A recent industry report published by the market research firm Lucintel says the market for Low-E glass is expected to grow substantially over the next five years. Construction booms and an increasing concern about energy efficiency are fueling the trend.
Low-E Glass in Commercial and Residential Buildings
Low-E glass controls the amount of ultraviolet and infrared energy passing through the window pane, and this affects how much heat transfer happens without altering the level of light.
The E in Low-E stands for emissivity. Emissivity refers to how much heat a surface can reflect. Low-e glass has an extremely thin coating on the glass surface, giving the window greater energy-efficiency and resistance to heat transfer.
How much heat a Low-E coating can give a window is measured in its U-value. U-value is similar to the R-value rating given to insulation, except U-value tells you how much heat passes through, and a lower number indicates a greater energy-efficiency rating. In R-values, a higher number means greater insulating ability.
Types of Low-E Glass Coatings
Low-e glass coatings come in two main types: hard-coat and soft-coat.
Hard-coat Low-E glass, also called passive Low-E coating, is made with a high-temperature process, incorporating the coating into the structure of the glass as it forms in the production line.
Soft-coat Low-E glass is also known as solar control Low-E coating. This type is applied to the glass surface in a vacuum after the pane is manufactured.
In colder climates, Low-E coatings offer an advantage of letting in more rays of heating energy from the sun. These rays help warm the building slightly in winter. As long as the summer heat is not too high, this is often the best option.
In areas with more variable climates ranging from hot to cold in different seasons, Low-E glass has the advantage of offering more UV protection and a higher U-value.
More and more builders, homeowners, and communities are installing Low-E glass coated products in homes, offices, schools, hospitals, and other types of buildings.