Green Windows for Bathrooms
Use Natural Light
Large windows make the bathroom brighter and in turn can make you and other occupants happier. Daylighting provides vital nourishment for your health and can reduce energy bills.
Note: Windows can be holes in the thermal envelope of your house so be sure to choose the right windows and install them correctly.
Check for Leaky Windows
Leaky windows waste a lot of energy and the draftiness decreases your comfort. Old windows may also be a source of condensation damage so check your windows for deterioration.
Choose High Performance Windows
Millions of homes built before 1985 have single paned windows that have practically no insulating value (R=1). Today homeowners have a great deal of choice in double-paned windows with what’s called “Low-E” coatings that have much higher insulating value (R=3).
For bathrooms, vinyl and fiberglass frames are preferred. Wood is not a good choice as it is liable to rot in the moisture-rich environment. Aluminum frames should nearly always be avoided since aluminum conducts heat and cold and can dramatically decrease the performance of the window and form condensation on the glass.
Consider Insulated Skylights and/or Solar Light Tubes
Skylights can deliver light into a room at the core of the house which may not otherwise receive natural light. Skylights, however, can create an unwanted “hole” in the insulation of your roof so if you choose to install one, there are a few things you should consider.
- Skylights should be made with low-e glass; never choose the “single bubble” type. Low –e at least provides a R-3 reducing heat loss.
- Solar light tubes are a more energy-efficient solution and are often less expensive than skylights. Be watchful of metal tubes that can act as a thermal bridge to the outside of the house. If the tube is metal and runs through an uninsulated attic, be sure to insulate the tube.
- See Chapter 6, The Bathroom in the book Green Remodeling for more details.
Green Bathroom Remodel Best Practices