Is it worth investing in triple-pane windows?

Anonymous July 8, 2017, 12:39 p.m.

I have old windows that need to be replaced, I’m just not sure how to choose between triple or double pane, low e, or the ones with gas inside them. Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

Responses (1)

Ecohome May 21, 2017, 10:43 a.m.

Before you go about doing a full home window replacement we would recommend a quick read of our page about when to replace windows and when to fix them to be sure you really need to. Sometimes they aren’t as bad as you think and repairing them may be a feasible option.

We also have a detailed page on how to choose the right windows, but the short story is as follows: Triple pane windows from our research will usually pay for themselves in the long run, as will gas filled windows. The gas will dissipate through the glass over time, so after a number of years they will be reduced to just having air between the panes, but the savings realized during that time still make it worthwhile in our opinion.

Low-E coatings reflect heat back into the home and are also a sound investment for energy savings, but not to be overlooked with all these window options is the comfort factor. High quality triple pane windows will mean a much more comfortable living environment, so even if you have been advised that recuperating the added cost with energy savings is questionable, there is no disputing the fact that your home will be more comfortable if you invest in better quality windows.

You will also be faced with a choice of frame materials, we prefer fiberglass or a combination of wood and exterior aluminum for reasons performance, durability and limiting environmental impacts. Vinyl / PVC frames dominate the window market, but the production has a very negative impact on air quality and is considered by the USGBC to be among the most environmentally destructive building materials available when the full life cycle is considered.

“[the manufacturing of] Vinyl is the largest use of chlorine gas in the world, consuming about 40 percent of total chlorine production, or about 16 million tons of chlorine per year. PVC is the largest production-volume organochlorine, a large class of chemicals that have come under considerable scientific and regulatory scrutiny in the last decade because of their global distribution and the unusually severe hazards they tend to pose.”  -USGBC


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