You may have heard that double-glazed windows can help increase energy efficiency but wondered why you should pay for a whole new set of windows when you could just slap a window film on instead. While both window films and double glazing help reduce energy costs and losses, there are several differences in not just cost but also in how they work and why. Here are a few differences between these two efficiency boosters.
They guard against different types of heat
Although double-glazed windows offer a great buffer against convection and conduction, radiant heat transfer isn't much affected by the double glazing. On the other hand, a reflective film chiefly guards against radiant heat and doesn't improve the window's defenses against conductive heat much at all. So depending on where you live and how much sun your windows get during the summer, window films may work better for you than double glazing and vice versa. This also means that these two types of efficiency boosters complement each other really well, so using them together can maximize your windows' efficiency.
They adapt better to different climates
Double- and triple-glazed windows are extremely important in very cold climates where your precious heat may be trying to escape from the house for three-quarters of the year. On the other hand, window films may have more to offer for hot sunny climates than double-glazing does, because double-glazing can't block direct sun. So if you're not planning on trying both defenses together, be sure to pick the one that's suited to your climate and local weather patterns.
Difference in price and invasiveness
While you may be able to retrofit your windows with double-glazing, it's more likely that you'll have to install replacement windows if you want to reap the benefits of the buffer layer inside your window. As you can imagine, this is quite a large investment compared to simply adding a window film. Window films are not only relatively affordable material-wise, but they're quite simple and easy to install, which brings installation costs down. Some window films even work well with DIY installation, allowing you to skip professional installation altogether.
These differences show how, depending on your situation, one or the other of these two window efficiency boosters may be best for your situation and how, if you want the most efficient windows possible, you should seriously consider using both. But whether you ultimately choose both or just one of these modifications, you may be able to reduce your heating and cooling bills significantly, because they're both great ways to mitigate energy loss through your windows.