For 40 years, Magic has provided the GTA with some of the most advanced residential windows in the world. Our innovative replacement windows, patio doors and Window Walls can add style and performance to any home. Welcome to our blog, where we provide consumers with the information and inspiration they need to make informed decisions about replacing their windows.
As the world grows more energy-conscious with every passing year, energy efficient windows are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. This article aims to educate you on why you should choose energy efficient windows and how to know which windows truly are energy efficient. You will better understand seemingly complex terms such as “low-E coatings”, “U-Factor”, and “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient”, and how they can aid you on your energy efficient window search.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about getting energy efficient replacement windows in Canada in 2023.
Browse This Content:
- Heating and cooling costs
- Canada Greener Homes eligibility
- More natural light
- Reduced condensation on windows
- Increased comfort
- The glass
- Low-e coating
- Insulated window filling
- Warm-edge spacers
- The frame
- The screen
- Energy efficiency metrics
- Canadian rating systems
- The National Fenestration Rating Council
- Canada’s Window Energy Rating
How Will an Energy Efficient Window Benefit You?
Here are some ways that you as a homeowner will directly benefit from your decision to go the environmentally-friendly route.
Lower heating and cooling costs
The most energy efficient windows are estimated to reduce your energy bill by up to $340 annually. This could end up saving you up to $10,200 when applied to the 30 years it could take before needing replacement!
Canada Greener Homes Grant eligibility
In case you haven’t heard, you may be eligible for a government grant of up to $5,000 to pay for home upgrades that will improve the energy efficiency of your home. For bigger projects, you may also want to consider the Canada Greener Homes Loan, which ranges from $5,000 – $40,000. This loan is interest free, and to be paid back over 10 years.
More natural light
Ideally, your new window will let in the most natural light possible. Factors such as fixed insect screens, big bulky window frames, or too much glazing can impede the amount of natural light entering the house. Features like retractable screens, custom-formulated glass, and a thinner (but durable) frame can diminish the amount of light lost without sacrificing insulation.
Reduced condensation on windows
Many homeowners aren’t aware that the presence of condensation on their windows could be a sign of inefficiency. It will also obstruct your view and, in some cases, cause mold and mildew on your window. If you notice condensation between your window panes, it means that the integrity of the window seal has been compromised and is letting water vapour enter between window frames.
If a replacement window is energy efficient, this means it is well-capable of protecting your home from the harsh winter temperatures known to all Ontario residents. Instead of settling for uncomfortable drafts while you sit by the window, give yourself the power to fully control your home’s temperature at any given time with an effective window replacement.
Qualities of Energy-Efficient Windows
Here are some things to look out for when selecting which energy efficient windows are right for you:
1. The Glass
The ideal energy-efficient window is tailored to your specific home’s needs. Here are some of the features you should look into while trying to find the right window glass for you.
View this post on Instagram
Low-E (or low-emissivity) coatings are transparent, ultra-thin coatings added to the glazings of a window that help regulate the passage of solar radiation. These coatings should be tailored to meet the specific needs of different regions and climates.
In Southern Ontario where the weather changes drastically throughout the year, a balanced low-E formula such as the ClimaGuard 70/36 is ideal. It’s designed to allow you to take advantage of the sun’s heat in the winter, without trapping too much heat in the summer.
Insulated Window Filling
Insulated window fillings (such as gas fills) can help improve your window’s U-Factor (the energy efficiency metric that represents how well your windows can insulate your home and retain heat). The most energy efficient windows use heavy gases to fill the space between the glass panes in your window units. These gases help the unit to resist air transfer and keep the heat in.
Warm Edge Window Spacers
As the seasons change and temperatures fluctuate, windows run the risk of expansion and contraction. As a result, seal failure in cheap or aging windows is incredibly common.
Warm edge spacers insulate the edges of a window unit and keep the glass panes firmly apart. They expand and contract with the movement of the glass to prevent gas from escaping. This airtight seal also protects against heat loss, air leakage, and condensation forming inside the panes.
2. The Frame
The most common materials used for window frames are vinyl, aluminum, wood, and fiberglass. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. When choosing between window frames, new customers often lean towards vinyl frames, and it’s easy to see why; they’re affordable, low maintenance and thermally efficient. The downside is that these frames lack strength, rigidity and durability, making them highly susceptible to wear-and-tear and expansion and contraction from the fluctuating temperatures experienced in Ontario. This significantly shortens the lifespan of vinyl frames.
At Magic Windows, we take a different approach to window frames by combining the insulating benefits of vinyl with the strength and durability of aluminum for a frame that prioritizes long-term air tightness.
Hybrid Fusion Frames® from Magic consist of a skeleton of stainless steel and anodized aluminum, providing the vinyl shell with the reinforcement it lacks to create a stronger, more well-rounded frame. In this way, we’re able to offer the best qualities of vinyl without any of the drawbacks. It also means you can enjoy low-maintenance, thermally efficient frames you can count on season after season.
3. The Screen
You may be thinking, “what does an insect screen have to do with energy efficiency?” The answer may surprise you. Traditional, fixed screens found on cheaper windows often work just fine when needed. But when they’re not needed, they aren’t doing much but collecting dirt and blocking your views and your natural source of light.
Retractable screens that come on every door and window from Magic offer an innovative solution to this. Homeowners can choose when to use or hide their insect screen, prolonging the lifespan of the screen and allowing homeowners an unimpeded view of the outdoors. This will also improve the Visible Transmittance (VT) of the unit. VT is an important energy efficiency metric that describes how much light permits through glass.
What’s more, homeowners can opt to add more energy-efficient screens from Magic built with our patented technology:
- Retractable Solar Shades help reduce unwanted heat gain that comes through your windows and doors
- Retractable Thermal Blinds increase your windows’ insulating capabilities and add an extra layer of privacy.
View this post on Instagram
Together, these screens can improve your window’s overall efficiency by 40% or more.
How is a Window’s Energy Efficiency Rated in Canada?
Several metrics are considered when measuring the energy efficiency of a window. There is the aforementioned U-Factor, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visible Transmittance (VT) and air leakage. Each metric is assigned a weight and put into an equation that will give a tangible rank on how efficient the window is.
There are two main groups in Canada that rate energy efficiency in windows: The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and Canada’s Window Energy Rating (CWER).
The National Fenestration Rating Council
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is an authoritative, industry-specific body that comprehensively compares energy-efficient windows. They provide standardized ratings in four key energy performance categories. These ratings are consistent in giving accurate efficiency ratings while taking into account the climates of different regions.
For information on our NFRC rating, visit their directory and search “CTW”.
Canada’s Window Energy Rating
Though both companies use the same metrics to calculate efficiency, the NFRC uses a more reliable formula. Canada’s Window Energy Rating (CWER) was developed by ENERGY STAR® in Canada to gauge the energy performance of a window. Unfortunately, the equation they use to calculate a window’s efficiency does not account for the extreme seasonal temperature variations known to all Ontarians. Without understanding this rating, homeowners may unknowingly purchase a window that is not ideal for their specific region, which can end up costing them thousands of dollars of energy waste over the years.
Energy Efficient Windows: The Investment That Keeps on Giving!
Investing in energy-efficient windows now means doing yourself a favour in the future. If you have any more questions about energy efficient windows, connect with one of our representatives today through a free, no-hassle consultation! Find out how our energy-efficient windows and doors can be customized to suit the unique needs of your home and redefine where you live. Call us today or simply book online!