Low-e, film two options for energy efficient windows

Low-e, film two options for energy efficient windows

We recently moved and our front windows face southwest. We have no shade trees in the front yard, so we are expecting the front rooms to get hot this summer. We plan to replace the glass, but I'm getting conflicting advice regarding what glass to get. Should I get low-e glass and rely on it to block heat waves, or get clear glass and have an infrared-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results?" — Angie's List member Roger Linville

Both have their pros and cons, say contractors in the field. Todd Curry, vice president of operations for highly rated Emerald Windows Inc. in Philadelphia, recommends low-e glass, which he says is fairly standard in today's market.

"It increases the energy efficiency, and it usually qualifies for the tax credit," he says. "It basically works as a prism. Depending on the height of the sun, it either permits heat in or reflects it out. It's also helpful during the winter months to allow more warmth to get in."

He does expect film to be more durable, as it's on the exterior, while the low-e component of glass is a soft coat applied to the interior of insulated windows.

David Oetzel, owner of highly rated Sun Control Specialists in North Wales, Pa., says film has the edge in cost and additional protection. "Film not only has the heat rejection, but also ultraviolet rejection, which helps with fading carpets and drapes. Plus, it'll cut down some of that intense light." He adds that film is also eligible for the energy tax credit.

Do you have a service-related question? E-mail us at mailbag@angieslist.com

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