Rising energy prices continue to weigh down budgets for homeowners and businesses alike. Since heating and cooling costs make up roughly half of a home’s annual energy budget and half of a commercial building’s, it makes sense to find ways to cut energy use.
Investing in insulated glass units (IGUs) is one of the best – and easiest – ways to improve a property's energy efficiency. But, does your project need double- or triple-pane windows?
The answer? It depends.
We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you decide if double pane or triple pane IGU windows are right for your project.
What is an Insulated Glass Unit?
An insulated glass unit is made with multiple panes of glass separated by a spacer, filled with air or inert gas to provide insulation, and sealed.A double-pane IGU consists of two glass panes separated by a spacer.
A triple-pane IGU is made with three panes of glass to add an extra layer of insulation and improve noise reduction.
Aside from the number of panes comprising the unit, the main difference between a double or triple-pane IGU is the level of insulation. The more insulated glass panels in a window, the better its durability, noise reduction, and energy efficiency properties.
How Much Money Can You Save Switching from Double- to Triple-Paned Insulated Glass Units?
Replacing old windows is a costly project. However, the savings from new, insulated windows makes up for the up-front investment. Heat gain and loss through windows account for up to 30% of residential heating and cooling.
Property owners that upgrade to triple-paned windows over double-paned windows can save an estimated 3% on heating costs. The savings is all thanks to a triple-paned unit's enhanced insulation, as it's able to:
- Further reduce drafts
- Prevent cool air from escaping in the summer
- Block warm air from escaping in the winter
A 3% increase in efficiency may not seem like a notable improvement. However, it adds up when you consider how much is spent on heating and cooling costs each year. Additionally, the more IGU windows you have in your building, the bigger the long-term return on investment becomes from going with triple-paned windows.
It's also worth noting that triple-paned windows have another benefit that might not be obvious from a money perspective – noise reduction. Triple-paned windows are a better option for businesses near railroad tracks, busy streets and highways, and other areas plagued by excessive noise.
What's the Difference Between a Triple-Paned Window and Triple-Glazed Glass?
These are two terms for the same thing. Glazing in this sense refers to the glass pane installed in a window frame. A window unit that features one pane of glass is called a single-glazed window.
Glazing in a window unit is not to be confused with coated glass. Glass panes can be treated with coatings to decrease the amount of UV rays and infrared light that pass through a glass pane without compromising visible light transmittance.
The largest difference between coated and non-coated glass is they interact with the sun. Coated windows reflect the sun’s energy, thereby preventing heat buildup inside a property.
Triple-paned windows successfully maintain set indoor temperatures without coating. However, coated windows give a home or business extra protection, especially in areas receiving heavy amounts of sunshine.
What are the UV Considerations for Triple- Vs. Double-Paned Windows?
The more panels of glass in a window, the better job it does against the sun and its damaging rays. In this respect, triple-paned windows are better than double-paned windows.
However, laminating the glass also helps reflect more UV rays, adding another layer of protection.
Which is a Better Selection For Natural Disaster-Prone Areas?
Double-paned and triple-paned windows are both durable, but the more glass panels in a window, the greater its durability. In this respect, triple-paned windows are better suited for areas more prone to natural disasters – such as hurricanes and tornados –than their double-paned window counterparts.
The same is true if you're worried about theft or burglary, as triple-paned windows are the better choice due to their enhanced durability. Laminated insulated glass units are better fortified and harder to break through.
Should a Business Have Double or Triple-Paned Windows?
That depends on several factors. A business owner should ask themselves the following questions:
- How many windows does the building have?
- Is the facility located in an area prone to natural disasters?
- How much do you spend on annual heating and cooling costs?
- Does the building always seem drafty?
- Does the business store products that are sensitive to high or low temperatures?
- Are you looking for enhanced security?
If the building has many windows and its heating and cooling costs are excessive, the ROI from upgrading to triple-paned windows (if it doesn't already have them) is higher.
It is possible, however, to mix and match double and triple-paned windows on the property and still achieve noticeable energy savings.
Since triple-pane windows do a better job of shielding the building from the sun's energy, you might find they are better suited for areas of the building that receive more exposure to the sun. Double-paned windows would be adequate everywhere else.
Additionally, triple-paned windows are more secure and won't break as easily as other types of windows when laminated glass is used.
Need Help Choosing? Consult an Expert:
If you're unsure what type of windows are best for your commercial application, reach out to our team.
We're happy to discuss options with you and present the best possible solution.
We guarantee a dual seal unit will last 10 years, provided it’s put in the appropriate frame, installed by an experienced professional, and the climate is conducive for a 10-year life.