As the world moves towards environmental friendliness, energy efficiency becomes a top priority for both homeowners and businesses. Innovation in construction and architecture plays a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint and conserving energy. One such breakthrough is insulated glass, an advancement that offers significant energy-saving benefits.
In this article, we’ll look at the science behind insulated glass and how it can enhance energy efficiency in buildings.
Understanding Insulated Glass
Insulated glass is also known as double-glazed or thermal glass. It consists of two or more glass panes separated by an air or gas-filled space. This space is usually only a few millimetres wide.
This space is hermetically sealed, so no air can get in or out. This creates a thermal barrier and minimizes heat transfer through the window. The glass panes are typically also coated with a low-emissivity coating (low-E), which further enhances the insulating properties of the glass.
The Science of Energy Efficiency
The main principle behind insulated glass’s energy efficiency is how it keeps heat from passing through conduction, convection and radiation.
Conduction is the simplest way heat gets transferred. It is when heat passes directly through a material. In traditional, single-pane windows, glass is a poor insulator since it allows heat to move freely between the interior and exterior.
On the other hand, the space between the panes becomes an insulator. It reduces the amount of heat transferred through conduction.
Convection is the movement of heat through a fluid or gas. In single-pane windows, air near the glass surface becomes warmer, rises, and gets replaced by cooler air from the surroundings. This creates a continuous loop of heat transfer.
Insulated glass disrupts this convection loop, as the sealed space prevents air from circulating, thus reducing heat loss or gain.
Radiant heat transfer occurs when heat radiates from a warmer surface to a cooler one. The low-E coatings on the glass surface help minimize radiant heat transfer by reflecting a significant portion of the heat to its source.
This is especially useful during hot summers when unwanted heat from the sun is reflected away, keeping the interior cooler.
Energy Efficiency Benefits
The energy efficiency of insulated glass offers several benefits.
Improved Thermal Insulation
Insulated glass significantly reduces heat loss during the colder months and limits heat gain during hotter seasons. This translates to reduced energy used for heating in winter or cooling in summer. As a result, energy consumption goes down along with its associated cost.
With better insulation, buildings that use insulated glass generally have a more consistent indoor environment. With the temperature staying constant, the environment is typically more comfortable.
Reduced HVAC Load
The reduced heat transfer through insulated glass reduces the strain on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. As a result, these systems operate much more efficiently and have a longer lifespan than otherwise. It also reduces maintenance and repair costs.
Insulated glass reduces energy consumption and decreases carbon footprint, promoting sustainability and environmental preservation.