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3 Ways Windows Will Impact Your Multi-Family Development’s Energy Consumption

When building a multi-family development, it’s essential to consider every energy-saving option. How your windows will impact your multi-family developments is a big part of keeping overall costs down.

From frames and sashes to glazing and spacers, there are multiple ways you can conserve energy while building the multi-family development you’ve envisioned. Keep reading to learn three ways that your windows will impact your development’s energy usage. 

How Windows Work

There are basic scientific principles that control how windows work.


Conduction refers to heat moving through a solid material. Burning yourself by placing your hand on a stove top after cooking is an example of how heat conducts. 

Like a stove, windows conduct heat, allowing it to flow through the glass, spacers, and frame. You’ll want windows that keep cool air in during the hot months and warm air in during the cold months. Many windows are designed to provide these optimal conditions. 


Convection also allows heat to move through windows, although it works differently from conduction. Convection cools the air, so it becomes denser and falls to the ground. At the same time, warm air fills the space where the air once was. This convective loop cycle occurs naturally and continuously. 

Radiant Transfer

Radiant transfer occurs when heat moves from a warm object to a less warm object through energy waves. If the object absorbs well, it will emit well. Radiant transfer occurs with windows every day. Cold climates keep heat in the house, while warmer temperatures push the hot air outside.

Air Leakage

Air leakage is often responsible for half of a home’s heating and cooling energy inefficiencies. Weatherstripping and premium-quality close devices are crucial for preventing air leakage. 

Now that we’ve discussed the scientific principles behind how windows work, let’s look at the properties that different parts have to make your multi-family development as energy efficient as possible. 

How Frames Help with Energy Consumption

Frames refer to the materials around the windows. A window’s U-factor – or heat loss – can be strengthened with a thermally-resistant frame. We recommend avoiding metal, even with its low maintenance requirements, as it’s the least thermally resistant of all framing options. The following are better options: 

Composite Frames

Composite window frames are made of wood products like particleboard and laminate strand lumber. Some also have polymer plastics. 

Because of how stable the composite structures are, they have excellent structural and thermal properties, allowing them to resist moisture and decay. Not only are they energy efficient, but they’ll also save you money with your multi-family development.

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass frames are stable. They have air cavities you can fill with insulation, upgrading their thermal performance. 

Vinyl Frames

Vinyl frames are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizers. Combined, sunlight is kept from breaking down the frame materials. There’s no need to paint these frames, cutting down on installation costs. Vinyl frames resist moisture, and their hollow cavities are perfect for insulation. 

Wood Frames 

Wood frames are good at insulating windows. Adding aluminum or vinyl cladding to the wood frames reduces how much maintenance is required, as wood frames require more regular maintenance. Keep in mind that wood frames come with slightly lower thermal performance.

How Glazing, Gas Fills, and Spacers Help with Energy Consumption

Frames are a great first step, but they are by no means the only way to improve your development’s energy efficiency. Glazing, spacers, and energy-efficient glass can further improve your multi-family development’s energy usage. 


Whether you want to glaze your windows depends on your window’s orientation, the climate you’re building in, how your building is designed, and more. 

Glazing refers to both installing the window and how many panes you install. One-paned windows are single-glazed, double-glazed windows have two panes, and triple-glazed windows have three panes. 

Reglazing older windows stops leaks in warped or cracked glass, which is essential since damaged windows are not energy efficient. 

Having double- or triple-glazed windows dramatically increases your energy efficiency. The more layers you have, the better the insulation and energy efficiency. Plus, double- and triple-glazed windows reduce noise and add security to your development, increasing its value. 

Within the insulated glazing, you can also have low-emissivity coatings installed in your windows. These coatings transfer heat within the insulating glazing. While they’re slightly more expensive than regular windows, they reduce energy loss by around 30 to 50%. 

Gas Fills and Spacers

Between the layers of glazed glass, there are one-half-inch gaps filled with argon or krypton gas. They’re invisible to the naked eye, odorless, and completely safe. Argon is used for one-half-inch spaces, while krypton is used for one-quarter-inch spaces. Both provide thermal insulation. 

Spacers keep the glazed layers at an appropriate distance from each other. Without these spacers, the glazing layers would be back-to-back, reducing how much energy is saved and providing less thermal protection. 

Why Installation, Placement, and Construction Matter

Finally, installing and placing windows in your multi-family development affects energy consumption. 


All the details matter when it comes to installing the windows. You want them tightly sealed and properly installed to prevent air leaks and drafts. In addition to saving energy, your tenants will be more comfortable in their homes.


No matter where you place windows in your multi-family development, thermal protection inside your insulating glass will provide optimal winter and summer weather conditions. 

This insulation will reflect the summer heat, keeping your tenants’ homes cool. In the winter months, the insulation will keep your home warm. During every season, the insulation blocks UV rays that usually fade windows. 

Superior Commercial Solutions

Superior Commercial Solutions is here to construct your multi-family development, including installing energy-efficient windows to reduce energy use. Not only does that reduce your costs, but it makes living more affordable for your tenants. It’s a win-win.

Superior Commercial Solutions is headquartered in North Salt Lake, Utah, but builds multi-family developments all over the country. We keep everything in-house instead of using subcontractors, simplifying the process and providing you with quality every step of the way. 

Call us at 385.273.6670, or fill out the form on our website for more information.