Window Energy Efficiency 101
How to find energy-efficient windows.
Improved energy efficiency is a benefit everyone expects when they install a new window. But there are a lot of factors, including proper installation that will eventually determine how much improved performance and comfort you’ll see in your home.
Here are five things to look for:
Double-pane glass insulates almost twice as well as single-pane, while triple-pane glass maximizes your energy efficiency.
Proper installation will help prevent air infiltration and even costly water damage to your home. If installed incorrectly, your windows may not operate properly.
You can increase your window’s energy efficiency by selecting specific Low-E (Low-emissivity) glass coatings for different areas of your home. These are layers of thermal protection inside insulating glass that help:
- Reflect summer heat and retain interior cooling.
- Reflect winter cold and retain interior heat.
- Block harmful UV rays to help prevent fade damage.
Your home’s geographic location and climate help determine what kind of windows you choose and what glass options can enhance your energy efficiency.
Your choice of door frame influences your window’s overall energy efficiency.
- Wood frames are excellent insulators – they conduct less heat or cold into your home.
- Fiberglass composite material offers insulating properties similar to wood. It won’t warp in the summer, or turn brittle during winter.
- Multichambered vinyl frames reduce heat loss for added energy efficiency – and they’re exceptionally easy to care for.
- Aluminum is inexpensive and durable but has a poorer insulation rating, meaning the frames conduct more heat or cold into your home.
Look for the Labels
For the greatest energy-saving potential, look for windows with these two labels:
ENERGY STAR® certified. This designation means the government has certified that the product meets or exceeds energy performance standards in your state.
The NFRC label. The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization for the window industry that developed an energy rating system based on whole-unit product performance – not just the glass performance. It’s the only reliable way to determine the entire window’s energy performance and compare products side-by-side.
The NFRC label includes two important ratings:
1. The U-Factor represents the heat rate that flows out of the window each hour. The lower the number, the better the glass insulates.
2. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating measures the amount of solar radiation that enters as heat. The lower the number, the less heat the glass allows in.
Talk With a Window Expert
When you’re ready, let the professionals come to you.
Shopping for windows isn’t something most people do every day. That’s why it’s important to talk with a professional who can help make sure your remodeling project goes off without a hitch. An in-home appointment is a great place to start. Think of it as shopping from the comfort of your home. Your representative will ask you what you’re looking for in a window or door, show you samples and take the necessary measurements. Once that’s done, they’ll have the information needed to provide you with a quote. In most cases, the quote and the visit are free.