What Does Insulated Glass Mean?
The term insulated glass materials are created by stacking multiple pieces of glass together and then sealing the edges. An air space is left to create a single unit and is an effective way to reduce heat transfer through a process of glazing. A configuration most commonly used in architecture is insulating glass is 1/4″ glass with 1/2″ air space and another 1/4″ layer of glass.
Insulated glass materials are often referred to in the industry as an “IGU” and when used in combination with Low-E or reflective glass coatings, it becomes an effective way of conserving energy and comply with energy requirement in building codes, such as using insulated glass in windows. In this article, we are going to answer some common questions about this product and how it is used.
Components of Insulated Glass Units
Glass – The glass in IGUs can be a range of thicknesses or type. Laminated or tempered glass may be used in areas where safety or strength is a priority. IGUs can also contain up to three panes of glass where extra heat or sound insulation is required. Thicker glass is more expensive but more efficient.
Spacer – IGUs utilize a spacer that separates the two glass panes where they meet at the edges / window frame. These spacers usually have some sort of desiccant to absorb moisture between the panes and prevent fogging. The width of the spacers depends on the gas used for insulation and window type. Generally, the wider the spacer, the more efficient (and expensive) the window.
Window Frame – Insulated glass is used in many different types of windows where efficiency is required: double hung windows, picture windows, casement windows and skylights use insulated glass to prevent heat loss.
Gas – The gas used between the glass panes varies with each manufacturer. In general, an inert gas such as argon, krypton or a mixture of both creates the insulating barrier between the indoors and outdoors.
Are glass windows energy efficient?
More than 40% of the average household’s budget is spent on cooling and heating. By installing the correct selection of exterior doors and windows, that amount is significantly lowered. When the savings are considered over the lifetime of the doors and windows, the expense of having them installed more than balances out.
It is the advancements that have been made in this technology using a glass coating, spacer system, and the precision-engineered designs to create insulated glass materials that have achieved these desired results for specific needs and personal preferences.
In areas of the country where the weather may have the extreme cold, extreme heat, or if direct sunlight is constant, installing windows made of insulated glass materials is the best way to assure year-round comfort and energy-saving means. And upgrade to a laminated security glass provides a layer of security, leading to additional peace of mind as well.
How does insulated glass work?
Insulated glass materials aredesigned with the purpose to keep homes warm in the cold months of winter and cool in the hot months of summer. The common manufacturing of insulated glass panels is done by stacking multiple panes of glass together with a spacer in between each one to keep them separated and then seal those pieces of glass and the spacers together around the edge.
Argon, krypton, or other types of noble gas is used to fill the airspace to create the insulating material. There are two surfaced to each glass pane, creating the typical double-paned glass with four surfaces.
This gas that is used to create the insulated glass materials provides additional insulation. Because gas is denser than air, it is less likely to allow heat to conduct through the insulated glass materials, and when combined with a Low-e glass coating, the total u-value is improved.
U-value is how the heat transmission is measured, and the lower the u-value number, the better the insulating glass unit. The u-value for a window is improved over 15% with 90% argon gas fill is used instead of air and in combination with Low-e insulated glass materials. With krypton used in a similar process, the u-value is improved to as much as27%. This combination is costly and time-consuming, which affects the end price paid by the consumer.
Does thicker glass insulate?
Insulating glass materials keeps the cool inside during the summer and the warmth inside during the winter by way of argon or krypton gas installed between two panes of glass. Because gas is denser than air, it provides additional insulation.
Most people ask about the thickness of glass for sound control, but there is a more important feature thicker glass provides, and after installation of a double-pane glass, detecting the thickness is impossible to see. When evaluating the thickness of glass, there are two important facts to take into consideration:
l Thickness Explained
The American windows have 5 basic glass thicknesses that range between 2.2mm to 5.9mm thickness. These are the minimal requirements that many window manufacturers follow to select the thickness of glass for their windows. The thinnest glass is used by most builders for their single strength grade in the residential window arena, also referred to as “builder-grade”.
l Thicker Is Better
For a couple of reasons, double-strength glass is thicker and better than single strength. The thicker the glass, the more durable it is. Thicker glass adds to the window’s structural stability, and thicker glass is more soundproof.
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