For those of us living and working in the Gulf South, the question, “Are hurricane windows energy-efficient?” becomes incredibly important this time of year. As we find ourselves on the brink of another sweltering summer and a new cycle of dangerous hurricanes, educating ourselves on the many benefits of hurricane windows is a proactive step towards lowering bills and staying safe in the coming months. Luckily, with the right hurricane windows, safety and efficiency can easily coexist.
Continue reading to explore the ways that installing hurricane windows goes hand-in-hand with implementing energy-efficient tactics for you and your family.
The Features of Hurricane Windows
Even though hurricane windows possess similar installation procedures and appearances as their normal counterparts, a few key features enhance their ability to protect your home in the event of inclement weather.
Impact-resistant glass is the defining feature of most hurricane windows. It’s usually reliant on a combination of both tempered and laminated glass to provide maximum levels of protection.
- Tempered Glass, also known as “safety glass,” undergoes an intensive heat treatment that compresses its outer surface. The glass is heated to 600 degrees Celsius and then cooled in mere seconds through a process known as “quenching.” If broken or compromised, tempered glass will break into rounded pieces rather than dangerously jagged shards. Due to these qualities, tempered glass makes windows five to ten times stronger—and therefore safer—than units featuring untempered window panes.
- Laminated Glass is another type of common safety proofing. Instead of using just one sheet of glass in a window pane, laminated glass bonds two separate glass layers together through an interlayer which is typically made of a vinyl material. Vinyl layers have many independent benefits, but in this context, they prevent excessive shattering by holding the glass in place after it’s been jeopardized.
Many impact-resistant windows combine these two glass tactics to produce the ultimate hurricane windows, though some may use only one or the other. Understanding how your impact glass functions will help you and your family make informed decisions about which windows make the most sense for your home.
Not only does impact glass mitigate the possibility of incurring storm damage, but it also helps fortify your home against burglaries, vandals, intruders, and blunt force from stray flying objects. With impact-resistant windows, gone are the days fretting over neighborhood kids playing baseball, or fearing for your home’s integrity during a storm watch.
Are Hurricane Windows Energy-Efficient?
True energy efficiency refers to a twofold process of optimizing the energy already in use, while dually reducing the amount of energy necessary to operate a system in its totality. For all of those wondering, lowering the risk of hurricane damage to your property simultaneously lowers your energy usage by a significant amount. Hurricane windows represent one of the fortunate and synchronous instances in which safety does, in fact, equal efficiency. Here’s why.
Indoor Temperature Regulation
Experts at the U.S. Department of Energy estimate that 25-30% of residential energy loss is due to poorly insulated windows. That means higher energy bills during both the summer and winter months as the energy you pay good money for escapes through the imperceptible cracks in your home’s foundation.
Because hurricane windows are better insulated than their standard counterparts, they tend to seal in your cold air conditioning during the summer months and prevent your heat from escaping in the winter. This means that you’ll need far less energy to regulate your temperature indoors and have an easier time maintaining your preferred temperature year-round.
Tints & Low-E Coatings
Specialized tints and low-e coatings may be added onto hurricane windows to further optimize their energy-efficient capabilities. Low-emissivity (abbreviated as “low-e”) coatings inlaid atop hurricane glass panels help to filter out infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light that would otherwise contribute to the aggregate heat entering your home on an already sunny day.
Heat metrics are evaluated through the usage of U-factors and R-values. U-factors are ratings that define how much heat-loss a window allows, while R-values measure the opposite—a window’s resistance to outside heat. Due to their specialized reflective glass and coatings, hurricane windows boast low U-factors and high R-values, making them perfect for reflecting unnecessary heat while still allowing for beautiful natural light to fall unhindered through the glass and into your home.
Installation Best Practice
With proper installation, hurricane windows will not degrade over time if left untouched by outside forces and hazards. Professional installation and good-quality framing decreases the amount of energy (and not to mention financial) resources that will have to be poured into new window shutters and upgrades over the years or into maintaining cheaper, degraded models.
However, even the best quality hurricane windows will have their energy-efficient benefits completely neutralized without good quality framing to match. At-home flashing and caulking, or hiring an inexperienced installation team means running the risk of air leakages and increased energy usage all year long. That’s why it’s incredibly important to choose a team with a deep understanding of the time and care required to properly install new hurricane windows.
Acadian’s Energy-Efficient Hurricane Windows
Now that we’ve fully explored the question, “Are hurricane windows energy-efficient?”, a new question is sure to take its place: “Where can I purchase energy-efficient hurricane windows for my home?” Look no further than Acadian Windows, Louisiana and Mississippi’s premier provider of top-quality hurricane windows and siding.
Acadian Windows takes great pride in our ability to make the Gulf South a safer, more energy-efficient place for residents, businesses, and visitors alike. Our mission is to install top-quality windows that lower energy bills for our customers and help the environment at the same time. With our energy-efficient hurricane windows, it’s always a win-win situation.
The coming summer months are sure to herald a familiar set of challenges for local homeowners; why wait to upgrade your windows until after the heat sets in? Contact us today for a consultation with our team or explore our website for more information about our world-class window options.