Energy-efficient windows are an important consideration for your home. After all, energy loss through windows can account for up to 30% of the energy consumption in an average household. As with other home improvement projects like siding installation and roof repair, you have to take numerous factors into account. Apart from the style that will match the rest of your home, you also have to find out which windows will perform best in your local climate
In today’s in-depth article, we discuss the reasons to invest in energy-efficient windows. We’ll also touch on the various energy performance ratings you need to look for when shopping for them as well as tips on how to maximize their energy efficiency.
How Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows Benefit You
Investing in energy-efficient replacement windows provides a slew of advantages, including the following:
New windows, especially those that meet energy performance ratings, tend to have more durable seals that prevent heated or cooled air from leaking out and outdoor air from penetrating indoors. Such replacement units help ensure consistent indoor temperatures by eliminating “hot” and “cold” spots around your home.
Installing energy-efficient windows helps reduce the load on your HVAC system, preventing unnecessarily high energy consumption. By replacing old, single-pane windows with more energy-efficient counterparts, you get to achieve significant savings on your utility bills.
More Natural Light for Your Home
Today’s energy-efficient windows are equipped with special glass coatings that help filter out the heat that comes with sunlight entering your home. With these, you can rest assured that your indoor environment remains comfortable even when the sun is out. In addition to preventing heat transfer, these glass coatings also protect your interior fixtures like furniture and carpets from sunlight-induced fading.
- Energy-efficient windows have durable seals, which mean they keep air leakage to a minimum. This also means that you get the most out of your HVAC system’s efficiency as it provides consistent warmth during winter or a cool indoor environment in the summer.
The Basics of Energy-Efficient Windows
Similar to choosing the best material for a roofing project, finding the right energy-saving replacement windows for your home can be challenging. This is especially true if you don’t know what to look for. This is where ENERGY STAR® and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) come in. These two are essential in helping you make informed decisions on purchasing new windows.
ENERGY STAR – The white-and-blue label you see on appliances and other electronic devices is also found on replacement windows. It is an indication that the item you are buying meets the federal standards for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR is established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy as a program that aims to determine and promote energy-efficient products.
NFRC – Another label to look out for when shopping for replacement windows is the one provided by the National Fenestration Rating Council® (NFRC). It is a non-profit organization that independently tests, certifies and labels windows, doors and other similar products according to their energy performance.
Seeing both these labels on replacement windows is not enough; you also have to read them, particularly the one from the NFRC. That’s because it contains the products’ information about their energy performance as expressed in the following ratings:
U-Factor – It measures how effective the window is at preventing heat from escaping your home. The lower the rating, the better the unit is at keeping the heat in.
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – It measures how effective the window is at resisting heat gain. A lower SHGC rating means the window can help reduce your cooling bills during the summer season.
Visible transmittance (VT) – It measures the amount of natural light entering your home through the window unit. The amount of daylight entering your living spaces can help limit your usage of home lighting fixtures. If daylighting is among your considerations for window replacement, be sure to look for a higher VT rating.
Air leakage (AL) – It measures the amount of air entering your home through the window unit. A lower rating means a lesser chance of air infiltration that can cause thermal efficiency issues.
Performance criteria as indicated on the ENERGY STAR label are based on ratings certified by the NFRC. They vary for each of the climate zones: northern, north-central, south-central and southern. You’ll know if the window you are looking to buy is qualified for your location or in all 50 states depending on what is indicated on the label.
How to Maximize Your Replacement Windows’ Energy Efficiency
It pays to cover all bases when choosing energy-efficient windows. Aside from the abovementioned labels and their performance ratings, here are some of the other things you need to consider:
Consider the Framing Material
Your choice of framing material for your replacement windows can impact their longevity and performance. Be sure to read up on the benefits and drawbacks of the available frames in the market today. For instance, vinyl doesn’t require extensive maintenance, but is likely to warp when exposed to temperature fluctuations. Wood offers durability, but it needs to be painted or stained to preserve its beauty.
Consider the Window Style
Certain window styles are designed to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Picture windows, for instance, are fixed to the opening, which means they have the most airtight seals of all the available window styles. Casement windows are hinged, but when closed, their sashes are pressed tightly against the frame to minimize air leakage.
Work With a Reliable Contractor
You can only expect your new windows to provide superior performance if they are installed correctly, which is why you need to hire a professional window contractor for the job. The team you’ll be working with should install your purchased windows using the right methods while adhering to quality standards set forth by the manufacturer.
Make the most of your window replacement project by investing in energy-efficient options. Paddy’s LLC offers high-quality replacement windows from the top brands in the industry, and our team is ready to guide you through the process of selecting the best ones for your home based on your budget and preferences.
Count on us for your other home improvement needs, including cleaning chimneys, installing decks and repitching gutters. Give us a call at (302) 388-3625 to get started. You may also fill out our contact form to request a quote or schedule a showroom visit.