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Low-e Window Glass

Low-e Window glass is actually a pretty fascinating subject given all of the advances in the technology over the past several years. There are now lots of options available to consumers in terms of the right low-e glass for your home and climate. While a knowledgeable contractor or window company should be able to suggest the right low-e option for your window replacement project, it's never a bad idea to understand the basics of how this works.

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Low-e Basics

Low-e stands for low emissivity, which is a measure for how much heat is tranferred through the surface of the glass. Clear glass is the least expensive and most simple home window glass available. It has no layers or coating applied to the surface and is therefore does not filter out any of the heat from the UV rays. Low-e glass has one or more thin layers of coating (made up of metallic particles) that are applied to the surface that act similarly to a sieve. These layers help to filter out heat (long wavelengths), while allowing light (short wavelengths) to filter through.

However, recent advances in the actual materials that make up the coating, the number of layers and how the layers are stacked on top of one another opens up lots of different options. Low-e glass manufacturers can get lots of light into a room, while still keeping the U-factor low. They can help reduce fading to carpet and furniture that comes from the UV rays. They can increase the insulating value by adding an argon gas to the coats. They can raise or lower SHGC, solar heat gain co-efficient, by altering the layers and adding a tint. In addition to the SHGC, manipulating the tinting can affect performance etc.

Cost Low-e Glass

Some window manufacturers have five or six different glass options, which are all priced out slightly differently. The cost of low-e glass will depend on the grade and thickness of the glass, the number of layers or coating, as well as any tinting that is added. A simple low-e glass often comes standard on many windows, although some manufacturers try to lower the initial price of the window by only including a clear glass. In general, an upgrade can run anywhere from $25 to $75 per window.

-- Price Range: $25 to $75 upgrade per window --

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