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Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass Explained: Frequently Asked Questions

Low-E glass has been around for quite some time, but homeowners still have plenty of questions concerning its functionality and the technology behind it. In this post, we answer the most frequently asked questions about Low-E glass.

Low Emissivity Glass Part 3 Frequently Asked Questions Low E Glass

First, let’s discuss how the glass on your windows impacts your home’s energy consumption and, ultimately, how much you spend on heating and cooling.

1. Is the type of glass my windows use important?

Yes! The glass pane is the biggest part of the window. As such, glass is also the single largest contributing factor to heat loss or gain. In a home, excessive heat loss or heat gain translates to higher energy consumption and higher energy bills.

But how does heat increase energy consumption?

Windows are one of the trickiest areas of the house to insulate because they’re made of glass. According to the United States Department of Energy, cooling and heating costs account for 48% of a home’s energy bills.

In the summer, heat from the sun increases the temperature inside the home, which is why you run your air conditioning unit. During the winter, the amount of energy required to keep the home warm depends on the temperature outside the home and the amount of heat escaping from poorly insulated areas.

Therefore, it’s imperative that every part of the home is well insulated to prevent heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.

2. How does Low-E glass work?

Low-E glass is the most viable solution to the problem of window insulation. This type of glass is coated with a virtually invisible layer of metallic oxide. With this coating, the window allows sunlight through like normal glass, but it also has the distinct ability to prevent outdoor heat from passing through.

In the daytime, sunlight can pass through the glass but the window actually blocks solar heat. With less heat entering the home, you won’t need to run your air conditioner as often in the summer, which will result in lower energy bills

In the winter, Low-E glass prevents indoor heat from escaping out of the home. This means you’ll have to rely less on your heater, which translates to energy savings.

3. What are the benefits of Low-E glass windows over traditional glass?

The single most important advantage of low-emissivity (low-e) glass over traditional window glass is better energy efficiency. Low-E glass helps lower the home’s energy consumption, thus reducing energy costs as well. But better energy efficiency isn’t the only advantage of Low-E glass.

Low-E glass is environmentally friendly

Because it’s so energy-efficient, Low-E glass is more sustainable than regular glass. Homeowners with energy-efficient windows will consume less energy, which helps reduce their carbon footprint.

Low-E glass gives improved safety

In addition to energy savings from Low-E glass, it is also safer than traditional window glass. When ordinary window glass shatters, glass flies in every direction, which is a safety hazard. Low-E glass has a thin coating similar to that of a car’s windshield. This means that in the unlikely event a Low-E glass window breaks, the coating will still hold the glass in place and prevent it from shattering into dangerous shards.

Low-E glass provides UV protection and prevents fading of home décor

Another advantage of Low-E glass is that it helps protect the coating of furniture and flooring from UV damage. When furnishings or paintings are exposed to the sun over time, they’ll eventually fade. In homes that do not have Low-E glass windows, you’ll notice that parts of your flooring and furniture that are regularly exposed to sunlight tend to be a bit faded. Since Low-E glass prevents UV light from passing through, it helps prevent your valuables from fading.

4. How much do Low-E glass windows cost?

When Low-E glass was invented and first used on windows, it was only used in commercial buildings mainly due to the prohibitive costs. These windows were so expensive that only corporations could afford them.

However, as the technology became more popular and more readily available to window glass manufacturers, the cost of energy-efficient windows began to drop. Today, even ordinary homeowners can afford to have energy-efficient windows installed in their homes.

*To get a quote on your own home, reach out to our window experts.

5. Which Is better, soft coat Low-E glass or hard coat?

Soft coat and hard coat are the two main types of Low-E glass. These pertain to the type of glazing applied on the glass. In terms of energy efficiency, soft coat glazing actually has a better energy efficiency rating than hard coat.

6. Do all Low-E glass windows provide the same energy savings?

The amount of energy a home can save using Low-E glass windows will depend on several factors. These include the size of the window and whether the window has other energy-saving technologies, such as argon-filled glass panels.

The number of glass panels a window has will also affect its energy efficiency. In general, windows that have at least two glass panels will be able to save more energy than those that only have one.

Energy-efficient windows that have two or more glass panels will usually have a small space between the panels. In some windows, that space is filled with regular air. However, some window manufacturers fill up this space with a gas called argon. This gas further helps improve the energy efficiency of the window.


If you want to make the most of Low-E glass, get your windows from a reliable and certified window contractor and entrust installation to them as well. This way, you will not only enjoy the benefits of Low-E glass, but the warranties and other perks that come with professional window replacement, too.

Renewal by Andersen of Oregon & Southwest Washington is here to help. Reach out today for a free quote.


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Our project specialists will individually size your windows to ensure accuracy. They will also happily answer any follow-up questions before finalizing your customized order.

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