Are Windows Affected by High Elevation in Denver, Colorado?
Denver’s rolling plains are perched 5, 280 feet above sea level. That might come with awe-inspiring views, but it also wears heavily on your windows. When high winds gust into the valleys, they cause an incredible amount of wear and tear, so run-of-the-mill windows just won’t do the trick. Denver’s altitudes require window assemblies with Low-E coatings, triple-glazing, and carefully considered frame materials. Fortunately, scientific minds have created the perfect combination for your home.
The Value of Materials in Colorado
Fiberglass and vinyl are talented insulators, so they’re a boon in any Colorado household. Both materials are powerful enough to withstand the region’s extreme conditions. Their energy efficiency is as impressive as their capacity to mimic wood’s beautiful surface. They can achieve R-values of R5.9 to R-11, so they’re two of the highest-performing materials in the cladding industry.
Triple-pane windows can add 20% to your energy efficiency, but complete insulating glazing units (IGUs) are even more weather-resistant. Their airtight seals trap gas between panes, preventing humidity intrusion. Argon and krypton gas are particularly efficient thanks to their high densities and slow heat transfer. Pressure equalization can become a problem when gas-fill windows are manufactured at low elevation, then shipped to Denver, but this can be avoided via regional manufacturing.
Denver’s sweltering summers can reach temperatures of 100 degrees, so your windows need to work hard to keep you cool. Low emissivity coatings use metallic oxide to deflect UV rays without darkening your interior. They take radiant energy out of the equation while reducing heat transfer during the summer. When the weather becomes chilly, they attract low-wave heat, keeping you warm. Coatings achieve their effects in three ways by:
- Altering solar heat gain coefficients
- Improving U-values
- Refining your solar gain coefficient rating.
Warm Edge Spacers
Denver’s climate attracts mold problems, so your windows need to achieve more than just thermal resistance. They must address condensation, as well. A Passive House Institute study found that merely controlling the edges of your windows can have a dramatic effect on this problem. Spacer bars achieve exactly that. These humble strips of plastic, metal, or foam seal gasses between panes while reducing condensation.
They also reduce sealant stress, adding to the lifespan of your windows. Don’t underestimate the importance of the latter. At high altitudes, insulating glass units are prone to breakage. They deflect, stretch, and grow moist. A humble spacer will help your windows to achieve the longest service life possible.
Elevation alters the air pressure inside your window units while adding to their wind load. This can make your middle glass pane distort and, eventually, fail. A respectable glass thickness can help, but your windows also need support structures designed to cope with Denver’s altitudes.
The entire unit needs to address this problem, or mid-winter could lead to shattering. Sloped glazing copes well with wind load, particularly if it’s combined with edge-supported glass and toughened assemblies.
The Importance of Quality for Denver Homeowners
If you’ve ever tasted carob, you know how important ingredients are to the ultimate effect. Windows are no different. Their materials need to be made from the finest “ingredients”, so the cheapest glazes and coatings on the market won’t achieve premium results. Quality counts. It’s also more economical over the long term.
Up to 70% of your home’s energy loss occurs through your doors and windows. Tints, glazes, coatings, and frames can all work together to drive up your R-values. The glass industry has made huge leaps in technological progress, so Denver’s homeowners can finally enjoy a comfortable environment that lasts… and lasts.
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