Green Windows for Kitchens
A kitchen with optimized window placement will feel bright, airy and open. Daylighting provides vital nourishment for your health and can reduce energy bills. Natural lighting is particularly important in the kitchen given the wide variety of activities supported by the room. Remember, however, that windows can be holes in the thermal envelope of your house so be sure to choose the right windows and install them correctly.
Optimize Window Placement
If your kitchen faces east or south new windows can significantly enhance the livability of the room. South-facing kitchen windows serve your passive solar strategy.
West-facing windows should be carefully planned so as to avoid oppressive summer sun overheating the kitchen. Reflective or solar heat gain glass on west windows will effectively block summer sun yet allow sunlight in during the winter.
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 kitchens, aesthetics are typically the driver. Often vinyl and fiberglass frames are preferred since they are not affected by moisture. Wood is not as good a choice as it is liable to rot in the moisture-rich environment. Care must be taken to keep the wood sealed and dry. 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.
If Installing Skylights, Choose Low-e. Skylights can deliver ambient light into the kitchen but can also create an unwanted “hole” in the insulation of your roof. If you choose to install a skylight, there are a few things you should consider:
- a skylight should be made with low-e glass. Low–e provides an R-3 insulating value whereas the single bubble skylights are only R-1.
- never choose the “single bubble” type