There are many different types of glass, and they all have relatively different energy efficiency levels. In this blog post, we’re exploring Low E glass to help you find out if it’s right for you. We’ll cover the basics of what it is, what it’s for and how it works, so read on if you want more details!
What is Low-E glass?
Low-E stands for ‘low emissivity’, which means it radiates less absorbed energy. Low-E glass has been the standard material for windows since around the 1980s, so newer glass is more likely to have Low-E coating already in place.
Essentially, Low-E glass works by blocking some wavelengths of light and allowing others; a lot of the extremes of the sun’s spectrum are left outside, while the sun’s visible light waves will pass through normally.
You’ve probably already heard of the different groups of light waves – ultraviolet (UV) light, visible light (VL), and infrared (IR) light. These categories each have a band of wavelength (measured in nanometres) that they are associated with – UV spans 310 to 380, VL 380 to 780, and IR is 780 and above. Low-E coated glass allows visible light from 380nm to 780nm to be transmitted through the glass.
What is Low-E glass for?
The reason Low-E glass cuts out as much of the UV and IR light as possible is largely to prevent heat passing from one side to the other. This means it keeps your home cooler in summer by keeping heat inside, and warmer in winter by keeping heat in.
This is all thanks to the Low-E coating, a tiny layer of reflective material that is applied over the glass. It’s important to coat the right side of the glass, as this has an impact on performance. If you’re just coating a single pane, for instance, you’d want it on the inside. If it’s on the outside, it will wear off by exposure to the elements much faster than if it was on the interior.
In double-glazed windows, Low-E coating can be applied to the sides that face the vacuum on the inside of the window, keeping it safe from any exposure at all!
There is also a difference between soft-coat and hard coat Low-E glass. Soft-coat tends to be better at blocking heat, but only works for double glazing. Hard-coat is great for single panes of glass, and is still much more effective than no Low-E coating at all.
Is Low-E glass right for me?
If you have double-glazing, you may already have Low-E glass. Today, we’re focusing more on single pane windows, since there’s a higher probability that these need to be updated.
Single pane Low-E glass coating is great for retrofitting into old windows. If you want to preserve your historic windows, but need to keep them from bleeding heat in or out of your home, Low-E glass is the perfect solution. There are a few ways you can achieve this, depending on the window in question.
For example, if your historic window already has exterior storm glass, swapping this out for hard-coat Low-E will provide an immediate and noticeable boost to the efficiency of your older windows.
If storm windows aren’t an option, you can always replace the glass in the windows themselves. While this doesn’t suit everybody (as it doesn’t preserve the original condition of the historic window design), it is the next best path to take, as it saves the basic structure of your older windows.
Finally, you can try a Low-E tint film. Using quick and easy film tints is a cheap and fast way to block heat. However, it is less efficient long-term.
Save your old windows with Low-E glass!
Whether it’s summer or winter, Low-E is a great way to optimise your environmental efficiency, cut power costs, and make your home that much more comfortable.
To find out more about Low-E glass, retrofit double-glazing, timber joinery glazing and more, talk to the expert team at Atlas Glass. With over four decades of experience, we know we can help you get the windows your home deserves. Contact us today!