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Old decorative glass regains popularity; ensures the energy efficiency of today

May 11, 2005 - For centuries, people have enjoyed the beauty and style of decorative glass in churches and public buildings.

By the mid-19th century, home buyers considered stained, beveled and jeweled glass windows to be symbols of elegance and luxury in a home.

Today, home improvement television and magazines have revived this Victorian attitude of artful expression in home decor.

Modern homeowners are looking for in-novative ways to add light, color, beauty and originality to their home projects.

Reducing maintenance and improving energy efficiency of these decorative home accents is commonly accomplished by protecting the decorative glass in an insulating glass unit. An insulating glass unit is a combination of two or more panes of glass separated by a spacer and then heat sealed.

Adding decorative glass as part of your home design can take several forms, such as entry door inserts, transoms and side panels, as well as windows. When selecting windows or doors with decorative glass panels some important things to consider are:

Spacers: In insulating glass panels, also known as IG, spacers are used to maintain separation between the panes of glass and to protect against thermal transfer. Spacers can be made of several types of materials, but nonmetallic spacers are best for optimizing efficiency.

Gas fills: Nontoxic, odorless and colorless gases are added between panes of glass to improve insulation — Argon and Krypton are commonly used.

Weather stripping: Maintaining the en-ergy efficiency of your windows and doors often relies on gaskets and sealants that stop outside air from entering around window and door frames. These materials have improved dramatically over the years and today are very resilient and durable.

Low-E coating: This is a thin, microscopic film applied to window glass that reflects heat energy to help keep warm air inside in the winter and outside in the summer. The type of Low-E Coating recommended depends on the climate: Northern Climates, High Solar Gain Low-E; Central Climates, Moderate Solar Gain Low-E; and Southern Climates, Low Solar Gain Low-E.

Triple-glazed decorative windows and doors are recommended to obtain optimal efficiency. With triple-glazing, there are two air spaces within the window construction — leaving double the space for insulation.

Combine the low maintenance benefit of insulating glass to protect the decorative glass, with the improved energy efficiency of a warm edge spacer system and you will have a long lasting, attractive and comfortable addition to your home.

The rise in popularity of decorative glass has prompted a new solution in warm edge spacer systems that provides excellent efficiency and aesthetic appeal.

Specially engineered to support the center pane of glass in a triple-glazed unit, warm edge spacers provide a new level of thermal performance of windows without interfering with the aesthetic appeal.

The investment in buying decorative windows and doors that are long lasting, maintenance free and sealed with warm edge spacer systems can pay off — just check your energy bill.

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