Choosing Your Windows Wisely
Windows are seldom selected by consumers on the basis of their energy performance alone, as looks are also a major part of a new home construction or home remodel. Justifiably, homeowners tend to focus on appearance, ease of operating mechanism, color and price. Energy impacts tend to take a backseat often primarily due to lack of information on the window itself, but both are important to your window decision. Let’s first take a look at some of the more common window designs.
CASEMENT WINDOWS Casement windows are a popular choice for Florida remodel projects, say the experts at Impact Windows Miami. These windows swing out like a door for opening and are either hinged on the right or left side. One of the main benefits of casement windows is that they provide a larger view and allow more light to enter your home. You won’t find any design that will open as wide as a casement window, as it can open completely away from the frame due to the design of the sash. Casement windows allow for full ventilation and air circulation, and you can even get washable hinges. They also provide peace of mind, as the hook locking mechanism that comes with casement windows makes them harder to break into.
SINGLE AND DOUBLE HUNG WINDOWS In the classic single hung window design, the bottom window is be able to move down and up within the frame of the window. Most homeowners prefer this traditional window style, making it a very popular choice for window replacements and remodels. Double hung windows also slide up and down, but both the upper and lower sections can also tilt out.
PICTURE/ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS You can use these in areas where ventilation is not a big concern, as the main purpose of these windows is to provide light and most of them are Fixed Lite Windows that don’t open. These come in virtually any size and in a variety of shapes such as the standard picture window style, circles, octagons and squares.
WINDOW PERFORMANCE Windows are one of the most multifaceted components of a home, asserts EfficientWindows.org. Your window decision can affect aesthetics, providing not just the outside view, but good ventilation and natural lighting. Your windows also have a major impact on the comfort, energy consumption, maintenance requirements and cost of your home. Factors to take into consideration by your designer include determining the amount and placement of glazing to provide natural ventilation during the cooler months and protection from the sun during the simmering warmer times. Decisions about window size and placement are also integral to the exterior appearance of the home and the interior aesthetic qualities of the spaces. Possible design objectives include creating a sense of spaciousness and providing natural light or particular views. Looks aside, modern high-performance windows are pretty close in terms of total energy savings over long periods of time, says Florida Solar Energy Center, a division of the University of Central Florida. Achieving an acceptable window design for your home, however, depends upon many factors, including:
Which way the window faces in relation to the direction of the sun
How much outside shading is available or planned
How bright the exterior scene is and how dark the interior is, both of which can increase the potential for glare
Hurricane code requirements for impact resistance
The importance to the homeowner of maintaining an unobstructed view to the outside
The homeowner’s desire for acoustic isolation in noisy environments
Whether the window can meet aesthetic desires for appearance and quality
Says Nigel Maynard for Architect Magazine, “The standard in windows today is a double-glazed low-E window with insulation between the panes. A vast improvement over a single pane, insulated windows are better at preventing heat loss and heat gain, keeping the internal temperature of a house relatively stable…Such a window—if it’s Energy Star rated—has a U-factor (the rate of heat transfer and an indication of how well the window insulates) of 0.30 to 0.60 and a solar heat gain coefficient (which indicates how well the window blocks heat caused by sunlight) of 0.27 to 0.40.”
With more than 20 years of construction and remodel experience, J. Sweet Construction can answer your window questions and help guide you in choosing the perfect windows for your Florida home remodel. Give us a call today!