Getting Started with Energy Efficient Windows
There are a lot of different components to a home that can impact your energy emissions. Some of these are pretty obvious, but others aren’t as much. Given the Valley Windows team passion around providing you with a better view, it’s important to us to share this information with our blog readers. You may not think that windows can affect your carbon footprint, but they can. Think about it, in warmer months, they can provide a lot of unwanted heat. Conversely during colder seasons, they let all of this heat out. Not only can they positively impact the sustainability of your home, but they can also lower your monthly energy costs. The Valley Windows team is kicking off a series discussing just that – energy efficient windows.
What Are Energy Efficient Windows?
We’re sure that many of you are wondering – what makes a window energy efficient? Luckily there are lots of resources online that clarify exactly what specifications different regions of Australia have in order to ensure that your windows meet all of the requirements. The Window Energy Rating Scheme (or WERS for short) is an organization whose mission to rate window product energy efficiency performance. In order to participate in WERS, any window making company has to receive energy ratings from an independent organization that the Australian Fenestration Rating Council deems acceptable.
WERS has been underwritten by the federal government’s Australian Greenhouse Office and they know that energy efficient windows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The window making industry is moving away from just providing a functional product that is incorporated into the design of a home to an element that improves the lives of the home’s inhabitants.
Regional Specifications for Energy Efficient Windows
We mentioned that there are different regional specifications for windows to be energy efficient. The country is split into three different zones – cooling climate zones, mixed climate zones and heating climate zones.
First up, let’s talk about cooling climate zones. In these types of areas, you want to keep all unwanted heat out of your house. This is best mitigated by windows that have a cap on solar heat and have good insulation.
Mixed climate zones are a little bit different. You still want to keep unwanted heat of your house. However, if the year holds a relatively mild winter, you will want to retain all of the solar heat gain that you can. You’re best served by different glazing solutions in these environments with strong solar control on all windows facing east or west.
Finally, you have heating climate zones. Here, it’s paramount to keep all heat in your house and take advantage of solar energy. Look for windows that are insulated well and allow maximum free solar energy. According to WERS, “In a cold region, large west-facing windows may contribute to short-term overheating in summer but glazing with a low solar heat gain coefficient must be used with caution on the west because of the energy penalty it causes over the rest of the year.”
More to come on energy efficient windows. Feel free to reach out to the Valley Windows team with any questions you have.