What is Window Glazing? Why is it Important for Energy Efficiency, Security, and Privacy?

What is Window Glazing? Why is it Important for Energy Efficiency, Security, and Privacy?

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what is window glazingWindow glazing, which is often referred to as just “glazing,” has evolved since the days when windows had just a single pane between you and the elements. 

Glazing is often confused with specific window film and adhesive treatments designed to reinforce glass windows and doors. However, the term window glazing refers to the glass itself that is installed within the frame.

So, What is Window Glazing?

When you hear the term “window glazing,” think of the actual glass panes within the entire window unit itself. Because single-pane windows are far less common due to energy inefficiencies, today’s windows typically come with “glazing systems,” which are designed to incorporate multiple panes of glass, gas fillings, and heat-sensitive coatings.

Below is a breakdown of the three most common types of glazed windows.

Single-Pane Windows

Windows with just one layer of glass are less common due to glazing advancements mentioned below. They are notorious for leaking energy from a house and offer little protection against the elements. Suppose you currently have single-pane windows but do not wish to upgrade or install an outer layer of storm windows. In that case, energy-saving window film can offer a cost-efficient alternative.

double pane window glazingDouble-Pane Insulated Glass

Most new windows sold today are made of double-pane glass, also known as double-glazed windows or simply “insulated glass.” Double-pain usually contains a layer of gas (either argon or krypton) sealed between the inner and outer panes. Because the gas is a poor thermal conductor, it helps prevent the passage of heat through the window. Double-pane windows also reduce the need for storm windows and provide greater durability for safety.

insulated triple pane window glazingTriple-Pane Insulated Glass 

A level-up from double-pane are triple-pane windows, which are more energy-efficient and resilient. Triple-pane windows lock two layers of gas within the entire unit. They’re a high-performance option for frigid climates and can also help buffer sound from high-traffic locations next to highways and airports. Although the extra glass pane can increase the size and cost of the window sash, this type also delivers greater security against threats.

As the case with certain window film treatments, building owners can take advantage of federal tax credits and rebates by investing in insulated windows that help support energy efficiency.

Low-E Film and Heat Mirror Glass

Adding panes and gas-filled spacers are one solution to increase the efficiency of windows. Another way is with low-emissivity (low-E) film, an invisible layer of metallic oxide that reduces the amount of heat that passes through the glass. Virtually all new window units sold today offer this feature. While low-E films can add 10 to 15 percent to a window’s cost, studies have shown that they cut energy expenditures by between 25-30 percent over conventional insulated glass.

Most Low-E films deliver the best of both worlds when it comes to regulating a building’s temperature in regions with dramatic seasonality. Both a window insulation film and heat block window film, Low-E films are designed to retain cool air during the summer and heat during the winter so you can save on energy costs all year round. And when you choose 3M Low-E Window Film, you can leverage advanced window insulation performance, much like upgrading to a double-pane or triple-pane window to help lock in heat.

Another high-tech glazing system, called Heat Mirror, can match and even exceed triple-pane windows’ energy efficiency but without the extra weight. It’s made by suspending a sheet of low-E film between panes of insulated glass. Superglass, the most expensive glazing system on the market and one of the best insulators, suspends two layers of Heat Mirror between glass panes with gas-filled spacers.

In addition to temperature regulation and energy savings, the window glazing can also be used for safety, security, and privacy with switchable technology.

Security Glazing

Unlike storm windows that protect against weather, security glazing is specifically designed to resist human-forced damage and forced entry attempts. 

Security glazing differs from conventional safety glazing in that security options are engineered to withstand large blasts and aggressive forced entry attempts with various blunt force objects. One of the best examples of this technology is DefenseLite, an adaptable security overglaze that anchors onto existing windows, doors and, curtainwall glazing frames. 

A patented technology that provides an invisible layer of unbreachable security glass, DefenseLite overglaze is 250 times stronger than traditional glass. DefenseLite flexes, absorbs, and deflects energy away, thereby neutralizing threats and keeping the bad guys out. 

With episodes of smash-and-grab attempts, forced entry, and vandalism crimes on the rise, DefenseLite is an affordable security glass solution that combines the best of materials science with an efficient retrofit installation.

Electrochromic Glass & Switchable Windows

Electrochromic glass carries many different names, such as smart glass, switchable glass, and dynamic glass. Despite its many names, electrochromic glass is a unique glazing solution that turns windows from transparent to tinted on command.

Gauzy Liquid Crystal Smart Glass FilmOffering similar features as the switchable films we offer, electrochromic glass is an electronically-tintable glass that can be used for various types of indoor and outdoor windows, curtain walls, skylights, and facades.

A building’s occupants can directly control switchable glass windows made with electrochromic technology, providing on-demand privacy, glare and sun control, and even energy savings. It’s a smart solution for commercial offices, healthcare facilities, government buildings, classroom settings, retail storefronts, and museums. 

Which Window Glazing Is Right for You?

As you can see, window glazing comes in many different types to accommodate specific needs. Each type of glazing has its advantages and disadvantages. The type of glazing that will best meet your needs depends on your priorities (i.e., energy, safety, security, etc.), as well as your budget and the degree of efficiency you expect from your investment. 

To better understand your options when upgrading window treatments, contact our team for expert knowledge and product support. Or call (866) 933-3456 and request a free estimate.