Real quick...Here are seven reasons to install energy efficient windows:
- Save energy
- Save money from using less heating or AC
- Add to appearance of the house
- Protect a home's interior furnishings from fading
- Higher impact resistance
- Make outside noise less audible
- Insulate your home better, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer
With reasons like those, it's no wonder energy efficient windows are all the rage. If your windows need to be repaired or even replaced, consider installing energy efficient windows.
How exactly do I pick out energy efficient windows?
When picking out energy efficient windows, you want to look for windows that are Energy Star certified.
Energy Star was developed by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. The government program's purpose is to help individuals and organizations protect the environment through energy efficiency. The standard does not just apply to windows but to other products as well.
For the purpose of this article, we will be taking a look at windows that are Energy Star certified. What makes windows Energy Star certified? Any Energy Star product including windows must meet the following criteria:
- Have an NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label. The NFRC tests the insulating quality of the entire window.
- Be 40% more efficient than the product usually requires under most building codes.
- Reduce energy bills by up to 15%.
Customers cannot just rely on the Energy Star label to pick out a good energy efficient window though. An important consideration for consumers is to select windows that are appropriate for the area of the country in which they live. Energy Star labels windows three ways:
- "N" for northern climates
- "S" for southern climates
- "C" for central climates
The three types of windows are designed to address the heating or cooling concerns in each climate: mostly heating for the Northern Zone, mostly cooling for the Southern Zone, and both heating and cooling for the Central North Zone and Central South Zone.
How Energy Efficient Windows Improve the House
Aside from saving energy, energy efficient windows are particularly fantastic in states that can get extremely cold. These windows work to make homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, which becomes particularly evident in states with very cold winters and states with extremely hot summers. With these windows insulating well, homeowners spend less on heating and air conditioning bills. Energy efficient windows also improve the house due to their attractive appearance, though not all energy efficient windows are the same. Homeowners have choices concerning main parts of the window, such as the frame, panes, and spacers.
Parts of the Window
- The frame
Look for windows that have fiberglass, wood composites, or vinyl because these materials are better at insulating. One negative aspect of using wood material for framing is that wood can be difficult to maintain, often needing painting after a few years. Thus, if you choose to frame your windows using wood material, it's advised to get some exterior vinyl or aluminum cladding to cover the wood frame.
- Window Panes
If wondering whether having multiple window panes is preferred to having one window pane, remember the phrase 'Two is Better than One' or 'The More the Merrier.' Two panes of glass with space in between filled with air or krypton or argon insulates better than just one pane of glass does. Certain Energy Star windows have windows with three or more panes of glass, which do the best job of insulating and have greatest the impact resistance as well as improved energy efficiency. Another benefit of multiple panes is that they keep outside noise out better than a single glass pane does.
- Low-E glass coating
Low-E coating is a special coating on the window that is great to have. It reflects infrared light to keep heat outside in the summer and inside in the winter. It also reflects ultraviolet light to protect a home's interior furnishings from fading.
- Warm Edge Spacers
Warm edge spacers are great for reducing heat flow and preventing condensation. Made of foam, steel, fiberglass, or vinyl, they keep a window's glass panes the right distance apart.
There are many brands of energy efficient windows from which to choose. Manufacturers include those such as Accent Windows, Andersen, Cascade Windows, CertainTeed, Gorell, Marvin, Winstrom, and many more. Home improvement companies select which manufacturer brand they would like to make available to their customers. For example, Highland Windows, a Connecticut home improvement company based in Hartford (http://www.allaroundthehome.com/ct/hartford/) is licensed to install Alside, another energy efficient window manufacturer, which has won The Energy Star Window of the Year Award three times.
All Around the Home is an online directory that profiles contractors, allowing visitors to search by service needed such as windows (http://www.allaroundthehome.com/exterior/windows/) and by region such as Connecticut (http://www.allaroundthehome.com/exterior/windows/ct/). Homeowners may request a free estimate from contractors they are interested in.