Are Awning Windows More Efficient Than Picture Windows?

Are Awning Windows More Efficient Than Picture Windows?

The windows of your home are some of the most defining features. Awning windows and picture windows are two of the most energy-efficient and popular window choices commonly available in the US. What sets them apart other than their energy-efficiency? Should you choose between the two or opt for a combination? In this post, we'll discuss the differences between each style so you can decide which window will better suit your home and needs.

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Awning Windows vs Picture Windows

An awning window is one that hinges from the top of its fixture. It opens outward at the bottom, angled from the top down to allow ventilation even during rough weather. It offers protection from rain and increases privacy on walls when placed higher up on walls, in basements, or at the top of large, fixed windows to increase the view and lighting.

View Awning Windows from Brennan

Picture windows are generally large windows that have fixed panes. They are also commonly called "fixed windows" since they are inoperable. They do not move in, out, or side-to-side, but instead offer a larger view and natural light. The view is entirely unobstructed since they are not made with any glazing bars or dividers. The name comes from the fact that these windows give you a picture-perfect view of the scene outside the window. They help let light in but do not aid in ventilation at all. 

View Picture Windows from Brennan

Depending on the window company you work with you can typically customize both of these options with window grids that add a little accent to the window but do slightly obstruct the view. 

Are Awning Windows More Energy Efficient Than Picture Windows?

Awning windows are not more energy-efficient than picture windows, even though they are one of the more efficient window choices. When comparing awning windows to other kinds of moving windows like sliders or casement windows, the awning will often come out on top in terms of energy efficiency. This is because they do not slide, so when the window closes against the sash, it seals completely all the way around.

View Sliding Windows from Brennan

However, picture windows are more energy-efficient than awning windows since they do not need any seal. Disregarding the variations that the glass will have on any window's energy efficiency, a fixed glass window has an immovable, permanent seal all the way around the outside. Even if an awning window closes completely, there are still chances for air to slip through the broken seal.

View Casement Windows from Brennan

Should I Get Awning or Picture Windows for My Home?

There are benefits and drawbacks to each kind of window, including awning and picture windows. Both of these are good choices in terms of their energy-efficiency, but what else sets them apart?

Pros and Cons of Awning Windows

Pros of Awning Windows
  • Of the operable windows, awning windows are the most energy-efficient.
  • They can easily be placed in awkward or hard-to-reach areas in the home.
  • Awning windows have a large variety of sizes.
  • Provides increased ventilation.
  • Angled opening protects the interior from rain when left open.
  • They offer increased light since they only have a single sash around the outside and no central dividers.
Cons of Awning Windows
  • If they are set low, since they open outward, they can block outdoor pathways.
  • They are less energy-efficient than picture windows.
  • The crank operation can mean higher maintenance.

View Awning Windows from Brennan

Pros and Cons of Picture Windows

Pros of Picture Windows
  • The windows are permanently sealed and are therefore the most energy-efficient window choice.
  • With large panes and no central dividers, the windows provide a maximum amount of visibility and light.
  • Fixed windows are often cheaper than other types of windows.
  • Picture windows work with almost any style of a modern home.
  • Picture windows are inoperable and therefore very low maintenance.
Cons of Picture Windows
  • The immovable pane means the window provides no ventilation.
  • Picture windows might create too much energy gain if installed in homes in a warm, sunny climate.

View Picture Windows from Brennan

Choosing between picture windows and awning windows for your home largely comes down to your space's size and the purpose you want the window to suit. If you want the most amount of light and don't need the window to be operable in the space, a picture window will suit your needs. If you want to increase the light and add ventilation to the room, consider awning windows. People often choose to do a combination of the two, having an awning window or two over the primary picture window. That way, you can get the best of both worlds. 


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