Insulating glass is found in windows that have more than a single pane of glass separating the inside from the outside of the home. In any effort to increase energy efficiency, it is essential to rely on insulating glass, because single panes simply do not perform in the same way. Double and triple glazed windows are much better and more effective insulators and are really the only way to go for anyone looking to increase energy efficiency in their window replacement project. There are several different strategies that window manufacturers use in the design of energy star rated windows with insulating glass in order to make them as effective as they can be at achieving the desired result.
R Value and Window Insulation
The first thing most people look at when they are considering insulating glass is the R value of the glass. This value basically is a numerical representation of a window's tendency to lose heat. Low R values are problematic. A single pane window might have an R value typically around R 1. By and large, the vast majority of insulating glass windows has an R value of 2 or above. Anything less than this is unacceptable for those who are seeking energy efficiency, which is really what insulated glass is all about.
But although it may be the value easiest to understand because we are already familiar with it from dealing with wall insulation numbers, R value is only one component of the energy efficiency picture of a window system. For example, finding a window with an R value of 3 might mean you've located a very energy efficient window, but in some environments it might not make a whole lot of sense to spend all the extra money necessary to get that window for your home. Getting up to that number can cost a lot of money and the potential energy savings might never actually come to fruition if the walls or other parts of the home are not properly insulated and sealed up from the elements. For this reason, certain insulating glass windows can actually make bad financial investments in some situations.
Benefits of Insulating Glass
Although there are cautionary tales that illustrate the importance of understanding what is an appropriate time to invest in these high performance units; windows containing insulated glass do offer some tremendous benefits for consumers when they are installed appropriately. For example, they are acoustical insulators as well as thermal ones. So one of the corollary benefits to choosing these models is the great sound insulation you'll get in both directions. Your neighbors won't hear the loud classic rock music you sing along to while you do the dishes, and you don't have to hear that hot rod down the street every time it comes roaring past your house. This is a great benefit of high end windows that many people do not even think about unless they hear it from a window company sales pitch.
Another hidden benefit for those who suffer from allergies and other problems is the greater protection these units offer from dust and pollen. They can keep you breathing easier and keep the inside of your home a healthier environment to live in.
Insulating Glass Windows
Most of these windows have multiple panes of insulating glass. Most are double paned; although triple paned windows are available. They are much less popular than the ones with double glazing because of the often huge difference in cost, in spite of their great performance. In most environments double paned windows do a fine job of providing energy efficient performance.