Do Windows Prevent Heat Loss?

11th June

During winter, homeowners nationwide are looking for ways to keep their homes warm and cosy. While central heating systems and insulation are usual go-to choices, there's another crucial element that plays a significant role in maintaining indoor comfort: windows.

In this blog, we'll explore the fascinating world of window insulation and see how the right choice of windows can help prevent heat loss. This can lead to substantial energy savings and a more comfortable living environment. But before we dive into the specifics, let's take a step back and understand the science behind this vital aspect of home comfort.

Join us as we demystify the basics and equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about your window choices. By the end of this guide, you'll feel empowered to utilise the power of your windows in creating a warm and inviting sanctuary, even in the coldest of winters!

energy efficient windows

Understanding heat loss through windows

Heat loss is a crucial factor to consider when assessing a home's energy efficiency. During colder months, homes can lose 40% oftheir heat through windows and gain up to 87% on hot days.

It’s important to understand how heat loss occurs through windows and the role of window design in mitigating this loss. By doing this, you can make informed decisions about your home’s energy efficiency.

The basics of heat transfer and window design

Heat transfer through windows occurs via three primary mechanisms: conduction, convection, and radiation.

  • Conduction is the transfer of heat through a material. When it comes to windows, heat conducted through the glass and the frame is a major pathway for heat loss. Single-pane windows, for example, have higher conductive heat loss compared to double or triple-pane windows.
  • Convection involves the movement of heat through fluids, such as air. For windows, convection occurs when warm indoor air meets the cooler surface of the window. Once it cools down, it will circulate back into the room, creating a cycle of heat loss.
  • Radiations the transmission of energy through electromagnetic waves. Windows can lose heat by radiating it to the colder outside environment. Modern window designs often include low-emissivity (low-E) coatings to reduce radiant heat loss.

Window design plays a pivotal role in controlling these mechanisms. For instance, double or triple glazing, argon gas fills between panes, and thermally broken frames are all design features that can significantly reduce heat loss. Insulating window frames and using high-performance glazing materials can further enhance the energy efficiency of windows.

Measuring heat loss from windows

Understanding how heat loss occurs through windows is essential to improve your home's energy efficiency. Windows are a significant source of heat loss, but accurately measuring this loss can help identify areas for improvement and guide effective insulation strategies.

How heat loss is measured

Heat loss through windows is typically measured using a combination of methods that assess different aspects of thermal performance. Here are the primary methods used:

  1. U-Value (Thermal Transmittance): The U-value measures the rate at which heat is lost through a window. It is expressed in watts per square metre per degree Celsius (W/m²·°C). A lower U-value indicates better insulating properties. The U-value considers the entire window assembly, including the glass, frame, and spacers.
  2. R-Value (Thermal Resistance): While the U-value measures heat loss, the R-value measures a material's resistance to heat flow. It is the inverse of the U-value (R = 1/U). A higher R-value indicates better insulation. This metric is often used for specific components like window panes or frames.
  3. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): The SHGC measures how much solar radiation passes through a window and contributes to heat gain inside the building. It is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. A lower SHGC indicates less solar heat transmission, which is beneficial for keeping homes cooler in summer.
  4. Air Leakage: Air leakage refers to the amount of air that infiltrates through gaps and cracks in the window assembly. It is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) per square foot of window area. Lower air leakage rates mean better insulation and less heat loss.

    heat loss through windows
  5. Infrared Thermography: This method uses infrared cameras to detect temperature variations on the surface of windows. It helps identify areas where heat is escaping, such as through gaps, poorly insulated frames, or single-glazed panes. Thermographic inspections provide a visual representation of heat loss areas.

Before vs After Upgrading Windows…

The role of energy-efficient windows in reducing heat loss

To keep your home warm and energy-efficient, the choice of windows is crucial. Energy-efficient windows not only help to minimise heat loss but also contribute to significant savings on heating bills and reduce environmental impact.

Let's discover how these windows work and the multitude of benefits they offer to homeowners seeking to create a more sustainable living environment.

How energy efficient windows work

Energy-efficient windows utilise advanced technologies and materials to reduce heat transfer and maximise insulation. Double-glazed or triple-glazed windows feature multiple layers of glass separated by insulating gas fills, such as argon or krypton.

Low-E coatings are applied to window panes to reflect radiant heat back into the room while allowing visible light to pass through. Additionally, high-quality window frames with thermal breaks prevent heat conduction, which enhances the insulation properties further.

By combining these elements, energy-efficient windows create a barrier against heat loss, keeping your home warm and comfortable year-round.

Benefits of upgrading to energy-efficient windows

The benefits of upgrading to energy-efficient windows extend far beyond mere insulation. Here are some compelling reasons to make the switch:

  • Reduced heating bills: Energy-efficient windows can lead to significant savings on heating bills by minimising heat loss and reducing the need for constant heating during colder months. By upgrading to energy-efficient windows, you can save up to £645 per year!
  • Enhanced comfort: Consistent indoor temperature creates a more comfortable living environment, free from drafts and cold spots. When you use energy-efficient windows, you can maintain this warm temperature during cold days.
  • Environmental sustainability: By reducing energy consumption, energy-efficient windows help to lower carbon emissions and mitigate environmental impact, contributing to a more sustainable future.
  • Increased property value: Energy-efficient upgrades, including windows, can enhance the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Exploring double-glazed windows

Double-glazed windows are a popular choice for enhancing the energy efficiency of homes. They consist of two layers of glass separated by a space typically filled with a safe gas like argon. This design creates an insulating barrier that reduces heat transfer between the interior and exterior of a building.

how do double glazed windows reduce heat loss

How do double-glazed windows reduce heat loss?

Double-glazed windows are designed to cut down heat loss through several mechanisms:

  1. Insulating layer: The space between the two panes of glass acts as an insulating barrier. Safe gases have low thermal conductivity, meaning they do not easily transfer heat. This barrier slows down the transfer of heat from the warm interior to the cold exterior during winter.
  1. Low-E coatings: Many double-glazed windows feature Low-E coatings. These coatings reflect heat into the room allowing light to pass through. This reflective property reduces the amount of heat that escapes through the window.
  1. Reduced convection: The sealed space between the panes limits air movement, which reduces convection currents. Convection is a mode of heat transfer that occurs when warmer air rises and cooler air sinks, creating a cycle that can transfer heat through a window. Double glazing disrupts this cycle, thereby reducing heat loss.

Comparing single, double, and triple-glazed windows

Understanding the differences between single, double, and triple glazed windows is essential for making an informed decision about which type best suits your needs.






Single pane of glass.

Provides minimal insulation with high heat loss.

Generally the least expensive option but leads to higher energy bills due to poor insulation.


Two panes of glass separated by a space filled with air or gas.

With twice as much glass compared to single-glazed windows, double-glazed windows significantly offer better insulation.

More expensive than single glazing, but savings on energy bills and increased comfort make it a worthwhile investment.


Three panes of glass with two insulating spaces.

Offers the highest level of insulation, reducing heat loss even further than double glazing.

Most expensive option due to additional materials and manufacturing complexity. Provides maximum energy savings and comfort.

Choosing the right type of glazing depends on various factors, including climate, budget, and specific home goals. While single-glazed windows are less costly initially, double and triple-glazed windows provide superior insulation. This results in long-term energy savings and improved indoor comfort.

For those seeking to maximise energy efficiency and reduce heat loss, double or triple-glazed windows are the ideal choice.

Practical tips to stop heat loss through windows

Preventing heat loss through windows is important to maintain a warm and energy-efficient home during colder months. There are several practical solutions homeowners can implement to minimise heat loss and enhance indoor comfort.

Here are some effective strategies:

Sealing and weatherproofing solutions

One of the most straightforward ways to reduce heat loss is by sealing and weatherproofing your windows. Proper sealing can prevent drafts and improve your home's insulation.

  • Caulking and Weatherstripping:

Caulking: Apply caulk around the exterior and interior frames of your windows to seal any gaps or cracks. Silicone-based caulks are particularly effective because they are durable and flexible.

Weatherstripping: Install weatherstripping around movable parts of your windows, such as sashes and casements. This can be a quick and inexpensive way to block drafts and improve energy efficiency. Weatherstripping materials include foam tape, V-strip, and door sweeps.

  • Window film: Applying window film is another effective method to enhance insulation. Window films create an additional barrier that reduces heat transfer. They are easy to install and can also reduce glare and UV damage.
  • Insulated curtains and blinds: Using insulated curtains or thermal blinds can provide an extra layer of protection against heat loss. These window treatments are built with insulating materials that help retain heat inside your home.
  • Draft snakes: Draft snakes or draft stoppers can be placed along windowsills to block cold air from entering. These are especially useful for older windows that may have warped over time.

Using window treatments to insulate your home

Window treatments are not only used for their aesthetic value at home. It also plays a significant role in insulation. Let's check out some effective window treatments to consider:

  • Thermal curtains: Thermal curtains are made from multiple layers of fabric, including a layer of insulating material. They trap air between the window and the room to create a buffer zone that reduces heat transfer. For maximum efficiency, make sure that the curtains cover the entire window and extend to the floor.
  • Cellular shades: Also known as honeycomb shades, cellular shades have a unique structure that traps air within their cells. This trapped air acts as an insulator that reduces heat loss. They are available in various levels of thickness, providing different levels of insulation.
  • Insulating blinds: Blinds with insulating properties, such as those with reflective coatings or built-in insulation layers, can help keep heat inside your home. These blinds are effective in controlling the amount of heat that enters or leaves your home.
  • Window quilts: Window quilts are like thermal curtains but provide even better insulation. They consist of thick, padded fabric that can be rolled down over the window. Window quilts create an airtight seal, preventing heat from escaping.
  • DIY solutions: For those on a budget, DIY solutions like hanging blankets or bubble wrap over windows can provide temporary insulation. While not as effective as professionally designed treatments, these methods can still help reduce heat loss in a pinch.

Advancements in window insulation technologies

The field of window insulation has seen significant advancements in recent years, driven by the need for better energy efficiency and sustainability. Innovations in glass and frame materials are at the forefront of these improvements, offering homeowners many options to enhance their homes' insulation.

Let's see some of the latest developments and future trends in window insulation technologies.

Innovations in glass and frame materials

The materials used in the construction of windows play a crucial role in their insulation capabilities. Recent innovations in both glass and frame materials are making windows more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Smart window technology

Smart windows can dynamically control the amount of light and heat passing through. These windows use technologies like electrochromic or thermochromic glass, which can change their properties based on external conditions or user settings.

  • Electrochromic glass: This type of glass can change from clear to opaque through electronic control. It allows homeowners to control the amount of sunlight and heat entering their homes, which enhances comfort and reduces energy costs.
  • Thermochromic glass: This glass automatically adjusts its tint in response to temperature changes. During hot days, the tint becomes darker to block heat and turns lighter on cooler days to allow more warmth inside. This passive adjustment helps maintain a stable indoor temperature without additional energy consumption.

Sustainable materials and eco-friendly options

The choice of materials extends beyond just glass. The frames of windows also contribute to their overall insulation and environmental impact.

  • Recycled aluminium frames: These frames are durable, lightweight, and have excellent thermal properties. Using recycled aluminium reduces the environmental footprint of window production.
  • Composite frames: Made from a blend of materials like wood and plastic, composite frames offer the aesthetic appeal of wood with the low maintenance and high insulation properties of synthetic materials.
  • Sustainable Wood: Using sustainably sourced wood for window frames provides excellent insulation and supports responsible forestry practices. Wood is a renewable resource that, when sourced sustainably, can reduce the carbon footprint of windows.

Future trends in window insulation

As technology advances, the future of window insulation looks promising, with trends focusing on even greater efficiency, sustainability, and smart integration.

  • Advanced coatings and treatments: Research is ongoing into new types of coatings that could provide even better insulation and durability. For example, researchers are exploring nano-coatings that offer enhanced UV protection, improved heat resistance, and self-cleaning properties.
  • Photovoltaic windows: Combining energy efficiency with energy generation, photovoltaic windows incorporate solar cells within the glass. These windows can generate electricity while still providing excellent insulation, potentially turning windows into a source of renewable energy for the home.

Balhousie: Your trusted window solutions provider in Scotland

When it comes to reducing heat loss through windows and enhancing the energy efficiency of your home, Balhousie stands out as a trusted and reputable provider in Scotland.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we offer a comprehensive range of high-quality window solutions designed to meet the unique needs of Scottish homes.

Why Choose Balhousie?

  • Expertise and experience: Our team has extensive knowledge and expertise in window installation and insulation. We understand the specific challenges posed by Scotland's climate and are well-equipped to provide tailored solutions that maximise energy efficiency and comfort.
  • High-quality products: We source and install only the best products on the market. Our range of windows includes casement, tilt and turn, sash and case, reversible, flush sash, and bay.
  • Customised Solutions: We recognise that every home is different. Our experts work closely with homeowners to assess their specific needs and recommend the most effective window solutions. Whether you're upgrading an existing property or building a new home, we provide customised services that ensure optimal results.

Take the next step towards energy efficiency

Are you ready to improve your home's energy efficiency and reduce heat loss through your windows? Balhousie is here to help. Our expert team is dedicated to providing the best window solutions tailored to your needs.

Contact us now to learn more about our services and discover how we can help you create a more comfortable, energy-efficient home!

how to stop heat loss through windows

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It’s Started! Our Summer Savings Promotion Has Launched

Whenever we do a sales promotion, we like to make it really special for our customers, and our Summer Savings promotion doesn’t disappoint on that score! You can save a huge amount on almost everything that we have at Balhousie, including our many windows and doors, and our extravagant conservatories and extensions. So, if you...

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Balhousie Offers A Big Christmas Thank You To Its Customers

2020 could very well have been a difficult year for Balhousie, but it’s turned out to be one of our very best, and it’s our customers that we must thank for that. We have fitted and installed so many windows, doors and living spaces over the last 12 months, due to a surge of orders...

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The Balhousie Summer Sale Is Coming To A Close

The past few months have made us all appreciate our homes a lot more. So often, we take the place we live in for granted and give it little attention, but we won’t do it so much now. All that extra time you’ve spent indoors may have also made you realise that your home could...

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Organise Home Improvements From Home - Book An Online Appointment

It’s a strange time for us all, but you don’t want to let things get in the way of you making future plans, such as getting new windows, doors or a living space organised for your home. In response to the inability of you being able to come and see our showroom, we have launched...

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Balhousie Glazing Response To Covid-19

Here at Balhousie we want you to know we’re prioritising your health and safety in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. We want to reassure you that the safety and well being of our customers and colleagues is always a top priority. In light of the current situation, we’re carefully following the advice from the...

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Balhousie Is Letting You Buy Now And Pay In 2021

First things first. We want to wish all of our customers a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping you have a fantastic 12 months! Why not begin 2020 by improving your home and making it a more enjoyable place to spend your leisure time? If the only thing stopping you doing that right now is...

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Why A Bi-Folding Door Is Worth Installing For A Homecation

With foreign travel being difficult this summer, and finances too tight for some families to have a break somewhere in Scotland, or elsewhere in the UK, lots of people will be taking a homecation. A homecation for a couple of weeks can be a great holiday for everyone in your family household, especially if you...

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How A Conservatory Should Be Set Up For The Summer

It’s just a few days now until summer officially gets underway and we can only hope that the weather is kind to us over the coming weeks. Who knows whether it will be a summer sizzler or a bit of a damp squib, weather-wise? You can’t rely on it being red-hot and have to face...

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How To Bring The Feeling Of Summer Right Into Your Home

The great weather that we have experienced recently has been a very long time coming, and we hope that it stays with us for the duration of the summer – we all deserve it! Get outside as often as you can and enjoy it, as you never know when it will disappear, and even...

How To Create An Insta Worthy Front Door
How To Get Your Front Door Looking Instagram-Worthy

You are missing a trick if your front door looks quite plain and boring. It needs to stand out, for the right reasons, because then there’s more chance of your home impressing people. If you get it looking super-stylish, it will also make for a great Instagram post. Just enter in the hashtags #frontdoor...

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3 Home Improvement Ideas For Anyone With A Small Home

You don’t often hear someone complaining that they have too much space in their home – it’s usually the opposite and that they want much more of it. A shortage of living space is a very common problem in this country and it’s not a big shock when you consider that over the last...

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Do You Need Planning Permission To Have A Porch Fitted?

You feel a huge sense of pride when someone remarks positively about the appearance of your house. If that’s never happened to you, perhaps it’s a sign that you need to enhance its look. It could be a case of getting new windows put in, tidying up your garden or adding a touch of glamour...

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How To Make Your Home Feel And Look Cottage-Like

It’s lovely taking refuge in a cosy home when the weather outside is on the cold side and the nights close in fast. Traditional cottages often have that feel to them inside – wonderfully warm and snug spaces. If you wish you could experience a cottage-type lifestyle over the winter in your current home, you...

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Understanding UPVC And Why It's Such A Quality Material

A considerable number of products in our extensive range are manufactured using UPVC, as you will have noticed if you have visited our Perth showroom or browsed our website. They include windows, doors, conservatories, roofline and porches. Apart from probably being able to recognise UPVC-built products, do you know much about the material or could...

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Did You Know That 97% Of Our Customers Recommend Balhousie?

It’s always interesting to discover why a customer has decided to appoint Balhousie for a home improvement project. They may have come across our name in a print advert or the Balhousie brand ranked highly when they were searching for window and door companies online. Largely though, it is because a friend or family member...

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Our Spooktacular Home Decorating Ideas For Halloween

Can you believe it’s almost Halloween already? That’s a scary thought as it sure has crept up on us! We really hope you’re going to get into the spirit of things for Halloween and decorate your windows and doors to spook everyone out. It definitely calls for a few frighteningly good features, one’s that the...

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3 Things You Can Do To Reduce Condensation At Home

Autumn is almost upon us and while that can conjure up images of colourful leaves, cosy evenings under a blanket and strolls in the crisp air, it can also mean that condensation is back with a vengeance. Condensation can go on to cause mould and mildew, which can trigger health issues in those with certain...

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What Makes A Conservatory Different From An Orangery And Vice-Versa?

Home living is a far more pleasant experience when you have plenty of room to play with, rather than your home feeling cramped and short on space. Keen to have more space? You could look to extend the building, if you have the capacity to, with perhaps either a conservatory or orangery. Balhousie supplies various...

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How To Bring The Magic Of Christmas To Your Windows And Doors

Everyone at Balhousie is counting down the days until the 25th of December! If you love Christmas as much as we do, you’ll want to do more than just put up a tree. Perhaps you’re going to town with your outdoor lights, hanging up stockings with an elaborate garland on your fireplace, and attaching mistletoe...

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4 Dishonest Sales Strategies Used By Some Window & Door Companies

One of the most difficult aspects of buying new windows and doors is trying to find a company you can totally trust. We’ve all heard or read about horror stories involving installers in our industry, and you don’t want to be the next victim of mis-selling and poor service. None of that goes on at...