Windows in addition to being a very attractive feature of most houses, can also be a huge help or detriment to energy efficiency.
Cold Climate Tips
1. Place a clear plastic sheet on the inside of your window frames. If the plastic is sealed tightly, it will help reduce infiltration of cold air into your home.
2. Close your curtains and shades at night but leave them open during the day to make use of natural sunlight.
3. Keep windows on the south facing side of your house clean and leave curtains open to let in the winter sun.
4. Install exterior or interior storm windows. Storm windows can reduce heat loss by 25% to 50%.
5. Repair your current storm windows.
1. Install white curtains or shades to reflect the sun away from windows.
2. Close curtains during the day.
3. Apply sun control or reflective films on south facing windows.
Efficient windows usually have two or more panes of glass, improved framing material and microscopic coatings that help keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.
Windows have a great ability to regulate building climate if designed and operated correctly. Windows allow for passive solar heating because of the passage and then absorption of sunlight into the building’s interior as well as passive cooling through circulation of air. In cold climates windows should face south to collect the most amount of heat in the winter when the sun is at a lower angle. To effectively allow solar heat gain the windows should have solar heat gain coefficients of 0.6 or greater and a U-factor of 0.35 or less, and a high visible transmittance. In warm climates windows should face north and should have solar heat gain coefficients that are low such as low-e, tinted, reflective, etc. Air circulation works on the well known principle that hot air rises and cool air sinks. Therefore if you open certain windows at different times of of the day you can create a desirable air flow and climate indoors. It is generally cooler at night and in the early morning so opening the upper windows in a home will allow the hot air to escape and the cool air in. If you wanted to maintain the heat in your home open lower level windows which will allow hot air to rise but not escape. By opening some upper and lower windows you can create air circulation through the home without the need of a fan. With these techniques and windows shading you can save a lot of energy.
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