I’m writing this article near the end of June while Vancouver is experiencing a heat wave after several weeks of above average temperatures, clear blue skies, and record amounts of sunshine. It’s the weekend, and I was out picking up a few items at the local Rona so I can complete a project in our back garden. Once parked, I had to jockey my way into the store around the big line of customers buying air-conditioners and fans. On the way to the store in the morning I noticed that most of the homes I passed had all of their windows open wide, and I assume this was an attempt to capture some cool air, rather than a desire to listen to the bass pumping from the sports car in front of me. I realized that all of these homes must still have older technology windows, or if they were new, the owners didn’t know how to take advantage of the amazing insulating qualities offered by modern glass units.
Without getting into the debate about Global Warming, it is safe to say that we appear to be in a period of generally higher temperatures from California on up the coast. Even before this recent hot spell, we could always count on several days during any summer that I can remember when it gets rather warm and houses can become uncomfortable. That is, houses that have old technology glass in their windows, and homeowners who don’t understand that if it’s hot outside modern glazing is designed to work best if the windows are kept closed during the heat of the day. I find that many people get confused about statistics and numbers that refer to ‘relative heat gain’; ‘energy ratings’; ‘shade coefficient’; etc. What most of us want to know is: will I be more comfortable in my home if I have the latest glazing technology? In other words…will I be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer heat? Absolutely.
Our home and my personal experience are typical of what we hear from customers every day. My old windows were aluminum double glazed with regular clear glass, manufactured prior to the quantum leaps in glass coating technology. We replaced them a few years ago with LOW E3 glass, and the difference in comfort is dramatic. When I come home in late afternoon after the windows have been closed all day to keep the heat out, our home is several degrees cooler than the outside temperature, and it feels like I’m walking into air-conditioned space. We’re able to sleep in comfort, especially if we open the windows and patio doors to let the air in after the sun has dipped below the trees. I don’t really care what the shading numbers are, I just know we’re comfortable and that’s what counts. The primary reason is that this new glazing stops almost all of the sun’s heat right at the glass, before it ever gets into our home. We have had several customers who initially only changed a few windows, calling us now that summer is here saying that they really need to get the rest done because they can feel the difference first hand.
So when I pull the covers up to my chin tonight instead of throwing them on the floor, I’ll thank those brilliant scientists who came up with the idea of putting a reflective coating right on the surface of the glass in windows.
Be cool, and carry on.