Learn How to Upgrade to Energy Efficient Windows

Learn About Energy Efficient Window Solutions

Windows can be purchased today in an array of styles, materials, costs, efficiencies and features. For example, options include:

  • single & double hung windows.
  • awning windows.
  • casement windows.
  • bow windows and many other types.

In terms of materials, windows today are made out of wood, aluminum, vinyl, cellular PVC, fiberglass and composite materials. Additionally, installation options include two pieces of glass (double-pane), three pieces of glass (triple-pane) or more. Plus, window coating options include low-e coatings, window tints and window films. Finally, between the panes of glass, options include argon gas, krypton gas or xenon gas. As a result, most of these energy efficient window solutions help improve your home comfort.

However, with so many options, selecting the most efficient window for your home can be a confusing process. The good news is an organization called the NFRC and ENERGY Star helps make your decision easier.

For example, all new windows purchased today include a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label on them. This label provides detailed window energy performance ratings, which helps homeowners compare the efficiency of windows. The NFRC label provides efficiency ratings on windows that include:

U-Value or Heat Loss through the Window

A window’s U-Factor measures how well a window can keep heat from escaping from the inside of your home. The lower the U-Value number, the better the window is at keeping heat in the house.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) or Heat Gain through the Window

A window’s solar heat gain coefficient measures how well a window resists heat gain. For example, The lower the number, the less heat coming into the home. During the summer cooling season, this feature offers a lot of value.

Air Leakage through the Window

A window’s air leakage rating measures how much air enters your home through a window. The lower the air leakage number, the less air leakage occurs through the window.

Finally, windows installed in homes located in Florida (or any hot climate) should not have the same features as windows installed in homes in New York or Minnesota. For example, windows in hot climates should block much of the sun’s solar energy while windows in cold climates should let the sun’s energy in and then trap it to help heat the home. Therefore, the NFRC label’s energy efficiency ratings helps homeowners select the best windows for their climate zone.

Additionally, homeowners should also look for the ENERGY Star label on windows. For example, if a window meets ENERGY Star’s efficiency requirements, it will include the ENERGY Star label on the window. Any window installed in your home should be certified as meeting ENERGY Star’s requirements for your climate zone.

Both the ENERGY Star label and the NFRC sticker on windows will help homeowners select the most energy efficient windows for the climate zone they are located in. Make sure you use this information to select a window upgrade for your home that provides the highest level of comfort and efficiency possible in your area of the country.

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