What to Know About Low-E Glass

What You Should Know About the Increased Use of Low-E Glass

June 12, 2020

Low-E glass has been on the market in the United States since the early 1980s. Over time, its technology has significantly advanced, taking it from being a premium option only used for homes in cold climates to being a standard product offered for many different applications all over the United States. As people continue to focus on doing what they can to reduce energy consumption and cut their carbon footprints, it is expected that low-E glass will continue to grow in popularity in Denver, CO and beyond.

How low-E glass use has grown

The rate at which new products and materials are adopted in the world of construction and remodeling is generally pretty slow. When you consider how rapidly products evolve in, say, the technology and software spaces, the product cycle in the world of construction would seem like an eternity. It often takes decades for construction materials to achieve their full market potential. This is because when construction professionals find something that works well, they stick with it, both for safety and for convenience. There isn’t a whole lot of need for experimentation with new materials in the world of construction when you already have something that works just fine.

This was the case with low-E glass. Though it first entered the market for public use in the early ‘80s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that the product really began to see widespread usage, and the life cycle of the product continues to stretch on thanks to improved technology and a still-increasing demand.

Advancements in coating technologies are the primary reason why low-E glass continues to see an upward trend in the market. There are competing technologies in play: off-line or sputtered coatings, and on-line or pyrolytic coatings. The competition between these technologies has resulted in numerous product improvements over the years, benefiting both consumers and suppliers.

The first coatings to be used for low-E applications were sputtered, and they soon took over the residential market for low-E glass. However, their use was limited due to their being rather fragile and due to the difficulty in processing it for insulating glass fabricators. A few years later, pyrolytic coatings hit the market, offering greater durability and easier handling and distribution. These new coatings led to the first post-temperable low-E coatings.

Pyrolytic coatings continued to grow their market share in the ‘90s, but sputtered low-E coatings regained market share as the technology advanced there as well. In all cases, the focus was initially on combining low U-values with high solar heat gain, which made them ideal for cooler climates. Over time, though, companies developed products that would help improve energy efficiency in cooling-dominated climates as well.

Growth was spurred on by the implementation of specific codes, rebates and energy initiatives requiring low-E window performance. Today, there are numerous options on the market for higher efficiency windows and glazings.

For more information about low-E glass uses in Denver, CO and the specific products we offer, we encourage you to contact Reliable Glazing today.

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