Energy efficiency: two words that have been at the forefront of many homeowners’ minds, in recent years especially. A growing awareness of how the ways we consume energy affects our planet, coupled with a desire to save money on utilities, has led to surging demand for energy-efficient building products.
As a result, today’s homeowners are surrounded by innovations and technologies that can help increase energy efficiency, including all-electric HVAC systems, long-lasting LED light bulbs that use less energy than conventional bulbs, and ENERGY STAR®-rated, low-emissivity (low-E) doorglass and windows. Some products contribute more than others to lowering your carbon footprint, but each one can help lower your energy bills.
Doors and Windows and Home Comfort
Doors and windows merge our homes’ interior with the outside world. We take advantage of wide, clear glass panes to enjoy views of the outdoors from the comfort of our conditioned home interiors. On milder weather days, we can open windows and set doors ajar to bring in fresh outdoor air. One of the most significant roles that doors and windows play is letting natural light into the home.
But with sunlight comes heat.
Solar heat gain may be welcome in colder months since it can help warm up a space and reduce demands on the heating system. However, that same solar heat gain can be burdensome during the warm summer months for homeowners who don’t have insulated or energy-efficient glass in their doors and windows. Areas of the home that receive a lot of natural light can suddenly feel stiflingly hot, while less exposed areas of the home are much cooler. A variable-speed HVAC system, like today’s all-electric heat pumps, may be able to regulate a home’s temperature efficiently, but the millions of homeowners who still have traditional systems could see their energy bills increase. That’s because these less efficient systems are required to work harder and use more energy to regulate the inconsistency in temperature.
The thermal performance of doorglass and windows is measured by two properties: resistance to heat flow and resistance to sunlight warmth. When the values of both of these properties are low enough, the glass can qualify for ENERGY STAR certifications and help homeowners earn points toward other green building certifications.
One of the best ways to achieve low values is to select doorglass and windows that are finished with a low-E coating.
Low-E glass uses a microscopically thin, transparent coating that, when applied to doorglass and windows, reflects heat and reduces the glass’s ability to radiate energy. We tested the performance of our enclosed doorglass blinds paired with a triple-glazed low-E glass and found that this combination was able to reduce heat transmission by up to 28 percent!
In addition to the energy efficiency benefit, low-E glass also minimizes the amount of infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light that is able to pass through the glass. UV light is high energy and capable of causing chemical changes, including the discoloration of fabrics and other materials over time. So, by using low-E glass, homeowners are not only protecting their energy bills but also their belongings.
Why Energy Efficiency Matters
In addition to its effect on energy bills, each time a non-electric mechanical system or appliance is turned on within a home, it uses energy and, consequently, contributes to the rising carbon levels in the atmosphere that are the driving factor of global climate change. But energy efficiency doesn’t stop at appliances.
As we touched on above, every component of a home from its lighting fixtures to its water heater to its front door can play a big role in helping lower energy usage. That’s why, in an effort to minimize homeowners’ carbon footprints, the Department of Energy recommends a whole-home systems approach to energy efficiency. Homes built with energy-efficient systems and materials use less power and can reduce the home’s contribution to climate change. This includes systems that operate on electricity rather than fossil fuels, and materials that optimize the home’s thermal performance by resisting solar heat gain.
Green and Beautiful
Some homeowners worry that pursuing a green home will limit their options of building materials, forcing them to choose between aesthetics and efficiency. Well, at ODL, we believe there’s no reason that an energy-efficient home should have to compromise beauty or natural light. Many of our decorative doorglass designs are available with single or dual low-E glass.
The low-E coating is so thin that it does not affect the amount of visible light that enters the home to brighten and beautify.
ODL doorglass — both decorative and clear — can help your home achieve greater energy efficiency without any sacrifice to your curb appeal or impact on your natural light.
To learn more about the technical aspects of ODL doorglass, please visit our technical information page.