisible coating that blocks heat flow. It was invented by Roy Gordon, a Harvard University “Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Chemistry”, in the 1970’s, with full-scale manufacturing and production started in 1989 by Libbey-Owens Ford, a company with more than a century of experience making glass. Low-E glass is manufactured with a microscopically thin and transparent layer of metal or metal oxide that reflects infrared “heat” energy back into the home, greatly enhancing the thermal performance of the window. “Low-E” refers to “emissivity”, which is a measure of the ability of a surface to absorb or reflect heat. As an energy efficient glazing technology, Low Emissivity (or Low-E) glass is a poor absorber of heat.
There are basically two kinds of Low-E glass. Low-E glass with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) reflects and keeps much of the Sun’s heat energy out of the home. This is the best choice in climates dominated by cooling. Low-e glass with a high Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) allows the Sun’s heat energy into the home; this is the best choice in climates dominated by heating or for south facing windows in climates with a mix of cooling and heating requirements. Northern Virginia qualifies as a “North/Central” region (according to Energy Star), with a profile of both “heating and cooling” home requirements, the emphasis being on heating costs vs. cooling. This profile also means you’re your home’s windows, doors and siding in Northern Virginia should be routinely monitored and considered for replacement, due to the constantly changing weather conditions, temperature-change induced stress, and widely-varying energy consumption cycles.
How Does It Work?
Ordinary clear glass allows heat to pass through it. Since hot air always flows towards cold (in the absence of other factors influencing air currents, like fans), during the winter heat from inside your home will try to flow to the outdoors. In the summer, heat from the outside flows through your windows into the cooler interior. The special coating on Energy Advantage Low-E glass is 2 ½ times more effective at helping separate heat from cold; in the winter heat stays inside, where you need it to keep your family warm, with the opposite happening in the summer. Savings in energy costs can be tremendous, especially when replacing not only older, energy-inefficient windows in Northern Virginia, but also replacing and properly sealing window frames, doors and siding. This is especially relevant in homes and commercial properties with very large windows, patio enclosures, exposed garden windows or any large surface areas devoted to glass.
Northern Virginia’s premier window factory and manufacturer experienced in this area (in the fast-growing Lorton and Newington areas of Prince William County, also serving Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County and the Dulles South Region, and areas of Washington DC and suburban Maryland) will be able to provide the best consultation regarding overall window installation, plus evaluating and selecting the appropriate Energy Advantage Low-E glass specifications for your Northern Virginia window requirements. Vinyl-Lite Northern Virginia Window Factory is the local manufacturer to consult over large chains like Lowe’s or Home Depot – local, Northern Virginia window installation and replacement experts like Vinyl-Lite will have the most up to date information, experience and customer results to share from the local neighborhoods and commercial centers.