Articles Everything Else Home Tips

How to Choose The Best Windows for Cold Weather

Cold weather might be a challenge for your house, especially in Canada, where the harsh climate is no surprise. So how do you protect your home and keep it warm during cold periods? Of course by having good windows. These units are one of the essential things to keep your space in comfort. Windows for cold weather are also known as energy-efficient units and for a good reason. Their main objective is to help insulate your residence during chilly months by keeping in heat and cold air out. 

Such energy-efficient windows also cut the cost of your energy bills since there is no need to rely solely on the heating system to keep your house warm during cold periods. But how do you choose the best units when shopping for new energy-efficient windows?

When I was gathering materials for this article, I came across many interesting studies and helpful general information provided by the window and door installation experts, so now I am ready to share all my findings with you. Interested to learn everything in detail? Read on!

What To Keep in Mind When Choosing Cold Weather Windows?

Of course, there are many aspects you should know about and analyze before deciding on your new units, but if your main priority is energy efficiency, then there are some vital points you can’t omit.

  • Double or triple-pane windows

This is your first stop when looking for new cold-weather windows. Double or triple-pane units are thicker than ordinary single-pane windows and go with Low E glass which is perfect for holding in heat. These modern units are usually insulated with a high-density gas like Krypton or Argon with low thermal conductivity. This gas will make your new windows more insulated than usual and allow you to save on energy bills. Both double and triple glazed units are great, and which one to choose depends solely on your climate, house condition, and preferences. Triple pane windows offer one more layer of glazing, so the energy efficiency might be up to 50% more than double-pane units, but be ready to pay 15% more.

  •  U-factor

The U-factor shows how good your window is at retaining heat and preventing heat loss. It is aimed at measuring the glass, panel, spacers, and window frame. The general rule here is – a lower U-factor means you get a more energy-efficient window with high insulation capacity and better thermal performance.

  • Solar heat gain coefficient

Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) measures how your new units allow heat from natural daylight through it or what efficiency it offers in terms of blocking out heat from natural sunlight. The overall ratings here go from 0 to 1. 0, where the minimum means the window lets in less or no solar heat while the maximum figure indicates that the units allow for as much solar heat as possible. The higher this rating, the better a window will be for homeowners living in colder regions.

  •  R-value

Generally, it represents the same as a U-factor, but rules here go another way round – the higher the R-value, the better would be the thermal performance of your windows.

  • Energy Star windows

When purchasing new windows, be sure to check if they were certified and approved by Energy Star. It is a government organization that rates windows and checks them to comply with the energy efficiency industry standards. If you see their label – more likely, your new windows would be the right pick.

What are the Best Window Styles for Energy Efficiency?

If you are sure the maximum energy efficiency is your top priority, consider the aspects that affect it above and do not forget to select the window styles that offer the best energy efficiency capabilities. So here you have 2 main choices.

Casement windows

These are the most common windows you are to find when visiting Canadian homes. These units are impeccable when it comes to energy efficiency and the best choice if you need a combination of operable units and superb thermal performance. They are hinged at the sides and open like a door. Optimal ventilation, perfect energy conservation, and a modern look make these windows a top choice for many Canadian homeowners living in cold regions.

Picture Windows

If you do not need your new windows to be operable and shopping, for example, for living room units, picture windows are your go-to option. They are the best for energy efficiency, offer an unobstructed look and are easy to maintain.


Cold weather windows are ideal for homeowners living in cold areas and should be your top priority when renovating your house. But be sure not only to buy the best energy-efficient windows but also to install them properly. DIY here is not an option, so do your homework and find a reliable window company to do the job. Ensure they follow your local building code, the CSA guidelines and have positive reviews from real homeowners who have undergone a home renovation project similar to yours.

You may also like...