Whether you’re choosing windows for new construction or in the market for the best replacement windows, you know there are a lot of options before you. While the availability of these many options can easily overwhelm anyone, most people would rather go for replacement insulated glass panels. Truth is, a vacuum insulated glass is your best bet if energy-efficiency is a priority for you. But then, before you go searching for where to buy insulated glass units, it makes sense to understand the different types available so you can know what to expect. This guide will provide clear insights into the different options before you.
What is Insulated Glass and How Does it Work?
In its basic form, insulated glass is a glass unit comprised of two or more panes of glass which are separated by an inert gas. They are oftentimes referred to as double pane or double glazing. Each of the panes in a unit of this glass is separated by a vacuum or a space filled with an inert gas. The gases mostly used are argon and krypton or sometimes, a mixture of both. The glass component of these units usually vary in thickness and may be tempered or laminated.
The unit also incorporates a spacer at the edges where the glass components meet. This spacer in a vacuum insulated glass is usually a desiccant that absorbs moisture between the glass panes to prevent fogging. The wider the spacer, the more efficient and expensive the unit tends to be. This effectively provides an insulating barrier that prevents heat transfer between the indoors and outdoors. While two panes are very common, some units make do with three panes. This is especially useful when sound or extra heat needs to be insulated. Vacuum glass units panels are great for a wide range of applications that may include:
- High-quality glazing for both residential and commercial buildings
- Buildings with high UV light exposure like structural glazing, roof glazing, etc
- Houses in regions with high heat and humidity levels
- Specialty glass such as Low-E glass, laminated glass
- Buses, trains, and transportation applications, etc
How Insulated Glass Helps to Reduce Energy Consumption
The vacuum insulated glass does a good job of insulating the indoors from the outdoors such that the ideal ambient indoor temperature can be easily maintained. This is all thanks to the thickness of the glass and more importantly, the insulated spaces between each of the glass panes. This significantly reduces the influence of the outdoor temperature on the indoor. Your home’s energy efficiency gets a substantial boost in the process, ultimately lowering your energy bill. Additionally, a window coating may be incorporated. This can help absorb sunlight in cold climates or reflect it in warm climates. This also lends a further boost to the energy efficiency making these replacement glass panels really worth the investment.
Different Insulated Glass Types for Windows
If you’re considering new or replacement windows for your home, a vacuum insulated glass is a worthy option in this case. Insulated glass windows are specially optimized for energy efficiency. Replacement insulated glass panels have a high energy efficiency while still retaining the aesthetics of conventional glass. This could either be laminated or tempered depending on safety or security needs. Insulated glass windows can serve a wide range of applications from residential to commercial or business construction. But even before you go looking for where to buy insulated glass unit online, it should interest you that not all IG units are the same. Some of the different types of vacuum insulated glass units are discussed below.
Low-E Insulated Glass Unit
A Low-E IGU, also known as a low emissivity insulated glass unit is specially made to reduce the infrared and ultraviolet rays passing through the windows to the barest minimum. These glass units have a thin microscopic coating. The coating is much thinner than a human hair so you really can’t make it out. This Low-E coating effectively reflects the interior temperature right back inside so the temperature can remain consistent.
Low-E IGU comes in two varieties. There is the hard coat Passive Low-E coating which allows a bit of the infrared rays to pass through the glass. This reflects some of the heat inside and can be a great addition to homes in extremely cold climates. There is also the soft coat Solar Control Low-E that offers better UV protection. This coating reflects cool air into the room and is suitable for homes in both cold and hot climates.
Argon Filled Insulated Glass Unit
Argon, as well as other inert gases and even air, can be used to fill the spaces between glass panes for insulation. However, the low-conductivity nature of the argon gas makes it very good at reducing both convective and conductive heat transfers, compared to the average vacuum insulated glass. The use of argon in argon-filled insulated glass units comes with improved performance and high insulating benefits. It is a great option that can easily meet most energy codes and specific insulation requirements.
Dual Seal Silicone Insulated Glass Unit
Dual Seal Silicone Insulated Glass Units are also another excellent choice if you’re in the market for replacement insulated glass panels. These glass units have very low moisture penetration properties, compared to most organically-sealed glass units. When made with high-quality materials they have great longevity and can outlive many other types. Under normal service conditions, these glass units can withstand most environmental factors that can induce aging such as heat, humidity, and ultraviolet light. This is due to the resilience of the silicone secondary sealants. These units are therefore highly suited for various applications that may involve exposure to high heat and humidity. They can also be applied for use in buses and trains as well as in residential and commercial glazing, among others.
Laminated glasses can be used in replacement insulated glass panels. They are usually applied for structural and safety reasons. Laminated glass is typically a bond of two or more glass sheets. These sheets are then held together by a plastic interlayer that strengthens its impact resistance. While the glass is ordinarily stronger than the average glass, the interlayer which may be either polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), helps to hold it in place when shattered. This also helps to reduce the risk of injury. Laminated glasses are generally used as safety glazing materials. They are great when you need a vacuum insulated glass for use in hurricane-resistant windows and intrusion-protection, among others.
Which Insulated Glass is the Best for Commercial Buildings?
Vacuum insulated glass units are commonly used in commercial buildings from windows to curtain walls, and skylights, among others. Meeting building codes and longevity are usually major priorities for most commercial constructions. However, the longevity of an IG unit usually depends on the quality of the desiccant as well as the quality of the sealants within the spacer. Dual Seal Silicone Insulated Glass Units have a great performance and will easily meet all of these requirements. Argon-filled insulated glass units are also a great option if you’re considering replacement insulated glass panels for use in a commercial building.
Both residential and commercial buildings in need of quality glazing would find vacuum insulated glass units highly valuable. The thermal performance of these glass units is expressed by thermal conductance, which is in turn expressed as a U-Value. A low U-Value means less heat transmission through the glass as well as better overall performance. If you’re already looking for where to buy insulated glass online, this guide should help you make the most of the process.
At the end of the day, getting these replacement insulated glass panels will turn out a worthy investment. Vacuum insulated glass units will help you keep your home’s comfort. Still, you’ll get to retain the traditional appeal and aesthetics of glass with lower heating and cooling costs. And then this expression goes very right here “Who says you can’t eat your cake and have it?” Yup with insulated glass units, you certainly can!