Low-E Glass Vs Clear Glass: Which One Should Use and Why?

When building or renovating your apartment, one of the things to focus and invest in is the windows. That’s because your windows determine a lot of things, your bills being one of the biggest!

Low-E Glass Vs Clear Glass

Having the right windows will allow you to save energy as you end up using your air conditioner or heater less, depending on the time of the year. The right windows make sure you are not getting too much heat, but just what you need, produce less draft, prevent noise pollution, and do so much more.

At the end of the day, you have a more efficient system in your home, and you don’t have to worry about constantly fixing the thermostat throughout the day.

This is why homeowners and renovators are constantly discussing Low-E glass vs clear glass- looking for better and more efficient systems when it comes to window glasses. To know about what these glasses are and how they compare, check out the full details below!

What Is Clear Glass?

Clear glass is just what it says. It is a transparent and clear glass that we are used to seeing every day in various spaces, and it comes in various thicknesses.

This is the glass that is most commonly used in the home and other spaces. Due to being completely clear, it transmits light well is mostly color neutral. As the thickness of this glass is increased, it gives off a slight greenish hue.

Advantages Of Clear Glass

Unobstructed View

One of the main reasons why people use clear glass is because it provides an unobstructed view. Given that they are completely transparent without any tints; it provides a clear view of the outdoors when used.

Provides Insulation

When used as a double-pane window, these clear glasses can provide a lot of insulation. Here, two glasses are used instead of one, while keeping some space between them.

This little airspace between the two panes of glass is airtight, and hence it prevents condensation. And because of this reason, it also provides better insulation, keeping the internal temperature consistent.

Affordable

Clear glass is also one of the most affordable types of glasses. And this is also why it is so widely used. Since it does not come with any extra properties, it is possible to get them at low prices.

Disadvantages Of Clear Glass

Retains Heat

When used as a single pane, clear glass windows tend to absorb the heat from the sun and then traps it inside. This increases the temperature inside the home, which then creates extra pressure on your cooling system or air conditioner, increasing your electricity bills.

What Is Low-E Glass?

The Low-E is Low-E glass stands for low emissivity. This glass is made by spraying or applying metallic oxides on top of glass windows. This coating is not visible to the naked eye. It does however work to keep out extreme temperatures, and other harmful rays which do not want in your home.

Advantages Of Low-E Glass

Insulation

Low-E windows have a metallic oxide coating which allows this glass to insulate the home from extreme temperatures. It helps to reflect heat that tries to enter through the windows, and hence minimizes whatever heat does go in. Similarly, it also reflects heat inside the home and prevents it from escaping outside. This is brilliant during the colder months when the heater is on the inside.

Saves Bills

Due to insulating really well in all climates, this helps to save on the electricity bills. As heat does not escape during the winter, and in the summer a lot of heat does not enter, air conditioners and heaters are not overstressed, hence reducing electricity consumption and bills.

Reduces Harmful Rays

Thanks to the coating on the glass, it also helps to reduce the harmful rays which enter through our glass windows. This includes ultraviolet and infrared rays, both of which can cause tanning, sunburn, spots, and in the long run, even skin cancer in humans.

Not just that, these rays are also notorious for ruining finishes and colors on furniture as they have a sort of bleaching effect.

Some of the higher quality Low-E glasses are almost 100% effective at keeping these rays out. This means you are exposed to less of these harmful rays, and so are your furniture.

Solar Glass

When a tint is added to Low-E glass, it becomes a solar glass. Solar glasses reflect 86% of solar energy back, meaning the home stays cool even at the peak of summer.

Carbon Footprint

Using Low-E glass allow users to consume less energy, as they have to make less use of their heaters or air conditioners.

Disadvantages Of Low-E Glass

Low Light

Due to the coating on the surface of the glass, it prevents too much sunlight from entering. This also means you don’t get a lot of light through these windows.

Comparing Clear Glass Vs Low-E Glass

Applications

When it comes to applications, clear glass can be more often seen in every space, due to being cheaper. These glasses are used in pretty much everywhere you can think of using or needing glass. Be this the shower, tabletops, shop counters, displays, etc.

Clear glass is also heavily used in interior décor, especially where you require clear vision. So this means glass-partitions, windows, doors, handrails, etc. Other uses, which most people are not aware of, include uses in hospitals, as well as solar panels, as it does not block UV rays.

Low-E glass, on the other hand, is used in spaces where you want to block UV and IR radiation. This is why it is often used on large windows, or on the outside of buildings.

This helps to reflect the heat outside, keeping the inside cool, or even reflecting the heat indoors and keeping it warm, depending on the climate. This is also why Low-E glasses are used in fireplaces and ovens, where they can reflect the heat.

Cost

When it comes to cost, clear glass surely wins. Since it does not come with any form of coating or glazing, it is less expensive, and usually very affordable. Low-E glass on the other hand is not affordable and requires some investment. It does offer some extra qualities. However, thinking of the long run, it also ends up saving bills after years of usage.

So it really depends on the person using it, whether they wish to make that upfront investment and use it throughout the years, or have a cheaper alternative in place such as the clear glass.

Energy Savings

With global warming being such an important topic and a big global issue, a lot of people are concerned about saving energy, lowering their own carbon footprint, trying to lessen the impact wherever they can. For such users, the Low-E glass stands out, as it helps to conserve energy.

With the Low-E glass, your room’s temperature stays as it is, whether it is warm or cool, regardless of the outside temperature. This means you waste less energy, and hence lessen your carbon footprint.

Clear glass does not have this property, and your home will end up adopting the temperature outside, as clear glasses do not reflect heat. The only way you can get the clear glass to become energy efficient is to use the double glazing method. However, in most cases, double glazing can be more expensive depending on the size of the windows.

Light

When it comes to having natural lighting, clear glass is a clear winner. If you wish to have natural lighting only for most of the day, then Low-E glass is not the best option, as the coating on it does reflect a lot of it. This does not mean you don’t get light, you still do, but comparatively lower than what you do from clear glass.

If you have lots of small windows, and natural lighting is a preference for you, then the clear glass is the better option, since smaller windows with low-E glass will not bring in a lot of light.

With larger windows, however, or wall-sized windows, Low-E is the better choice. Simply because it will lower the light by a little, but will provide protection overall from other harmful rays.

Electricity Bills

Using clear glass is cheaper when using it as a single pane, but it does not retain heat inside, or bounce it off outside, increasing your electricity bills in all weathers. Using Low-E glasses, however, is more expensive upfront, but does do a wonderful job of retaining indoor temperature, consuming less electricity. Hence, Low-E glass takes the win by saving your electricity bills.

Bottom Line – Which One is For You?

Taking all the above points into consideration gives us a clear winner in the Low-E glass and clear glass debate, which is the Low-E glass.

From an expenses point of view, the Low-E glass is a more affordable option than the double-glazing option, which would have similar effects. Not to mention, having the Low-E glass also saves you energy and electricity bills in turn, saving you money as you go.

And of course, there are other factors too, such as blocking UV rays and IR rays. This means, overall, Low-E glass does take the win, and is a better option for the home, even with its extra upfront cost.

Related post: Most Common Types of Obscure Glass And Their Uses.

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