The Pros and Cons of Low-E Glass

Every so often over the course of architectural history, windows have a flash. And while we’re not currently witnessing the aesthetic heights of the Gothic cathedral era, we are witnessing big evolutions in window technology.

Where once windows were a decided weak spot in an exceedingly home’s building envelope, the technology has advanced specified windows can now be a real ally in building high-performing homes.

This post will consider Low-E glass: what it’s, why you’d possibly want it, why you’d possibly depart this world, and what you must consider about it.

What is Low-E Glass?

Low-e stands for low emissivity. The term applies to sheet glass that’s been treated so limit what quantity of heat passes through it. Here’s how it works.

Low-e glass has been coated with an especially (microscopically) thin layer of silver, zinc, or indium tin oxide. Although we can’t see it, this layer is reflective, and it causes infrared and ultraviolet rays to heal where they came from.

The coatings don’t impact the quantity of electromagnetic radiation which can enter a region. Limiting infrared emission that passes through the window, however, allows the coating to limit the amount of heat transfer that happens between home and also the surface world.

Infrared light heats things up. Those warm, sunny patches on our floors that our cats from are the results of infrared light passing through ordinary window panes. It’s great for cats, but less good for our energy bills during the summer.

With a Low-E coating, a window can reflect alternative energy back outside and keep the air heated and cooled by our HVAC systems where it belongs, in our homes.

Here is a variety of the strongest reasons why people might want to require a grip in Low-E glass.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the most important pro of investing in Low-E windows. Heat transfer through a traditional window in the form of a two-way street—the sun’s rays can warm a region, but heat can also shake that room by warming the glass, which may allow that energy to tolerate the surface.

That might not be such an infinite deal in certain months in certain parts of the country, but in winter, if your windows and doors in Regina are bleeding heart, that’s obviously ideal for your comfort, your home, and your pocketbook.

UV Light Blockage

Excessive UV rays aren’t great for people and they aren’t great for fabrics or finishings, either. Over time, exposure to UV light can fade interior furnishings like rugs, curtains, sofas, chairs, and artwork.

Since Low-E glass reduces the amount of UV light that enters a home, your furnishings, especially those fabricated from fabric, should see an extended life and fewer fading and damage.

Long-Term Cost Savings

Low-e windows will reduce energy bills, which could prevent money in the future. The U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that Low-E windows “can reduce window energy use by 30-40%.”

Given that windows, doors, and skylights are often responsible for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss, to keep with NRCan, which will make this a worthwhile purchase, looking at the age and condition of your current windows.

The Cons of Low-E Glass

It’s not all upsides for Low-E glass, however, so let’s consider some common reasons why it might not be the foremost effective suitable for you and your home.


The first disadvantage is cost. Windows with Low-E glass are costlier, plain, and easy. Energy Manager Steve DeBusk states that the ROI for Low-E windows “tends to be within the 20- to 30-year range” simply for glass replacement and not even for the replacement of entire windows.

And while these windows will reduce utility bills, the reductions may be very slight, counting on the windows you’re replacing. If you’ve perfectly serviceable double-pane windows already, Low-E glass probably won’t make a dramatic difference.

Sell Signals

Another disadvantage is the effect Low-E glass has on telephone reception. The metallic coatings applied to Low-E glass don’t just block infrared and ultraviolet rays—they block radio-frequency signals, as well.

While the blocking effects will probably be more form of a dip in reception than an outright stoppage, this might still be a consideration if you reside in tech-heavy home life.


Low-e glass isn’t perfectly transparent. It does reflect some light, and in and of itself, can give the window a tiny low blue-green color. This glass can even give the window a little amount of a haze. That haze isn’t a functional problem, but it would be an aesthetic one for you.

Other Technical Considerations

There are two forms of glass coatings that you simply should fathom because they will have a control on your purchasing decision: passive Low-E coatings and solar control Low-E coatings.

Windows with passive coatings allow more energy to radiate through, which suggests they’re less good at insulating, but better for passive heating. If your windows are large and south-facing and you reside in an exceedingly very colder climate, these can be a good option because you’ll be able to use some solar energy to heat your home after you wish it most.

Solar control coatings are a much better insulator because they let less energy through. If hot summers are a problem for you, or if your windows aren’t ideally sized or located for passive heating anyway, this feature is also worth considering because you’ll lose less conditioned air.

In addition to the sort of Low-E coating, the position of the coating itself plays an infinite role in how the window performs. Manufacturers can apply the coating to different glass surfaces of a double- or triple-pane window to change the way the window operates.

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